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is the first principle in all things, the fountain of all perfections, in whom our happiness lies, and therefore he is the chief end to whom we are to look, and in the enjoyment of whom only our souls can rest. Look to him then and keep your eye on him always.
3. Look to the way that leads to Immanuel's land. Keep your eye constantly upon it. You will see the way of the world, a broad way, an easy way, lying down the hill, and if you begin to look at it, you may be seduced into it, and in the end tumble into the chambers of death to which it leads. O look then to the unseen way that leads to the unseen world where felicity and glory for ever dwell.
Remember that the Lord Jesus Christ is the unseen personal way to heaven. "I am, says he, the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me." Behold an unseen Jesus at the Father's right hand, who has purchased the pardon of sin, peace, grace, and glory by his precious blood to sinners; and by his intercession is preparing places for them in his Father's house of many mansions. Behold him sitting at the end of the race, with the crown in his hand, to give to him that so runs as to obtain. "Lay aside then every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset you, and run with patience the race that is set before you, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith." Jesus is the glory of the upper house, and his superlative beauty draws the eyes of all the heavenly company to fix on him. Look to him then, though you see him not. "Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now you see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory." Remember also that holiness is the unseen real way to heaven. "And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called, The way of holiness: the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein." Were the form of godliness and the mere performance of external duties the way to glory, it would be a seen way. But it is not so. The christian life is an unseen, hidden life. It is hid with Christ in God. The new man is the hidden man of the heart. The king's daughter is indeed all glorious, but it is within. He that has no more religion than what eye can see, will be seen by all the world at length to have none at all. Faith, love, and all the duties of internal worship are unseen religion. Look to this, if ever you would see heaven; for without holiness no man shall see the Lord.
4. Look at the unseen, happy, and glorious society of heaven. You will see carnal company, that will be agents for the devil to lead you off your way. But you must look at the unseen society
above. There dwell the saints and the angels singing their Hallelujahs to the Lamb, and to him that sitteth upon the throne. There full and uninterrupted communion with God is enjoyed; and this shall constitute the eternal happiness of the glorious inhabitants. They shall be ever with the Lord. Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God." There will be no solitude there, no unpleasant company there, no grief, no jarring strings in the harmony, "For God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."
5. Look at the glorious reward of heaven. You will see petty profits, gains and advantages, which the men of the world are keenly pursuing, taking the world's offer trifling as it is. These are penny wise, and pound foolish; for while they gain a penny at one hand they are losing a talent at another. But do you look at the unseen profits of heaven, and like "Moses, have respect unto the recompense of reward." There is a treasure before you. A precious treasure which can neither be corrupted nor plundered. Not, however, a treasure of gold, for that is no treasure in the upper world, but serves only to pave the streets of the city," which is of pure gold, as it were transparent glass." That the saints may eternally tread upon that, upon which the men of the world now set their hearts. But it is a treasure of glory. Even "a far more exceeding and an eternal weight of glory." A matchless treasure for preciousness, for variety, solidity, and security, so that it can neither be exhausted nor lost. It will make you rich to the most extensive desires and everlasting satisfaction of your souls.
6. Look to the unseen, pure and lasting pleasures and honours of heaven. You will see insipid pleasures, empty honours, and short lived joys, which the men of the world are most actively pursuing, with all the earnestness of children running after butterflies. Yet these things when obtained are little worth, and far from being a recompense for their toil. But do you look at the unseen pleasures, those exquisite pure rivers of pleasures, which flow eternally from the full enjoyment of God, the blessed sight of his glory, which mortals cannot behold. Psal. xvi. 11. Look at the unseen honours which the saints shall obtain, when they arrive at their own country and get home to their Father's house. For then, they shall receive a crown, the very summit of worldly ambition, but such a crown as fades not away; a kingdom that cannot be moved; throne, the highest that men are capable of.
"To him that over
cometh, saith Jesus, will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father on his throne." Look at the unseen joys that begin, when the world's joy ends. You shall hear the joyful sound of your Saviour's voice at the end of the race, saying, "well done, thou good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."
7. Look at the unseen rest of heaven. You will see crosses, tribulations, and perhaps bloody persecutions by the way, and feel them also. By these the god of this world will set himself to terrify you and draw you out of your way. But you must look at the unseen rest, peace, refreshment, and ease of Immanuel's land. "In the world, says Jesus, ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." When you come to the everlasting rest, you shall no more have the least uneasy thought about all with which you have met. There you shall enjoy an everlasting calm, an eternal repose. "The gates of the city shall not be shut at all by day; for there shall be no night there." There the conquerors get on their crown, they lay aside their swords, and get the palm in their hands, and that land rings eternally with the shout of victory, victory for evermore.
8. Look at the fulness and complete happiness of heaven. You will see many wants and miseries in this world. The flesh will always be wanting something. What shall I eat? And what shall I drink? And wherewithal shall I be clothed? And many are so completely engaged in answering these questions, that they entirely forget the things not seen. But do you look at the fulness and complete happiness before you. They that can get forward will soon obtain a rich supply of all their wants. There is no want in Immanuel's land. "He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my Son, saith the Lord." There you will find God, and Christ, and a full covenant comprehending all to make the believer perfectly happy. And now small drops and foretastes of that fulness are given them in the way, but then it shall be told out to them in full and for ever more.
Uses of this Doctrine.
Use 1. Take these three lessons from it.
1. He is the wisest man that quits the world's certainty for hope. If ever you would be wise, you must become fools. Though the sight of the eyes is better than the wandering of the desire, yet the nnseen things upon which faith fixes, are a thousand times better.
It is better to have God's bond, than the world's hand payment; for when the latter is spent and gone, the other will tell out for
2. You will see your way through this ill world best, if you will shut your eyes. And indeed it would be a token for good, that you have seen the Lord this day, if your hearts within you were saying, as one sometimes said coming from duty, "Now my eyes, be thou shut." The sight of our eyes is apt to betray us into a thousand snares. You have been taking an unseen guide, follow not then the sight of your eyes, for they will make the world's molehills mountains before you. And remember they are best guided that follow Christ, as the blind man follows his guide. "I will bring, says he, the blind by a way which they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them."
3. They will get best through the world's snares, that look least at them. A holy contempt of the world's good and its ill, of its frowns and flatteries, is a noble preservative against them. Flee from idolatry, and from fornication, says the scripture. Turn your backs on them. It is the best way to entertain the world with a holy disdain. It was looking at the forbidden fruit, and it is tampering with temptation, that catches the soul in Satan's snare. Use 2. Mind this doctrine, O Christian communicants!
1. When your former lusts come back to you, like Potiphar's wife to Joseph, offering you deadly poison in a golden cup. Look not to the things that are seen. It will be bitterness in the end, if you do. But look to him that is invisible, as he did, and say, "How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God. As obedient children, you must not fashion yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance. But as he who hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation." You must not again sit down to dust, it is the serpent's meat; but you have unseen meat to eat in communion with God, to fit you for your journey to the unseen world.
2. When sloth comes to you, like Peter to Christ, covering a sharp sword with words softer than oil, saying, Master, spare thyself. What needs all this bitter repenting, wrestling in prayer, watching over heart and life? Less surely may suffice. Soul, take thine ease. Here is a sound sleep to be enjoyed on the sluggard's bed. A way strewed with roses. Look not to the things that are seen, if you were once asleep, you will be an easy prey to the robbers! And all you have obtained, you may quickly lose. "The
slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting; but the substance of a diligent man is precious." Look to the things that are not seen, and you will see good reason to exert yourselves more and more.
3. When you return to your worldly employments, and your carnal companions come to you, as the chief priests to Judas, offering you thirty pieces, if you will betray Christ, look rot then on the things that are seen, but on them that are not seen. You see their way, but look to the end of it. Their joy will be turned into weeping at last. "But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell." And remember, if you intend heaven you must forsake the company of those whose faces you see are not thitherward. "He that walketh with wise men shall be wise but a companion of fools shall be destroyed."
Lastly, When the enemies of God and his work may be let loose upon you, like the Jews on Christ, "gaping upon you with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion." Our adversaries are restless. But that is not the chief thing. An impure church looks like as if a fire were abiding it, to try of what metal we are. And who knows how far it may go. Look not then to the things that are seen if you do, you will deny Christ. But look at the things that are not seen, and you will be carried through safely.
Tweedsmuir, Monday, June 18, 1716.
BELIEVERS LOOKING AT THE THINGS WHICH ARE NOT SEEN.
2 CORINTHIANS iv. 18.
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which
are not seen.
III. I proceed to shew in what respects we must look to the things that are unseen.
1. We must believe the reality of them. Faith is the eye of the soul, that takes up the things not seen, and views the land afar off. It makes future things present, and discovers the reality of invisible things, "being the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen." Faith goes upon divine testimony, and sees these