Imatges de pÓgina

to the rest. Words will no longer avail. Men's conscience is seared, and the faith of words is gone. Works now must come, if the church is to be saved. Persecution and suffering alone can awaken the church. The Pharisees must have blood, they have already taken the lifeblood of our good name: they must have more, and then the stupified church will know what their true nature is.

Still I linger and long over the church with hopes, and would fain prevent calamity. And therefore I do call upon those who have understanding of these things, and know the Laodicean state of the church, to enter into suffering on this account, and to sorrow as the Lord did sorrow over the impenitent and foredoomed Jerusalem. Thus shall they walk in his footsteps, and attain unto his crown.. The depth of the Lord's sorrow was his perfect holiness: hence arose at one and the same time his sharp discernment of sin, his suffering from its presence, his abhorrence of its contact; and his continual crucifixion of himself on account of it. And it was by this maintenance of God's abhorrence of sin, though in the midst of it always, that he purchased for himself the honour and glory of the everlasting kingdom: "Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of joy above thy fellows." Now I entreat those mourners in Zion who discern the pitiful and lamentable plight to which we are come, to be in like manner moved and stirred up to make mention of her dismantled and ruined estate in the ear of a merciful and gracious God. Thus let them suffer for righteousness; and the Spirit of glory and of God shall rest upon them. But, and if we, to whom the Lord hath made known both the evil condition and hastening judgments of the church, will only rail and rebuke without compassionating and grieving before God; then are we but discontented, querulous, malicious puritans, not holy, humble, and devoted Christians. And our judgment will be only the more severe, because, knowing the way of truth, we have turned from peace into contention: therefore I do entreat all those dear brethren who are now blowing the trumpet in the mount of the Lord, to remember that this office belonged to the Levites under the Law, and to the priests, who were holy

unto the Lord. So ought we to be holy who make known the word of the Lord to the people concerning things to come. Yea, and I am assured that whosoever will not clothe his spirit in sackcloth, while he prophecies of judgment to come, shall not prosper. It is reported of our Lord, that he was seldom if ever seen to smile; not that there was not joy and gladness in his heart, not that his word was not a word of joy, even the Gospel of salvation, but that withal, he was the bearer of heavy tidings to Jerusalem, and the tribes of Israel, unto whom he was sent. So we being Gospel-bearers, are yet also judgmentbearers to this generation. So ought we to be rather of a grave and sorrowful countenance, than of a merry and joyful mood. I desire for my own part, and pray to God, that I might so carry myself in the sight and at the head of that church over which I am set; and that I might write in the same spirit unto all to whom these records of my thoughts may come. For I myself desire one of these thrones of judgment, and shall seek to obtain it by a continual forgetfulness of the things which are behind, and reaching forward to the things which are before.

And now having finished this the last of these seven promises of the Holy Ghost to the churches, and to all who have an ear to hear, I would be wanting to my subject did I not endeavour, in this the last of these Lectures on this vision, to gather into one point of view the seven aspects of blessedness which are therein presented to the faithful. In the outset of this Lecture I endeavoured to present such a recapitulation of the successive conditions of the churches, and such a review of the sevenfold style of our great Shepherd, let me now endeavour to do the same by this the third part of the epistles. For the true view of the church is unity, and the perfection of the church is unity, though for the sake of our divers conditions it be broken down into parts, which we by means of the oneness of our personality should ever endeavour to bring together into one.


These promises have no doubt a unity in them, as have the seven styles, or titles, of our Bishop and Shepherd, and are intended, by successive efforts, to express the completeness of that blessed estate, which in the world to come he is about to construct for all who believe in the name of Jesus, and are willing to follow him through his various battles with the devil, the world, and the flesh, and with patience to enter into his victory over them. These seven promises contain the true account of the future estate and blessedness of the righteous, of that heaven concerning which people take liberty to indulge so many airy imaginations. And he who would write truly concerning such things ought to make these promises his text, and express himself in terms measured according to the rules of strict interpretation, and sound commentary of these seven words of the Holy Ghost: and this we will do, by the grace of our God.

1. The first promise is thus expressed, being accurately translated from the original: "To the vanquisher, I will give to him to eat from off the tree of life which is in midst of the paradise of God." This supposeth life to be already given; otherwise how should we either fight the battle or gain the victory of the Lord, or need the nourishment of the tree of life? This life of the Holy Ghost we receive in our regeneration, whenever we are enabled of the Father to believe on his dear Son. And it is in its very essence everlasting and indestructible. The state of the saint in this world is one form of this life, in which it feeds on the flesh and blood of Jesus, the disem. bodied state is another form of it, during which it enjoys the vision of God, and sleepeth in Jesus. The resurrection state is another form of it, where it riseth to the enjoyment of the seven-fold blessing. Through each and all of these states Christ ministers life to all his members in the substance of the Holy Ghost, without destroying their personal responsibility, preserving their union to himself all unbroken by the accidents of life, by the corruption of the grave, or by the gates of hades (hell). Being brought from the dead, they shall have the tree of life to eat from. This

is the same tree of life which was anciently planted in the paradise of God, and from which man was prevented, when he had become the subject of death; because he would have eaten from it an eternity of death, or because mortality was not worthy to partake of such a food. But when mortality shall be swallowed up of life, then shall the raised saints be admitted to that nourishment, which was of old ordained for Adam, along with the other trees of the garden, excepting the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But of this tree alone, of all the rest, had not man the wisdom to eat; or else it is reasonable to believe it might have wrought in him that other sort of life, which we now receive from the flesh and blood of the sacrifice of Christ. Through diet of flesh we have received that life, which man at first might have obtained from off that blessed tree of life. Not that the tree would have given it, but that it would have awakened it within his capacious soul, just as the other tree awoke the consciousness of good and evil. But now having obtained the source of life out of the grave of Christ, we have it nourished upon this tree, which I take to be the symbol of the productive creation, all springing and blooming with fragrant and delicious fruit for the children of men. For creation is not to cease then from its sweet office of serving the table of its monarch man; nor is man to stride over its fields, or hover on angels' wings above them, without blessing them, and recognizing his humble origin from the dust of the ground. And no animal shall then be slaughtered, for death shall be no more, but the animals shall lend their various gifted shoulders to man's service; and the earth, all productive, shall teem forth from her bosom, the nourishment of all life, from the life of man to that of the lowest of the animal creation. Man shall suspend the creation. from his bodily sense; and all creation shall minister right lovingly to the sense of man. And thus shall that link anciently joined, and still continued under sore distres of both, be blessed for ever, when the creation also shall be delivered from its bondage into the glorious liberty of the sons of God, for whose manifestation it laboureth and groaneth, yet meekly and patiently waiteth. But not of every tree of the garden, still less of any shrub or green herb, shall we eat, but only of that tree, which beareth

twelve manners of fruit, and the leaves are for the healing of the nations; the fruit for life, the leaves for medicine. In which distinction of royal dainties, I do at once see the pre-eminency of the risen man, of the victorious warrior, and also his tender care for the rest of the living ones in flesh as well as for the whole lower creation, and vegetable world. As from the king's table go forth services to the various household; and from the tables of our city corporations all manner of broken meats for the poor, and even the very dogs do eat of the crumbs which fall from their master's table; even so, in that divine order which is yet to be established throughout creation, the princes whose habitation is the new Jerusalem shall take the fruits of the tree of life, and refresh their life, feed high their giant strength, and sustain their bodily vigour even at the spring-tide fulness; and the leaves they shall disperse abroad throughout the earth, in order to preserve the bodies of the mortal people from all diseases, who, so long as they will be beholden to these physicians of nature, and this balm of Gilead, shall go on well, flourishing in health and strength and happiness. All this and much more of benefit and enjoyment, of good and gracious ministry, of bodily refreshment and delectation, is promised to the victors in the prospect of which flow of bliss and feast of soul they are called upon to bear hunger and thirst, poverty and misery, fasting and weakness in this wilderness; and to contend most manfully against the allurements of the sense, the service of the world, and the base bondage of the sensual appetite; to fight and to overcome. But man's former estate of blessedness, when he possessed the tree of life and all other trees of the garden, fell away from him like the shadow of a pleasant dream, when one awaketh in the height of a mortal disease. And he was sent forth into the wide world, from that region of delight, which God had planted for him in Eden. Death came between him and all things. Well worthy is it then of the Spirit's goodness and grace, to still man's fear of any such second catastrophe with assurances, such as of old he gave to Noah, when he promised that no second deluge should cover the earth. And this the Spirit promiseth next in these words: "The vanquisher shall not be injured of the death the second."

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