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ashained and confounded, O apostate creatures !) but to do honour to the interposition of my Son. Him will I hear !'
5. God not only accepts of all who believe in his Son, for his sake, but their services also become acceptable and rewardable, through the same medium. If our works, while unbelievers, had any thing truly good in them, which they have not, still it were impossible that they should be acceptable to God « It does not consist with the honour of the majesty of the King of heaven and earth,” as a great writer expresses it, “ to accept of any thing from a condemned malefactor, condemned by the justice of his own holy law, till that condemnation be removed."'* But being accepted in the beloved, our works are accepted likewise. The Lord had respect unto Abel, and to his offering.--He worketh in us that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ.--Ye are an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
Being accepted in the beloved, our services become impregnated, as it were, with his worthiness ; our petitions are offered up with the much incense of his intercession ; and both are treated, in a sort, as though they were bis. God, in blessing and rewarding Abraham's posterity, is represented as blessing and rewarding him. By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, that in blessing, I will bless thee—and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies Accordingly, though it be said of Caleb, because he followed the Lord fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went, and his seed shall possess it ; yet it was no less a fulfilment of the promise to Abraham, than of that to him. In like manner, in approving the services of believers, God approves of the obedi. ence and sacrifice of his Son, of which they are the fruits ; and, in rewarding them, continues to reward him, or to express his wellpleasedness in his mediation.
This, brethren, I take to be, for substance, the Christian doctrine of rewards. I am persuaded it excludes boasting, and, at the same time, affords the greatest possible encouragement to be constant, unmoveable, and always abounding in the work of the Lord.
* President Edwards's Sermons on Justifoation.
On this ground, I proceed to establish the position with which I set out, That the joys of futurity will bear, a relation to what is done for Christ in the present life, similar to that between the seed and the harvest.
The same peace and joy in God which primarily arises from the mediation of Christ, may arise, in a secondary sense, from the fruits of it in our own souls. We know by experience, as well as by scripture testimony, that it is thus in the present world : bence that great peace which they enjoy who love the divine law; and that satisfaction which a good man is said to possess from himself: and what good reason can be given, why that, which has been a source of peace and satisfaction here, should not be the same hereafter ? If future rewards interfered with the grace of God, or the merit of Christ, present ones must do the same : for a difference in place or condition makes no difference as to the nature of things. Besides this, the scriptures expressly teach us, that the heavenly inheritance is treasure laid up on earth, the crown of the faithful, and the reward of those who have been hated, persecutei, and falsely accused for their Redeemer's sake. The same apostle who teaches that salvation is of
and of works, and that we are accepted in the beloved, assures us, that he laboured,--that he might be accepted of the Lord : for, he adds, We must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether good or bad. The addresses to the seven Asiatic churches abound with the same sentiments. Eternal life, under various forms of expression, is there promised as the reward of those who should
This doctrine will receive farther confirmation, if we consider wherein the nature of heavenly felicity consist. There can be no doubt but that an essential part of it will consist in the divine approbation ; and this, not merely on account of what we shall then be, but of what we have been and done, in the present world. So far as we have sown to the Spirit, so far we shall reap bation of God ; and this will be a harvest that will infinitely exsion, a book of remembrance is wrillen ; and, from the account given us by our Lord, it appears, that its contents will be published in the presence of an assembled world. The King will say unto those at his right hand, Come ye blessed of my Father. I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat : I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink : I was a stranger, and ye took me in : naked, and ye
l ceed all our toils. We are assured, that, for those who feared the Lord, and are concerned for his name in times of general declen
clothed me : I was sick, and ye visited me : I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
Another essential part of the heavenly felicity will consist in ascribing glory to God and the Lamb. It will be a source of joy unspeakable to perceive the abundance of glory which will redound to the best of Beings from all the works of his hands. But, if we rejoice that God is glorified, we cannot but rejoice in the recollection that we have been instrumental in glorifying him. It belongs to the nature of love to rejoice in an opportunity of expressiog itself; and, when those opportunities have occurred, to rejoice in the recollection of them. We are told, that when David was anointed king in Hebron there was joy in Israel. Uodoubtedly it must have afforded pleasure to all who had believed that God had appointed him to that office, and had felt interested for him during his affliction, to see him crowned by the unanimous consent of the tribes, whoever were the instruments of raising him to the throne : but it must give peculiar joy to those worthies, wbo, at an early period, had cast in their lot with him, and fought by his side through all his difficulties. And, as they would feel a special interest in his exaltation, so special honours were conferred on them under his government. It is, I apprehend, in allusion to this piece of sacred story, that our Lord speaks in the manner he does to his apostles : Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations, and I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me : that ye may, eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
The satisfaction of the apostle Paul, in having fought the good fight, finished his course, and kept the faith, did not consist in a pharisaical self-complacency ; but in a consciousness of having, in some good measure, lived to his glory who died for him, and rose again : and the same consciousness that rendered him happy, while Vol. VII.
in the prospect of his crown, must render him still more so in the possession of it.
It has been noticed, that one great source of future misery to the sinner, will be the effects which his sin bas produced upon others; and much the same may be observed concerning the righteous. We already perceive the tendency which a holy, upright, and benevolent conduct has to work conviction in the minds of men : but in the world to come the seed will have actually produced its fruits ; and, God being thereby glorified, the hearts of those who have contributed towards it must be filled with grateful satisfaction.
We can form no competent ideas, at present, of the effects of good, any more than of evil. What we do of either, is merely the kindling of a fire ; how far it may burn we cannot tell, and, generally speaking, our minds are but little occupied about it. Who can calculate the effects of a modest testimony borne to truth; of an importunate prayer for its success ; of a disinterested act of self-denial ; of a willing contribution; of a seasonable reproof; of a wholesome counsel; of even a sigh or pity, or a tear of sympathy? Each or any of these exercises may be the means, in the Lord's hand, of producing that in the bosoms of individuals which
be communicated to their connexions, and from them to theirs, to the end of time.
The gospel dispensation also is accompanied with peculiar encouragements for such exercises : it is that period in which the Messiah receives of the travail of his soul; and consequently, that in which his servants may warrantably hope for the greatest
Under bis reign, we have the promise of the Spirit being poured upon us from on high, and of various other blessings resulting from it : particularly, that the wilderness shall become a fruitful field; that it shall be so fertile, that what has been before reckoned a fruitful field, shall, in comparison with it, be counted for a forest ; that the work of righteousness shall be peace, and the
, effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance for ever ; and finally, that the labours of the Lord's servants, during these happy times, shall be like that of the husbandman, who sows beside all waters, or who cultivates a rich and well-watered soil. It is also
during the Messiah's reign, that we are warranted to expect great things to arise from small beginnings. There shall be an handful of corn in the earth, upon the top of the mountains, the-fruit whereof shall shake like Lebanon.
The influence of these effects on our present and future happiDess, is clearly intimated by our Lord, where he represents the prophets as sowing, and the apostles as reaping, or entering into their labours.--He that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal : that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. The reapers in Christ's harvest receive wages in the enjoyments which accompany their toils in the present life : they gather fruit unto life eternal in the effects of them contributing to enhance the blessedness of heaven : and this blessedness is pot confined to those who bave been the most successful in their day, but extend to others, who have prepared the way before them. According to this representation, Isaiah and Jeremiah, who sowed in tears, will reap in joy ; rejoicing together with Peter and Paul and John, and all the New Testament ministers ; viewing, in their successes, the happy fruits of their own disregarded labours.
In this view, the labours of Paul and his companions must be considered as extending, in their effects, to the very end of time. All the true religion that has blessed the different parts of the earth within the last seventeen bundred years, bas arisen from their labours ; and all the souls which have ascended to glory, or shall yet ascend, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation, shall bless the Lord of the harvest for sending them. see these heroic wortbies sowing the seed of life, reproached in one city, imprisoned in another, and stoned in another. We think it discouraging work. All that they could accomplish was but little, in comparison of the multitudes of men who inhabited the earth
and that little must be at great expense. It was a handful of coru cast upon the top of a mountain-a most unpromising soil. They, in. deed, saw that the hand of the Lord was with them ; but, probably, they had no conception of the extent to which the effects of their Jabours would reach.
If Paul and Silas rejoiced and sang praises in the prison of Philippi, what would have been their joy, could they have foreseen that myriads of myriads in this European quar