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fourscore years, in believing, and praying, and wrestling here on earth. There is pure sinless serving that is tendered with delight, and received accordingly.
(5.) There is inexpressible satisfaction and contentment in this blessed state. It is properly called happiness. Whatever there be of goodness, the relish of that goodness stands in the soul's contentment: John xvi. 22. And ye now therefore have sorrow, says our Lord, when about to depart, to his disciples : but I, says he, will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. Your heart shall rejoice. A heart full of joy is not to be expected by believers till this great day come; but then the heart shall be so full of joy, that there shall be no room for any thing else. I know there are some sudden floods of joy that the Lord gives even here, and such as there seems to be no room left for any
thing else; but though this joy fill the whole heart, yet stay a little while, and the flood will dry, the flood will grow smaller and smaller, and the old darkness will enter again. This joy will be taken away, one way or other; but in the state above, our joy shall have no end. Lastly, To complete all, there is eternity in this blessed
Ever and ever are the main things in heaven and hell. Tak- eternity out of heaven, it would turn heaven into an hell: take eternity out of hell, and it would turn hell into a heaven. Eternity is the joy of heaven, and the torment of hell. Poor Peter was little time in heaven, as he thought: Lord, says he, it is good to be here. But all that are got up yonder may say rightly, It is good to be here, and good to be eternally here, to be ever with the Lord. The greater any blessedness be, it is. greatly inhanced by its lasting; the greater any misery be, it is greatly aggravated by its continuance. Where the
Where the greatest good comes to be enjoyed with the longest duration, even eternity, what inexpressible joy is there! But where the greatest misery is to be inflicted unto eternity, what vast heightening is it of the misery! So much now shall serve for the first thing, what it is that we are to believe, when we are called to glorify God's faithfulness in believing the prize of our calling, that after we have given glory to God, by believing for all the
good things by the way, we may glorify him, by believing the good home he hath prepared for us.
ApplicaTION. I ask you, in the first place, Do you believe that there is such a hope of this calling ? Christianity is a despised thing. Christians are a despised people, because the prize is unknown to the despisers. Do you believe firmly, I say, that there is such a state, and that all that are departed in the Lord are blessed, because they are entered upon the enjoyment of it; and that all that believe on him, shall certainly enjoy it in his good time? I would reckon that that man were fairly setting out for heaven, who firmly believes that there is one, and hath his heart filled with a sense of it, as a great invaluable blessing above all that time can talk of.
2. Must not an interest in this prize of our calling be well worthy the having, and the knowledge of it well worthy the seeking? Are heaven and hell so small things, and these different states so like one another, that people should be unconcerned which of them be their lot ? Indeed, the greatest part of people live as if they had laid down this conclusion, I care pot whether I come to heaven or hell.
3. Should not Jesus Christ our Lord be very precious to us ? Whenever we think of the prize of our calling, we must always remember Christ, and our debt to him; he bought this prize by his blood; heaven is a fruit of the price of Christ's blood, heaven is a palace built upon the foundation of the blood of the Son of God; he hath bought it by his blood, and he offers it freely to us by his grace: Whoever accepts his offer, he takes them and leads them kindly by the hand; he brings many sons unto glory, Heb. ii. 10. and at last, when he hath brought them through all, he himself puts the crown on with his own hands: Lacking, says the apostle, for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, unto eternal life. Ye
have got a deal of mercy from him tefore, but the grand gift cf mercy will be, when the believer shail kneel at Christ's feet, and receive the crown of glory at his hands. It is impossible that a man can have right thoughts of heaven that
First, What is to be believed, when a believer is called to believe eternal life promised to him in the gospel; and this I
has not right thoughts of Jesus Christ; and it is impossible that a man can have right thoughts of Jesus Christ, but his heart will be filled with heaven.
-For he is faithful that promised. THOUGH you had heard these words but once, if you
be true Christians, you would never forget them; how much more should they be well remembered when they have been so often repeated, and so long spoken to.
That which remains now is a part of the application of the truths proposed from these words. I did propose three exhortations in the conclusion of the application of this doctrine. 1. That
you should answer the faithfulness of God, by believing the promise of salvation by Christ Jesus. This is the first act of faith that God craves of all them to whom the gospel is preached. Wherever the apostles came with the glad tidings of salvation by Christ Jesus, their application was to all, Believe; believe this doctrine with the heart, and ye shall
2. I was calling believers unto the answering of God's faithfulness, by trusting him for all covenant- blessings by the way. And,
3. By answering God's faithfulness by faith, as to the end, eternal life, the great hope of our calling; the hope of eternal life, as the apostle Paul calls it, which God that cannot lie, promised before the world began, Titus i. 1, 2. ling this exhortation, there were three heads I proposed to
In the hand
spent the last time in discoursing to. Believers are called to
believe, that as soon as the soul is dislodged from the body, it is present with the Lord. They are to believe, that the same body that is laid in the grave, and rots there, shall be raised again in glory, at the appearance of Jesus Christ. They are to believe, that this departed soul, and this body raised again, shall be eternally united, never to part more. Lastly, That, in this state of perfection, we shall be eternally blessed in the enjoyment of God in Christ Jekus above. Of the particulars of which I discoursed the last day.
The second, that now remains to be spoke to, is about the difficulty of believing this. Shall I prove that it is difficult? Is there not proof enough, that this faith is so very rare? It may be, you may think it an unreasonable surmise and jealousy, but let every one's conscience answer for themselves. It may be (I do not know that it is), that, in all this assembly, there is not one person that can tell when they spent a calm sweet hour in the hope of the glory of God, when they had a satisfying rejoicing in the hope of this great prize of our calling. If this be rare, surely the faith of it is rare; for it is impossible that the faith of the glory to come can be strong in the heart, but joy will spring up therefrom: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God, Rom. v. 2. Christians know this well enough, that when they have tried their faith upon a great many promises of the word, sometimes upon the promise of God's hearing prayer, that their faith does pretty well there; sometimes upon the promises of pardon of sin through the blood of Jesus Christ, and their faith answers : but bring them close to believing the prize and crown of glory, there frequently their faith fails them, they cannot draw it forth so confidently as they would. That it is difficult and rare, I take for granted, and shall not spend time to prove that which almost every exercised conscience in the company has a witness within to the truth of. My work then shall be to shew you, whence it comes that believing of eternal life is so very hard to be got, and is so rarely found with Christians.
1. Because this great thing, eternal life, is greatly unknown to us. It doth not yet appear what we shall be, says the apostle,
1 John iii. 2.-Neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him, 1 Cor. ii. 9. Now, it is true the apostle says, that it is made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light, through the gospel, 2 Tim. i. 10. · Yet though it be made manifest, we are rather told that it is, than what it is. This glory to come is yet within the veil, as the apostle saith of it, Heb. vi. 19. where Christ is, whither the forerunner is for us entered. There is an express allusion to the typical high-priest, who, when he had offered the blood of atonement upon the altar, carried that blood within the veil to the mercy-seat; then he was quite out of the sight of the people, for he must go in alone, and none else could look after him. Now, how easy is it to conceive this, that the darker the thing believed be to us, the harder believing is ? Mercies that we cannot well tell how to conceive of, is it any wonder, we cannot tell how to believe them firmly ? For believing has an expectation of a blessing, as well as it has in it a trusting in the truth of the promiser.
believer is more strange, than Canaan was to Abraham, who by faith, when he was called of God, went into that place, and he went out, not knowing whither he went ; he was called to go to a land which he never saw before only the difference is great in this, that though it was a better spot of the earth, than that where he was born or dwelt, yet it was a spot of the same earth, but heaven is a quite different country, Heb. xi. 8.
2. The vast greatness and goodness of this prize, makes some difficulty to the faith of the people of God. It is so great, so good, that they find it hard to believe the expressions thereof in the word, which are great and many. The hearts of believers are many times so taken with them, and that deservedly, when they have expatiated in their thoughts about the greatness of the hope of their calling, that they are ready sometimes to say, And will God give such a blessing to me? You know what is said of the disciples, and it is one of the oddest accounts that can be given of unbelief, that while they beheld him, they believed not for joy, Luke xxiv. 41. They loved Christ so well, they sorrowed for his death so deeply,
Heaven to every