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DOCTRINE. The Saints shall be made completely happy, in the Pos

session of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Two things I shall here enquire into, (1.) The natute of this kingdom. (2.) The admission of the saints thereto. And then I shall make a practical improvement of the whole.

FIRST, As to the nature of the kingdom of heaven, our knowledge of it is very imperfect : for, “ Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him," i Cor. ii. 9. As, by familiar resemblances, parents instruct their little children concerning thing's, of which otherwise they can have no tolerable notion ; so our gracious God, in contemplatior of our weakness, is pleased to represent to us heaven's: piness, under similitudes taken from earthly things, glorious in the eyes of men ; since naked discoveries of the heavenly glory, divested of earthly resemblances, would be too bright for our weak eyes, and in them we would but lose ourselves. Wherefore now, one can but speak as a child of these things, which the day will fully discover.

The state of glory is represented under the notion of a kingdom ; a kingdom among men, being that in which the greatest number of earthly good things doth concenter. Now every Saint shall, as a king, inherit a kingdom. All Christ's subjects shall be kings, each one with his crown upon his head : not that the great King shall divest himself of his royalty, but he will make all his children partakers of his kingdom.

I. The saints shall have kingly power and authority given. Our Lord gives not empty titles to his favourites ; he makes them kings indeed. The dominion of the saints will be a dominion far exceeding that of the greatest monarch ever was on earth. They will be absolute masters over sin, that sometime had dominion over them. They will have a complete rule over their own spirits ; an entire management of all their affections and inclinations, which now create them so much molestation : the turbulent root of corrupt affections, shall be for ever ex. pelled out of that kingdom, and never be able any more


to give them the least disturbance. Phey shall have power over the nations, the ungodly of all nations, and shall rule them with a rod of iron, Rev. ii. 26, 27. The whole world of the wicked shall be broken before them: Satan shall be bruised under their feet, Rom. xvi. 20. He shall never be able to fasten a temptation on them any more; but he will be judged by them; and in their sight cast, with the reprobate crew, into the lake of fire and brimstone. So shall they rule over their oppressors. Having fought the good fight, and got the victory, Christ will entertain them as Joshua did his captains, causing them come near, and put their feet upon the necks of kings, Josh. X. 24.

II. They shail have the Ensigns of Royalty. For a throne, Christ will grant them to sit with him on his throne, Rev. iii. 12. They will be advanced to the highest honour'and dignity they are capable of; and, in the enjoyment of it, they will have an eternal undisturbed repose, after all the tossings they meet with in the world, in their way to the throne. For a crown, they shall receive a crown of glory, that fadeth not away, i Pet. V. 4. Not a crown of flowers, as subjects, being conquerors, or victors, sometimes have got; such a crown quickly fades; but their crown never fadeth. Not a crown of gold, such as earthly kings do wear; even a crown of gold is often stained, and can never make them happy who wear it. But it shall be a crown of glory. A crown of glory is a crown of life, Rev. ii. 10. that life which knows no end ; a crown which death can never make to fall off one's head. It must be an abiding crown; for it is a crown of righteousness, 2 Tim. iv. 8. It was purchased for them by Christ's righteousness, which is imputed to them; they are qualified for it by inherent righteousness; God's righteousness or faithfulness secures it to them. They shall have a sceptre, a rod of iron (Rev. ii. 27.) terrible to all the wicked world. And a sword too, a two-edged sword in their hand, to execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishment upon the people, Psal. cxlix. 6,7. They shall have royal apparel. The royal robes in this kingdom are white robes, Rev. iii. 4. « They shall walk with me in white.” And these last do; in a very particular manuer, point at the inconceiyable glory of the state of the saints in heaven.

The Lord is pleased often to represent unto us the glorious state of the saints, under the notion of their being clothed in white garments. It is promised to the overcomer, that he shall be clothed in white raiment, Rev. iii. 5. The elders about the throneare clothedin white raiment, chap. iv. 4. The multitude before the throne are clothed with white robes, chap. vii. 9. arrayed in white robes, ver. 13. made white in the blood of the Lamb, ver. 14. I own the last two testimonies adduced, do l'espect the state of the saints on earth; but withal the terms are borrowed from the state of the church in heaven. All garments, properly so called, being badges of sin and shame, shall be laid aside by the saints, when they come to their state of glory. But if we consider on what occasions white garments were wont to be put on, we shall find much of heaven under them.

First, The Romans, when they manumitted their bondservants, gave them a white garment, as a badge of their freedom. So shall the saints that day get on white robes ; for it is the day of the glorious liberty of the children of God (Rom. viii. 21.) the day of the redemption of their body, ver. 23. They shall no more see the house of bondage, nór lie any more among the pots. If we compare the state of the saints on earth, with that of the wicked, it is indeed a state of freedom; whereas the other is a state of slavery : but in comparison with their state in heaven, it is but a servitude. A saint on earth is indeed a young prince, and heir to the crown; but his motto may be, I serve, for he differeth nothing from a servant, though he be Lord of all, Gal. iv. 1. What are the groans of a saint, the sordid and base work he is sometimes found employed in, the black and tattered garments he walks in, but badges of this comparative servitude ? But from the day the saints come to the crown, they receive their complete freedom, and serve no more. They shall be fully freed from sin, which of all evils is the worst, both in itself, and in their apprehensions too : How great then must that freedom be, when these Egyptians whom they see to-day, they shall see them again no more for ever? They shall be free from all temptation to sin ; Satan can have no access to tempt them any more, by himself, nor by his agents. A full answer will then be given to that petition they have so often repeated, Lead us not into temptation. No hissing serpent can come into the paradise above; no snare nor trap can be laid there, to catch the feet of the saints ; they may walk there fearlessly, for they can be in no hazard, there are no lions dens, no mountains of the leopards, there. They shall be set beyond the possibility of sinning, for they shall be confirmed in goodness. It will be the consummate freedom of their will to be for ever unalterably determined to good. And they shall be freed from all the effects of sin « There no more death, neither sorrow, nor cry. ing, neither shall there be any more pain," Rev. xxi. 4. What kingdom is like unto this ? Death makes its way now into a palace, as easily as into a cottage ! sorrow fills the heart of one, who wears a crown on his head: royal robes are no fence against pain, and crying by reason of prin. But in this kingdom no misery can have place. All reproaches shall be wiped off; and never shall a tear drop any more from their eyes. They shall not complain of desertions again ; the Lord will never hide hįs face from them : but the Sun of righteousness shining upon them in his meridian brightness, will dispel all clouds, and give them an everlasting day, without the least mixture of darkness. A deluge of wrath, after a fearful thunder-clap from the throne, will sweep away the wicked from before the judgment-seat, into the lake of fire ; but they are, in the first place, like Noah brought into the ark, and out of harm's

way. Secondly, White raiment hath been a token of purity. Therefore the Lamb's wife is arrayed in fine linen, clean and white, Rev. xix. 8. And those who stood before the throne, washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, chap. vii. 14. The saints shall then put on the robes of perfect purity, and shine in spotless holiness, like the sun in his strength, without the least cloud to intercept his light. Absolute innocence shall then be restored, and every appearance of sin banished far from his kingdom. The guilt of sin, and the reigning power of it, are now taken away in the saints ; nevertheless sin dwelleth in them, Rom. vii. 20. But then it shall be no more in them; the corrupt nature will be quite removed; that root of bitterness will be plucked

up, and no vestiges of it left in their souls; their nature shall be altogether pure and sinless. There shall be no more darkness in their minds; but the understanding of every saint, when he is come to his kingdom, will be as a globe of pure and unmixed light. There shall not be the least aversion to good, or inclination to evil, in their wills ; but they will be brought to a perfect conformity to the will of God, blessed with angelical purity, and fixed therein. Their affections shall not be liable to the leasts disorder or irregularity ; it will cost them no trouble to keep them right; they will get such a set of purity, as they can never lose. They will be so refined from all earthly dross, as never to savour more of any thing but heaven. Were it possible they should be set again amidst the ensnaring objects of an evil world, they should walk among

them without the least defilement; as the sun shines on the dunghiil yet untainted, and as the angels preserved their purity in the midst of Sodom. Their graces shall then be perfected, and all the imperfections now cleaving to them, done away. There will be no more ground for complaints of weakness of grace ; none in that kingdom shall complain of an ill heart or a corrupt nature.

“ It doth not yet appear what we shall be, but when he shall appear, we shall be like him," i John iii. 2.

Thirdly, Among the Jews, these who desired to be admitted into the priestly office, being tried, and found to be of the priest's line, and without blemish, were clothed in white, and enrolled among the priests. This seems to be alluded to, Rev iii. 5. “ He that overcometh-the su nts shall be clothed in white raiment, and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life.”. The saints are not kings only, but priests also; for they are a Royal Priesta hood, 1 Pet. ij. 9. They will be priests upon their thrones. They are judicially found descended from the great High Priest of their profession, begotten of him by his Spirit, of the incorruptible seed of the word, and without blemish; so the trial being over, they are admitted to be priests in the temple above, that they may dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. There is nothing on earth more glorious than a kingdom, nothing more venerable than the priesthood; and both meet together in the glorified state of the saints. The general assembly of the first-born, (Heb. xii.

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