« EdellinenJatka »
23.) whose is the priesthood and the double portion, ap. pearing in their white robes of glory, will be a reverend and glorious company. That day will shew them to be the persons, whom the Lord has chosen out of all the tribes of the earth, to be near unto him, and to enter into his temple, even into his holy place. Their priesthood, begun on earth, shall be brought to its perfection, while they shall be employed in offering the sacrifice of praise to God and the Lamb, for ever and ever. They got not their portion in the earth with the rest of the tribes ; but the Lord himself was their portion, and will be their double portion, through the ages of eternity.
Fourthly, They were wont to wear white raiment, in a time of triumph; to the which also there seems to be an allusion, Rev. iii. 5. “ He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment.” And what is heaven but an everlasting triumph! None get thither, but such as fight, and overcome too. Though Canaan. was given to the Israelites, as an inheritance, they behoved to conquer it, ere they could be possessors of it. The saints in this world, are in the field of battle ; often in red garments, garments rolled in blood ; but the day approacheth, in which they shall stand before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands, (Rev. vii. 9.) having obtained a complete victory over all their enemies. The palm was used as a sign of victory; because that tree, oppressed with weights, yielded not, but rather shooteth upwards, and palm trees were carved on the doors of the most holy place, (1 Kings vi. 32) which was a special type of heaven; for heaven is the place which the saints are received into, as conquerors.
Behold the joy and peace of the saints in their white robes! The joy arising from the view of past dangers, and of riches and honours gained at the very door of death, do most sensibly touch one's heart ; and this will be an ingredient in the everlasting happiness of the saints, which could have had no place in the heaven of innocent Adam, and his sinless offspring, supposing him to have stood. Surely the glorified saints will not forget the entertainment they met with in the world : it will be for the glory of God to remember it, and also for the heightening of their joy. The Sicilian king by birth the son of a pofter, acted a wise part, in that he would be served at his table, with earthen vessels, the which could not but put an ad. ditional sweetness in his meals, not to be relished by one born heir to the crown. Can ever meat be so sweet to any, as to the hungry man? Or can any have such a relish of plenty, as he who has been under pinching straits: The more difficulties the saints have passed through in their way to heaven, the place will be the sweeter to them, when they come at it. Every happy stroke struck in the spiritual warfare, will be a jewel in their crown of glory. Each victory obtained against sin, Satan, and the world, will raise their triumphant joy the higher. The remembrance of the cross will sweeten the ciown; and the me. mory of their travel through the wilderness, will put an additional verdure on the fields of glory, while they walk through them, minding the day, when they went mourn. ing without the sun.
And now that they appear triumphing in white robess. it is a sign that they have obtained an honourable peace such a peace as their enemies can disturb no more. Sa every thing peculiarly adapted to their militant condition is laid aside. The sword is laid down; and they betake themselves to the pen of a ready writer, to commemorate the praises of him by whom they overcame. Public ordinances, preaching, sacraments, shall be honourably laid aside ; there is no temple there, Rev. xix. 22. Sometimes these were sweet to them ; but the travellers being all got home, the inns appointed for their entertainment by the way, are shut up; the candles are put out when the sun is risen ; and the tabernacle used in the wilderness is folded up when the temple of glory is come in its room. Many of the saints duties will then be laid aside; as one gives his staff out of his hand when he is come to the end of his journey. Praying shall then be turned to praising ; and, there being no sin to confess, no wants to seek the supply of, confession and petition shall be swallowed in everlasta ing thanksgiving. There will be no mourning in heaven; they have sown in tears, the reaping time of joy is comes and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, Rev. xxi. 4. No need of mortification there; and self-examination is then at an end. They will not need to watch any more, the danger is over. Patience has had its perfect work, and there is no use for it there. Faith is turned in. to sight, and hope is swallowed up in the ocean of sensible and full enjoyment. All the rebels are subdued, the saints quietly set on their throne ; and so the forces needful in the time of the spiritual warfare, are disbanded; and they carry on their triumph in profoundest peace.
Lastly, White Garments were worn on festival days, in token of joy. And so shall the saints be clothed in white raiment, for they shall keep an everlasting Sabbath to the Lord, Heb. iv. 9. “ There remaineth therefore a rest (or keeping of a Sabbath) to the people of God." The Sabbaith, in the esteem of saints, is the queen of days : and they shall have an endless Sabbatism in the kingdom of heaven ; so shall their garments be always white. They will have an eternal rest, with an uninterrupted joy; for heaven is not a resting place, where men may sleep out an eternity (there they rest not day nor night); but their work is their rest and continual recreation, and toil and weariness have no place there. They rest there in God, who is the centre of their souls. Here they find the complement, or satisfaction of all their desires; having the full enjoyment of God, and uninterrupted communion with him. This is the point unto the which, till the soul come, it will always be restless ; but, that point reached, it rests; for he is the last end, and the soul can go no farther. It cannot understand, will, nor desire more ; but in him it has what is commensurable to its boundless desires. This is the happy end of all the labours of the saints; their toil and sorrows issue in a joyful rest. The Chaldeans measuring the natural day, put the day first, and the night last: but the Jews counted the night first and the day last. Even so the wicked begin with a day of rest and pleasure, but end with a night of everlasting toil and sorrow : but God's people have their gloomy night first, and then comes their day of eternal rest. The which, Abraham, in the parable, observed to the rich man in hell, Luke xvi. 25. remember that thou in thy life-time receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.”
III. If one enquires where the kingdom of the saints lies? It is not in this world ; it lies in a better country, that is, an heavenly, Heb. xi. 16. a country better than
the best of this world, namely, the heavenly Canaan, Immanuel's land, where nothing is wanting to complete the happiness of the inhabitants. This is the happy country, blest with a perpetual spring, and which yieldeth all things, for necessity, conveniency and delight. There men shall eat angels food; they shall be entertained with the hidden manna (Rev. ii. 17.) without being set to the painful gathering of it: they will be fed to the full, with the product of the land falling into their mouths, without the least toil to them. That land enjoys an everlasting day, for there is no night there, Rev. xxi. 25. An eternal sunshine beautifies this better country, but there is no scorching heat there. No clouds shall be seen there for ever : yet it is not a land of drought; the trees of the Lord's planting, are set by the rivers of water, and shall never want moisture; for they will have an eternal supply of the Spirit, by Jesus Christ, from his Father. This is the country from whence our Lord came, and wither he is gone again; the country which all the holy patriarchs and prophets had their eyes upon, while on earth ; and which all the saints, who have gone before us, have fought their way to ; and unto which, the martyrs have joyfully swimmed through a sea of blood. This earth is the place of the saints pilgrimage: that is their country, where they find their everlasting rest.
IV. The Royal City is that great city, the holy Jerusalem, described at large, Rev. xxi. 10, &c. (It is true, some learned divines place this city in the earth, but the particulars of the description seem to me to favour those most, who point us to the other world for it.) The saints shall reign in that city, whose wall is of jasper (ver. 16.) and the foundations of the wall garnished with all manner of precious stones (ver. 19.) and the street of pure gold (ver. 21.) so that their feet shall be set on that, which the men of this world set their hearts upon. This is the city God has prepared for them, Heb. xi. 16. A city that hath foundations (ver. 10.): a continuing city (chap. xiii. 14.) which shall stand and flourish, when all the cities of the world are laid in ashes; and which shall not be moved, when the foundations of the world are overturned. It is a city that never changeth its inhabitants : none of thein shall ever be removed out of it; for life and immortality
reign there, and no death can enter into it. It is blessed with a perfect and perpetual peace, and can never be in the least disturbed. Nothing from without can annoy it; the gates therefore are not shut at all by day, and there is no night there, Rev xxi. 25. There can nothing from within trouble it. No want of provision there ; no scarcity; no discord amongst the inhabitants. Whatever contentions are amongst the saints now, a vestige of their former jarrings shall not remain there. Love to God, and to one another, shall be perfected : and these of them who stood at great distance here, will joyfully embrace and delight in one another there.
V. The Royal Palace is Christ's Father's house; in which are many mansions, John xiv. 2. There shall the saints dwell for ever. This is the house prepared for all the heirs of glory, even these of them ho dwell in the meanest cottage now, or have not where to by their heads. As our Lord calls his saints to a kingdom, he will provide them a house suitable to the dignity he puts upon them. Heaven will be a convenient, 'spacious and glorious house, for those whom the King delighteth to honour. Never was a house purchased at so dear a rate as this, being the purchase of the Mediator's blood! And no less could it be afforded for to them. Never was there so much ado, to fit inhabitants for a house : The saints were, by nature, utterly unfit for this house ; and human art and industry could not make them meet for it. But the Father gives the designed inhabitants to his Son, to be by him redeemed; the Son pays the price of their redemption, even his own precious blood ; that, with the allowance of justice, they may have access to the house : and the Holy Spirit sanctifies them by his grace; that they may be meet to come in thither, where no unclean thing can enter. And no marvel, for it is the King's palace they enter into, Psal. xiv. 15. The house of the kingdom, where the great King keeps his court; where he has his throne, and shews forth his glory, in a singular manner, beyond what more tals can conceive.
VI. Paradise is their Palace-garden. “ This day shalt thou be with me in Paradise," said our Saviour to the penitent thief on the cross, Luke xxiii. 43. Heaven is a Paradise for pleasure and delight ; where there is both