« PreviousContinue »
blood. Heaven, and all the glory thereof, is purchased for believers with this price. Hence that glory is called "an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you ;” to the lively hope whereof you are begotten again " by the resurrection of Christ from the dead." 1 Pet. 1:3. Not only present mercies are purchased for us, but things to come also, as 1 Cor. 3:22.
III. All this is purchased for believers : hence it is called,
" the inheritance of the saints in light.” Col. 1: 12. "All is yours, for ye are Christ's;" that is the tenure, 1 Cor. 3:22, 23. So Rom. 8:30, Whom he did predestinate, them he also called ; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” Only those that are sons, are heirs. Rom. 8:17. The unrighteous shall not inherit. 1 Cor. 6:9. To the "little flock”"it is the Father's good pleasure to give the kingdom.” Luke, 12:32.
INFERENCE 1. Hath Christ not only redeemed you from wrath, but purchased such an eternal inheritance for you ? Oh how content should believers be with the allotments of providence in this life, whatever they may be ! Content did I say? I speak too low; they should be overcome, ravished, filled with praises and thanks. givings; how low, how poor, how afflicted soever for the present they are. Oh let not such a thing as grumbling, repining, fretting at providence, be found, or once named among the expectants of this inheritance ! Suppose you had taken a beggar from your door, and adopted him to be your son, and made him heir of a large inheritance, and after this he should contest and quarrel with you for a trifle; could you bear it ? How to bring the spirit of a saint into contentment with a low condition here, I have laid down several rules in another discourse, (A Saint Indeed) to which, for the présent, I refer the reader.
2. With what weaned affections should the people of God walk up and down this world, content to live, and willing to die ! For things present are theirs if they live, and things to come are theirs if they die. Paul expresses himself in a state of holy indifference ; " What I shall choose I know not.” Phil. 1:22. Many of them that are now in fruition of their inheritance above, had " life in patience, and death in desire," while they tabernacled with us.
And truly the wisdom of God is specially remarkable, in giving the new creature such an even temper as expressed 2 Thess. 3:5, " The Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and patient waiting for Christ." Love inflames with desire, patience allays that fervor. So that fervent desires (as one happily expresses it) are allayed with meek submission; mighty love with strong patience. And had not God united these two principles in the christian's constitution, he had framed a creature to be a torment to itself, to live upon the rack.
3. Hence we infer the impossibility of their salvation that know not Christ, nor have interest in his blood. There is but one way to glory for all the world, " No man cometh to the Father but by me.” John, 14:6. " 'The blessing of Abraham" comes on the gentiles
through faith.” Gal. 3: 14. Scripture asserts the impossibility of being or doing any thing that is evangelically good, out of Christ : " Without me ye can do nothing." John, 15:5. And, "without faith it is impossible to please God.” Heb. 11:6. Scripture every where connects salvation with vocation, Rom. 8:30; and vocation with the Gospel. Rom. 10:14. To those that plead for the salvation of heathen and profane christians, we may apply the keen rebuke of Bernard, that while some labored to make Plato a christian, he feared they therein proved themselves to be heathens.
4. How greatly are we all concerned that our title
to the heavenly inheritance be clear! It is horrible to sec how industrious many are for an inheritance on earth, and how careless for heaven. By which we may plainly see how vilely the noble soul is depressed by sin, and sunk down into flesh, minding only the things of the flesh. Hear me, ye that labor for the world, as if heaven were in it; what will you do when at death you shall look back and see all that for which
have spent your time and strength shrinking and vanishing away from you? When you shall look forward and see vast eternity opening to swallow you up; oh then what would you give for a well-grounded assurance of an eternal inheritance !
Oh, therefore, if you have any regard for your poor soul ; if it be not indifferent to you whether it be saved or be damned, "give all diligence to make your calling and election sure.” 2 Pet. 1:10. " Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of his own good pleasure." Phil. 2:12, 13. Remember it is salvation you work for, and that is no trifle—your own salvation, It is for thy own poor soul that thou art striving; and what hast thou more?
Remember God now offers you his help; now the Spirit waits upon you; but of its continuance you have no assurance; for it is of his own good pleasure, and not at yours. To your work, souls, to your work. Ah, strive as men that know what an inheritance in heaven is worth.
And, as for you that have solid evidence that it is yours; oh, that with hands and eyes lifted up to hea. ven you would adore that free grace that hath entitled a child of wrath to a heavenly inheritance! Walk as become heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ. Be olten looking heaven-ward when wants pinch here. Oh look to that fair estate you have reserved in heaven for you, and say, I am hastening home; and when I come thither, all my wants shall be supplied. Consider what it cost Christ to purchase it for thee; and with a deep sense of what he hath done for thee, let thy soul say, Blessed be God for Jesus Christ.
KINGLY OFFICE OF CHRIST, AS EXECUTED SPIRITUALLY UPON
THE SOULS OF THE REDEEMED.
Casting down imaginations, and crery high thing thal cxallelh itself
against the knowledyc of God, and bringing into caplivily cvery thoughl to the obcdicncc of Christ.” 2 Cor. 10 : 5.
We now come to the regal office, by which our glorious Mediator executes the design of our redemption. Had he not, as our Prophet, opened the way of life and salvation to the children of men, they could never have known it; and if they had clearly known it, yet except, as their Priest, he had offered up himself to obtain redemption for them, they could not have been redeemed virtually by his blood; and if they had been so redeemed, yet had he not lived in the capacity of a King, to apply this purchase of his blood to them, they could have had no actual, personal benefit by his death ; for what he revealed as a Prophet, he purchased as a Priest ; and what he so revealed and purchased as a Prophet and Priest, he applies as a King; first subduing the souls of his people to his spiritual government, then ruling them as his subjects, and ordering all things in the kingdom of Providence for their good. So that Christ has a twofold kingdom, the one spiritual and internal, by which he subdues and rules the hearts of his people ; the other providential and external, whereby he guides, rules, and orders all things in the world, in a blessed subordination to their eternal salvation. I am to speak from this text of his spiritual and internal kingdom.
These words hold forth the efficacy of the Gospel, in its plainness and simplicity for subduing rebellious sinners to Christ : in them we have,
1. The oppositions made by sinners against the assaults of the Gospel, namely, imaginations, or reason. ings, as the word nogloucus, may be fitly rendered : the subtleties, excuses, subterfuges, and arguings of fleshlyminded men; in which they fortify and intrench themselves against the convictions of the word : yea, and there are not only such carnal reasonings, but many proud, high conceits, with which poor creatures swell, and scorn to submit to the abasing, humble, self-denying way of the Gospel. These are the fortifications erected against Christ by the carnal mind.
2. We have here the conquest which the Gospel obtains over sinners, thus fortified against it; it casts down and overthrows these strong holds. Thus Christ spoils Satan of his armor in which he trusted, by showing the sinner that all this can be no defence to his soul against the wrath of God. And more,
3. You have here the improvement of the victory. Christ not only leads away these enemies spoiled, but brings them into obedience to himself, that is, makes them, after conversion, subjects of his own kingdom, obedient, useful, and serviceable to himself; and so is more than a conqueror. They not only lay down their
arms, and fight no more against Christ, but repair to his camp, and fight for Christ with those weapons before employed against him: as it is said of Jerome, Origen, and Tertullian, that they came into Canaan laden with Egyptian gold; that is, they came into the church full of excellent learning and abilities,