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this world, that it was as it were but then begun; and he ascended for that very end, that he might more fully possess and enjoy this kingdom, that he might reign in it, and be under the best advantages for it: In like manner, no more have the saints done with Christ's kingdom on earth, when they ascend into heaven. 66 Christ came (i. e. ascended) with clouds of heaven, and came to the ancient of days; and was brought near before him, to the very end that he migbt receive dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve hiin," Dan, vii. 13, 14. This shall be eminently fulfilled after the ruin of Antichrist, which is especially the time of Christ's kingdom. And the same is the time when “ the kingdom, and dominion, and greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High God; as ver. 27. It is because they shall reign in and with Christ, the Most High, as seems intimated in the words that follow; “ whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdon, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.” This is true, not only of the saints on earth, but also the saints in heaven. Hence the saints in heaven, having respect to this time, sing, Rev. v. 10, “ We shall reign on the earth.” And agreeable hereto, it is afterwards represented, that when the fore-mentioned time comes, the souls of them who in former ages had suffered with Christ do reign with bim; having as it were given to them new life and joy, in that spiritual blessed resurrection, which shall then be of the church of God on earth; and thus, Matth. v. 5, “ The meek (those that meekly and patiently suffer with Christ, and for his sake,) shall inherit the earth;” they shall inherit it, and reign on earth with Christ. Christ is the heir of the world; and when the appointed time of his kingdom comes, his inheritance shall be given bim, and then the meek, who are joint heirs, shall inherit the earth. The place in the Old Testament whence the words are taken, leads to a true interpretation of them; Psalm xxxvii. 11. “ The meek shall inherit the earth,
and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” That there is reference in these latter words, “the abundance of peace," to the peace and blessedness of the latter days, we may be satisfied by comparing these words with Psalm lxxii. 7. « In his days shall be abundance of peace, so long as the moon endureth :" And Jer. xxxiji. 6. “ I will reveal to them the abundance of peace and truth ;” also, Isa. ii. 4. Mic. iv. 3. Isa. xi. 6–9; and many other parallel places. The saints in heaven will be as much with Christ in reigning over the nations, and in the glory of his dominion at that time, as they will be with him in the honour of judging the world at the last day. That promise of Christ to his disciples,
Matt. xix. 28, 29, seems to have a special respect to the former of these. In ver. 28, Christ promises to the disciples,. that hereafter," when the Son of Man shall sit on the throne of his glory, they shall sit on twelve thiones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” The saints in heaven reigning on earth in the glorious latter day, is described in language accommodating to this promise of Christ, Rev. xx. 4. < And I saw thrones, and they that sat upon them; and judgment was given them.--And they reigned with Christ.” And the promise, Matth. xix. 29, seems to have its fulfilment at the same time : “ And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or fathers, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundred fold, and shall inherit everlasting life;" i. e. in the time when the saints shall inherit the earth, and reign on earth, the earth, with all its blessings and good things, shall be given in great abundance to the church, to be possessed by the saints. This shall they receive in this present world, and in the future everlasting life. The saints in heaven shall partake with Christ in the triumph and glory of those victories that he shall obtain in that future glorious time over the kings and nations of the world, represented by his ruling them with a rod of iron, and dashing them in pieces as a potter's vessel. To which doubtless there is a respect in Rev. ii. 26, 27. “He that overcometh, and keepeth my words unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations : (and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers :) even as I received of my Father." And Psalm cxlix. 5. to the end ; “ Let the saints be joyful in glory : let them sing aloud upon their beds;" (i. e. in their separate state after death; compare Isa. lvii. 1, 2.) “Let the bigh praises of God be in their mouth, and a twoedged sword in their hand; to execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron, to execute upon them the judgment written : This honour have all the saints." Accordingly, when Christ appears riding forth to his victory over Antichrist, Rev. xix. the hosts of heaven appear going forth with him in robes of triumph, ver. 14. And wben Antichrist is destroyed, the inhabitants of heaven, and the holy apostles and prophets, are called upon to rejoice, chap. xviii. 20. And the whole multitude of the inhabitants of heaven, on that occasion, appear to exult and praise God with exceeding joy; chap. xix. 148. and chap. xi. 15. They are also represented as greatly rejoicing on occasion of the ruin of the heathen empire, in the days of Constantine; chap. xii. 10. And it is observable, all along in the visions of that book, that the hosts of
heaven appear as much concerned and interested in the events appertaining to the kingdom of Christ here below, as the saints on earth. The day of the commencement of the church's latter-day glory is eminently “the day of Christ's espousals; the day of the gladness of his heart, when as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so he will rejoice over his church.” And then will all beaven exceedingly rejoice with him. Thus Rev. xix. 7.
6 Let us be glad, and rejoice, and give glory to him; for the marriage, of the Lamb is come.”
Thus Abraham enjoys these things, when they come to pass, which were of old promised to him, and which he saw before-hand, and rejoiced in. He will enjoy the fulfilment of the promise of all the families of the earth being blessed in his seed, when it shall be accomplished. And all the ancient patriarchs, who died in faith of promises of glorious things that should be accomplished in this world, “ who had not received the promises, but saw them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them,” actually enjoy them when fulfilled. David actually saw and enjoyed the fulfilment of that promise, in its due time, which was made to bim many hundred years before, and was all his salvation and all his desire. Thus Daniel shall stand in his lot at the er:d of the days pointed out by his own prophecy. Thus the saints of old that died in faith, not having received the promise, are made perfect, and have their faith crowned by the better things accomplished in these latter days of the gospel, Heb. xi. 39, 40, which they see and enjoy.
3. The departed souls of saints have fellowship with Christ, in his blessed and eternal employment of glorifying the Father.
The happiness of heaven consists not only in contemplation, and a mere passive enjoyment, but consists very much in action. And particularly in actively serving and glorifying God. This is expressly mentioned as a greai part of the blessedness of the saints in their most perfect state, Rev. xxii. 3. " And there shall be no more curse; but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serye him.”
The angels are a flame of fire in their ardour and activity in God's service: The four animals, Rev. iv. (which are generally supposed to signify the angels,) are represented as continually giving praise and glory to God, and are said not to rest day nor night, ver. 8. The souls of departed saints are doubtless become as the angels of God in beaven in this respect. And Jesus Christ is the head of the whole glorious assembly; as in other things appertaining to their blessed state, so in this of their praising and glorifying the Father. When Christ, the night before he was crucified, prayed for his
exaltation to glory, it was that he might glorify the Father ; John xvii. 1. « These words spake Jesus, and lift up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come, glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee.” And this he doubtless does, now he is in heaven; not only in fulfilling the Father's will, in what he does as head of the church and ruler of the universe, but also in leading the heavenly assembly in their praises. When Christ instituted the Lord's supper, and eat and drank with his disciples at his table, (giving them therein a representation and pledge of their future feasting with him, and drinking new wine in his heavenly Father's kingdom,) he at that time led them in their praises to God, in a hymn they sang. And so doubtless he leads his glorified disciples in heaven. David was the sweet psalmist of Israel, and led the great congregation of God's people in their songs of praise. Herein, as well as in innumerable other things, he was a type of Christ, who is often spoken of in scripture by the name of David. And many of the psalms that David penned, were songs of praise, that he, by the spirit of prophecy, uttered in the name of Christ, as head of the church, and leading the saints in their praises. Christ in heaven leads the glorious assembly in their praises to God, as Moses did the congregation of Israel at the Red Sea : which is implied in its being said, that “they sing the song of Moses and the Lamb," Rev. xv. 2, 3. In Rev. xix. 5, John tells us, that he heard a voice come out of the throne, saying, Praise our Gol, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. Who can it be that utters this voice out of the throne, but the Lamb that is in the midst of the throne, calling on the glorious assembly of saints to praise bis Father and their Father, his God and their God ? And what the consequence of this voice is, we have an account in the next words : “ And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia; for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.'
The use that I would make of what has been said on this subject is of exhortation. Let us all be exhorted hence earnestly to seek after this great privilege, that when “ are absent from the body, we may be present with the Lord.”
We cannot continue always in these earthly tabernacles; • They are very frail, will soon decay and fall, and are con
tinually liable to be overthrown by innumerable means.
Our souls must soon leave them, and go into the eternal world.-0, how infinitely great will the privilege and happiness of such be, who at that time shall go to be with Christ in his glory, in the manner that has been represented! The privilege of the twelve disciples was great, in being so constantly with Christ as his family, in his state of humiliation. The privilege of those three disciples was great, who were with him in the mount of his transfiguration; where was exhibited to them some little semblance of his future glory in heaven, such as they might behold in the present frail, feeble, and sinful state. They were greatly entertained and delighted with what they saw; and were for making tabernacles to dwell there, and return no more down the mount. And great was the privilege of Moses when he was with Christ in Mount Sinai, and besought him to shew him his glory, and he saw his back-parts as he passed by, and proclaimed his name.—But how infinitely greater the privilege of being with Christ in heaven, where he sits on the right hand of God, as the King and God of angels, and of the whole universe, shining forth as the great light, the bright sun of that world of glory; there to dwell in the full, constant, and everlasting view of his beauty and brightness; there most freely and intimately to converse with him, and fully to enjoy bis love as his friends and spouse; there to have fellowship with him in the infinite pleasure and joy he has in the enjoyment of his Father! How transcendent the privilege, there to sit with him on his throne, to reign with him in the possession of all things, and to partake with him in the joy and glory of his victory over his enemies, and the advancement of his kingdom in the world, and to join with him in joyful songs of praise to his Father and their Father, to bis God and their God, for ever and ever! Is not such a privilege worth seeking after ?
But here, as a special enforcement of this exhortation, I would improve that dispensation of God's holy providence, which is the sorrowful occasion of our coming together at this time, viz. the death of that eminent servant of Jesus Christ, in the work of the gospel-ministry, whose funeral is this day to be attended; together with what was observable in bim, living and dying.
In this dispensation of providence, God puts us in mind of our mortality, and forewarns us that the time is approaching when we must be absent from the body, and 6 must all appear (as the apostle observes in the context,) before the judgment-seat of Christ, that every one of us may receive the things done in the body, according to what we have done, whether it be good or bad.”
And in bim, whose death we are now called to consider