« PreviousContinue »
“ of life;" that as foon as “ the earthly house of this “ tabernacle is diffolved, he shall have a building of & God, a house not made with hands, eternal in " the heavens.” Of this “glory” we can know but very little, till we shal! hear the voice saying, " Come and fee.” But this circumstance wonderful. ly magnifies it; for what must be implied in a felicity which surpasses all description, all conception, and which is hidden rather than unfolded by all the grand imagery employed to express it. Bụt we have some intimations which serve to awaken our desires, to elevate our hopes, and to folace our minds, in all the dif. ficulties of life. O! it is a pleasing
0! it is a pleasing thought, that “ there remaineth a rest for the people of God;" that “ God shall wipe away all tears from our eyes;" that “ there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor “crying, neither shall there be any more pain ;" that we shall “ join the general assembly and church of the “ first-born, whose names are written in heaven" that
There we shall see his face,
that he will“ fhew us the path of life," and bring us into “ his presence, where there is fullness of joy," and to his right hand where there are pleasures for ever“more." “ Įt doth not yet appear what we shall be; “but THIS we know, that when He shall appear we « shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as he is."
Again ; These blessings may be considered in their order. Grace stands before glory; and though God gives both irrespective of any meritorious worthiness in the recipients, he never gives glory, till he has giv,
We wish this to be observed, because the generality of people would pass to the enjoyment of glory without submitting to the laws of grace; but such a hope is falfe and absurd. Thus stands the purpose of God Blessed are the pure in heart, for they “ fhall fee God ;" " without holiness no man SHALL “ see the Lord ;” “ except a man be born again, he
CANNOT see the kingdom of God.” And hencé you perceive that it is not only forbidden, but impossi. ble. Indeed if there were no law to exclude the unfanctified sinner from glory, he would necessarily remain miserable; sin is hell ; his disposition would detroy all the happiness of heaven ; the service and the joy would only disgust and torment the mind; God cannot make us happy with himself, till he has made us holy like himself. “What fellowship hath righteoul“ness with unrighteousness ? and what communion fshath light with darkness ?"
We may observe the connection of these blessings; for they are inseparable ; where the Lord has given grace, he will certainly give glory. And therefore, my dear hearers, the grand question is, whether grace ? Decide this by its influences and effects, as they are marked in the Scriptures ; by loathing sin; by hungering and thirsting after righteousness; by acceding to the terms of discipleship, denying yourselves, taking up your cross, and following the Saviour ; by your love to the ordinances, the word, and the people of God; by your deadness to the world, and having your conversation in heaven. Thus ascertain the reality of your grace, and “ rejoice in hope of the
glory of God;" “ being confident of this very thing,
" that He who hath begun a good work in you, will “perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Did I say, where there is grace, there will be glory? I go further; there is glory. “The Spirit of glory restupon them."
They are “ changed from glory “ to glory.” They “rejoice with joy unspeakable, “ and full of glory.” “He that believeth on the Son “ of God hath everlasting life;" he has more than the promise; he has a part of heaven; he has “the ear"nest of his inheritance ;" he has " the first fruits of “the spirit,” the fame in kind, though not in degree, with the whole harveft. Grace is glory in the bud, and glory is grace matured. Grace is the lowest degree of glory, and glory is only the highest degree of grace. This He gives,
III. And what does He WITHHOLD? “No GOOD
THING.” O how full and comprehensive is the language of promise! The Holy Ghost, in framing it, seems to anticipate all the objections of our suspicious hearts. It was much to tell us, God was “a Sun and “Shield ;" but he enlarges and adds, “ the Lord will
give grace and glory." And surely this will fuffice. No, my brethren ; there is something still behind, the condition of the life which we now live in the flesh." This frequently presses upon the mind, and perplexes and distresses the people of God; they have bodies ; they have families; they are commanded to " provide
things honest in the sight of all men.' Where is the man who never thought within himself, “ if I make “religion my chief concern, and facrifice whatever it “ requires; shall I not injure my temporal circumstans ces ?” Where is the man, whose liberality was never checked, and whose confidence was never weakened by slender means of subsistence? Where is the man, who with increasing demands from a numerous offfpring never with anxiety asked, “ what shall they eat, “and what shall they drink, and wherewithal shall
they be clothed ?” “He knoweth our frame, and “ remembereth that we are duft:" He Itoops to our weaknesses; and faves us the pain and shame of telling him our unworthy fears, by giving us promises which effectually provide against them.
“ Your heavenly “Father knoweth that ye have need of all these “things.” “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and “ his righteousness, and all these things shall be addeď “unto you.”
“No good thing will he withhold “ from them that walk uprightly." Let us take three views of this extensive promise.
First, Behold in it the grandeur of his possessions. He who engages to withhold no good thing, must have all good things at his disposal. . And, lo!“ He is able “ to do for us exceeding abundantly, above all that we 66. ask or think.” “ Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, “and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and “the majesty ; for all that is in the heaven and in the “ earth is thine ; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and " thou art exalted as Head above all. Both riches “ and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; " and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give
strength unto all.” « The silver and the gold are “ thine.” “Every beast of the forest is mine, and the
cattle upon a thousand hills.” “ The earth is the “ Lord's and the fullness thereof, the world, and they
" that dwell therein.” And what is this lower world? An inconsiderable province of his empire—“Lift up
your eyes on high, and behold, who hath created “ these things; that bringeth out their host by num. “ber: he calleth them all by names, by the greatness “ of his might, for that he is strong in power, not one “ failing." His dominion is universal ; lvis resources boundless ; his possessions infinite. Can he be poor, whose Father is so rich?
Secondly, Behold in this promise the wonders of his liberality. All earthly benefactors fhrink from a comparison with him. He acts by no ordinary rule of bounty, by no human standard of beneficence ; “ as “the heavens are higher than the earth, so are his 46 ways higher than your ways, and his thoughts than
your thoughts.” “O how GREAT is the goodness, " which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee, “ which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee “ before the sons of men !” “The same Lord over all “is Rich unto all that call upon him.” “My God “shall supply ALL your need, according to his riches “ in glory by Christ Jesus"-"NO good thing will he
Thirdly, Behold in this promise the wisdom of His dispensations. He has qualified his engagement, and regulated our hope, by the GOODNESS of the things proposed. Instead of regretting this condition, the christian rejoices in it; it fecures his happiness. Had God engaged to indulge him in all these things, whether they were good for him or evil, it would have been a threatening, not a promise. He now sees the providence of God choosing his inheritance for him, man