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name alone is called, “ I am.” What do thine eyes see, or thine heart conceive desirable, which is not there to be had ? Sin, indeed, there is none; but durst thou call that good? Worldly delights there are none; for they are good but for the present necessity, and please but the brutish senses. Brethren, do you fear losing or parting with any thing you now enjoy ? What! Do you fear you shall want when you come to heaven? Shall you want the drops when you have the ocean; or the light of the candle, when you have the sun : or the shallow creature, when you have the perfect Creator? “ Cast thy bread upon the waters, and after many days thou shalt find it.” (Eccles. xi. 1.) Lay abroad thy tears, thy prayers, pains, boldly, and unweariedly : as God is true, thou dost but set them to usury, and shalt receive a hundredfold. (Matt. xix. 29.) Spare not, man, for state, for honour, for labour. If heaven do not make amends for all, God hath deceived us; which who dare once imagine. Cast away friends, houses, lands, life, if he bid thee : leap into the sea, as Peter, (Matt. viii. 35,) if he command thee: lose thy life, and thou shalt save it everlastingly; when those that saved theirs, shall lose them everlastingly. Venture all, man, upon God's word and promise. There is a day of rest coming which will fully pay for all. All the pence and the farthings thou expendest for him, are contained, with infinite advantage, in the massy gold and jewels of thy crown. When Alexander had given away his treasure, and they asked him where it was, he pointed to the poor, and said, “In scriniis,” In my chests. And when he went upon a hopeful expedition, he gave away his gold; and when he was asked what he kept for himself, he answers, “ Spem majorum et meliorum,” The hope of greater and better things. How much more boldly may we lay out all, and point to heaven, and say, it is in scriniis, in our everlasting treasure; and take that hope of greater and better things, instead of all. Nay, lose thyself for God, and renounce thyself, and thou shalt at that day find thyself again in hin. Give him thyself, and he will receive thee upon the same terms as Socrates did his scholar, Æschines; who gave himself to his master, because he had nothing else, “Accipio, sed ea lege ut te tibi meliorem reddam quam accepi :” that he may return thee to thyself better than he received thee. So, then, this rest is the good
Y Æschines pauper Socratis auditur : nihil, inquit, dignum te inveni quod dare tibi possim : et hoc modo pauperem me esse sentio. Itaque dono tibi, quod unum habeo, meipsum. Hoc munus rogo, qualecunque est, buni consu
which containeth all other good in it. And thus you see, according to the rules of reason, the transcendent excellency of the saints' glory in the general. We shall next mention the particular excellencies,
The Excellencies of our Rest.
Yet let us draw a little nearer, and see more immediately from the pure fountain of the Scriptures, what further excellencies this rest affordeth. And the Lord hide us in the clefts of the rock, and cover us with the hands of indulgent grace, while we approach to take this view. And the Lord grant we may put off from our feet the shoes of irreverence and fleshly conceivings, while we stand upon this holy ground,
Sect. I, And first, it is a most singular honour and ornament, in the style of the saint's rest, to be called the purchased possession; that it is the fruit of the blood of the Son of God; yea, the chief fruit; yea, the end and perfection of all the fruits and efficacy of that blood. Surely, love is the most precious ingredient in the whole composition; and of all the flowers that grew in the garden of love, can there be brought one more sweet and beautiful to the garland, than this blood ? Greater love than this there is not; to lay down the life of the lover, And to have this our Redeemer ever before our eyes, and the liveliest sense and freshest remembrance of that dying, bleeding love still upon our souls ! O, how will it fill our souls with per. petual ravishments, to think, that in the streams of this blood we have swum through the violence of the world, the snares of Satan, the seducements of flesh, the curse of the law, the wrath of an offended God, the accusations of a guilty conscience, and the vexing doubts and fears of an unbelieving heart, and are passed through all, and are arrived safely at the breast of God! Now we are stupified with vile and senseless hearts, that can hear all the story of this bloody love, and read all the dolors and sufferings of love, and hear all his sad complaints, and all with dulness, and unaffected. He cries to us, “ Behold las cogitesque alios cum multum tibi dederint, plus sibi reliquisse. Cui Socrates; Quid ni tu, inquit, mihi magnum munus dederis, nisi forte parvo te æstimas ? Habeo itaque curæ, ut te meliorem tibi reddam quam accepi. Şenec. de Benef. 1. 1. c. viii. p. 385.
and see ; is it nothing to you, 0, all ye that pass by? Is there any sorrow like unto my sorrow?” (Lam. i. 12.) And we will scarce hear or regard the dolorous voice, nor scarce turn aside to view the wounds of him who turned aside, and took us up to heal our wounds at this so dear a rate. But, oh! then our perfected souls will feel as well as hear, and, with feeling apprehensions, flame again in love for love. Now we set his picture, wounded and dying, before our eyes, but can get it no nearer our hearts than if we believed nothing of what we read; but, then, when the obstructions between the eye and the understanding are taken away, and the passage opened between the head and the heart, surely our eyes will everlastingly affect our heart, And while we view, with one eye, our slain, revived Lord,
z If Christ came to bear the curse which was against us, how should he be made a curse but by taking that death which the curse lay in? And if the death of our Lord was the redemption of all men, and by bis death the middle wall of partition was broken down, and the gentiles called, huw should he invite us to himself if he were not crucified ? for it is only on the cross that men die with their arms stretched out.-Athanas. lib. de Incarn. Vcrbi. Hæc enim cum sit principalis et sumnia hominis fælicitas secundum animam, non poterat conferri pisi per principale et summum humanæ redemptionis, et pro peccatis nostris satisfactionis principium sacrificium, viz. Messiæ.--Jos. De Voisin de Lege Divina, c. 8. p. 97. Lege et eundem Voisin Theolog. Judæor, I. 2. c. 5. pp. 293, 294. Quid mirum si caput pro membris accepit curationem, quam tamen in seipso non habuit necessariam ? Nonne et in membris nostris sæpe pro upius infirmitate alteri adhibetur curatio ? Dolet caput et in brachio fit coctura; dolent renes, et fit in tibia ; ita hodie pro totius corporis putredine, cauterium quoddam infixum est in capite Christi.Bern. Serm. 30. de Tempore. Facessat ergo mæror, tristitia fugiat; eliininetur dolor; rancor abscedat ut liceat vacare et videre cum Moysi visionem hanc grandem; qualiter Deus in ventre virginis concipiatur, decipiatur diabolus, recipiatur perditum, indebitum accipiatur! Totum me trahit affectio, sed oratio deficit; dives cogitatio vocis paupertate confunditur.- Bern. Serm. 24, in Die Natal. Quid æque mentem cogitantis impipguat? Nomen Jesu mel in ore, in aure melos, in corde jubilæus. Omvis cibus qui non conditur hoc sale infatuatus est. Scriptura quæ non fuerit interlita oleo tantæ devotionis, est iusipida.- Bern. Serm. 23. Non capio me præ lætitia, quia illa majestas paturam suam naturæ meæ carnis et sanguinis sublevat; et me miserum in divitias gloriæ suæ, non ad horam, sed in sempiternum includit ; fit frater meus dominus meus; et timorem domini fratris vincit affectus. Domine Jesu Christe, libenter audio te regnantem in cælis ; libeutius nascentem in terris; libentissime crucem, clavos et lanceam sustineutem. Hæc siquidem effusio rapit affectum meum ; et istorum memoria incalescit cor meum.- Bern. Serm. 23. in die Natal. For all the great seeming difference among us about the grace of Christ, it is fully agreed between the Calvinists and Lutherans, saith Hottonus, Ne guttulam quidem salutis extra Dei gratiam in solo Christo Mediatore quærendam esse, &c. Quod in ipso, per et propter ipsum solum, non propter merita sua, pondus æternæ gloriæ sint recepturi, cum Deus in ipsis non eorum merita, sed sua dona coronaturus sit.---Holtonus de Toler. Christian. pp. 59, 60.
and with the other eye, our lost, recovered souls, and transcendent glory, these views will eternally pierce us, and warm our very souls. And those eyes, through which folly and lust have so often stolen into our hearts, shall now be the casements to let in the love of our dearest Lord for ever. Now, though we should, as some do, travel to Jerusalem, and view the Mount of Olives, where he prayed and wept, and see that dolorous way by which he bare his cross, and entered the temple of the holy grave; yea, if we should, with Peter, have stooped down and seen the place where he lay, and beheld his relicts; yet these bolted doors of sin and flesh would have kept out the feeling of all that love. But, oh! that is the joy! We shall then leave these hearts of stone and rock behind us, and the sin that here so close besets us, and the sottish unkindness that followed us so long, shall not be able to follow us into that glory. But we shall behold, as it were, the wounds of love with eyes and hearts of love for ever. Suppose, a little to help our apprehensions, that a saint, who had partaken of the joys of heaven, hath been translated from as long an abode in hell, and after the experience of such a change, should have stood with Mary and the rest, by the cross of Christ, and have seen the blood, and heard the groans of his Redeemer. What, think you, would love have stirred in his breast or no ? Would the voice of his dying Lord have melted his heart or no ? O, that I were sensible of what I speak! With what astonishing apprehensions, then, will redeemed saints everlastingly behold their blessed Redeemer! I will not meddle with their vain, audacious question, who must needs know, whether the glorified body of Christ do yet retain either the wounds or scars. But this is most certain, that the memory of it will be as fresh, and the impressions of love as deep, and its working as strong, as if his wounds were still in our eyes, and his complaints still in our ears, and his blood still streaming afresh. Now his heart is open to us, and ours shut to him: but when his heart shall be open, and our hearts open, oh! the blessed congress that there will then be! What a passionate meeting was there between our new-risen Lord and the first sinful, silly woman that he appears to! How doth love struggle for expressions, and the straitened fire, shut up in the breast, strive to break forth ! (John xx. 16; Matt. xxviii. 9.) “Mary!” saith Christ: “Master!” saith Mary: and presently she clasps about his feet, having her heart as near to his heart as her hands were to his feet. What a meeting of love then, there
pressieforth ? (3.01. aith Ma
will be, between the new glorified saint and the glorious Redeeiner ! But I am here at a loss, my apprehensions fail me, and fall too short; only this, I know, it will be the singular praise of our inheritance, that it was bought with the price of that blood; and the singular joy of the saints, to behold the purchaser and the price together with the possession. Neither will the views of the wounds of love renew our wounds of sorrow: he whose first words, after his resurrection, were to a great sinner: “Woman, why weepest thou ?” (John xx. 13 ;) knows how to raise love and joy by all those views, without raising any cloud of sorrow, or storm of tears at all. (2 Sam. xxiii. 16, 17.) He that made the sacramental commemoration of his death to be his church's feast, will surely make the real enjoyment of its blessed purchase to be marrow and fatness. And if it afforded joy to hear from his mouth, “This is my body which is given for you,” and “This is my blood which was shed for you ;” what joy will it afford to hear, “ This glory is the fruit of my body and my blood !” And what a merry feast will it be, when we shall drink of the fruit of the vine new with him in the kingdom of his Father, as the fruit of his own blood! David would not drink of the waters which he longed for, because they were the blood of those men who jeoparded their lives for them, and thought them fitter to offer to God, than to please him. But we shall value these waters more highly, and yet drink them the more sweetly, because they are the blood of Christ, not jeoparded only but shed for them. They will be the more sweet and dear to us, because they were so bitter and dear to him. If the buyer be judicious, we estimate things by the price they cost. If any thing we enjoy were purchased with the life of our dearest friend, how highly should we value it! nay, if a dying friend deliver but a token of his love, how carefully do we preserve it, and still remember him when we behold it, as if his own name were written on it! And will not then the death and blood of our Lord everlastingly sweeten
a Hanc gratiani Christus impertit pretio sanguinis, &c. Hanc sequamur omnes : hujus sacramento et signo censeamur. Hic nobis vitæ viam aperit: hic ad paradisum reduces facit: hic ad cælorum regna perducit : cum ipso semper vivimus, facti per ipsum filii Dei : cum ipso exultabimus semper ipsius cruore reparati. Erimus Christiani cum Christo simul gloriosi; de Deo Patre beati, de perpetua voluptate lætantes semper in conspectu Dei, et agentes Deo gratias semper. Neque enim poterit nisi lætus esse semper, et gratus, qui cum morti fuisset obnoxius, factus est de immortalitate securus. - Cypr. ad Demetrian. verbis ultimis.