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ever, sius and sorrows, and perplexities; farewel, temptations of the alluring, and the affrighting kind; neither the vanities, nor the terrors of this world, shall reach me any more; for I shall from this moment for ever dwell where my joy, my life is. All my springs are in God, and I shall be for ever with him.”—And when the morning of the resurrection dawns upon the world, and the day of judgment appears, the body of a christian shall be called out of the dust, and shall bid farewel for ever to death and darkness; to disease and pain, to all the fruits of sin, and all the effects of the curse. Christ, who is the resurrection and the lite, stands up a complete conqueror over all the powers of the grave : He bids the sacred dust, arise and live; the dust obeys, and revives; the whole saint appears exulting in life; the date of his immortality then begins, and his life shall run on to everlasting ages.
Methinks such lively views of death should incline us rather to desire to depart from the body, that we may dwell with Christ. Death is but a flight of the soul where its divine life is. Why should we make it a matter of fear thien, to be absent from the body, if we are immediately present with the Lord! Methinks, under the influence of such meditations of the resurrection, faith should breathe, and long for the last appearance of Christ, and rejoice in the language of holy Job : I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth ; Job xix. 25. A christian should send his hopes and his wishes forward to meet the chariot-wheels of our Lord Jesus the Judge ; for the day of his appearance is but the display of our life, and the perfection of our blessedness. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall we also appear with him in glory; Col. iii. 4. My thoughts kindle at the sound of that blessed promise, and I long to let contemplation loose on a theme so divinely glorious. If ever the pomp of language be indulged, and the magnificence of words, it must be to display this bright solemnity, this illustrious appearance, which outshines all the pomp of words, and the utmost magnificence of language. Come, my friends, let us meditate the sacred conformity of the saints to Christ, first, in their Hidden, and then in their glorious life; as he was on earth, so are they ; both hated of the world, both unknown in it. The disciples must be trained up for public honours, as their Master was, in this hideous and howling wilderness, in caves of darkress, or rather in a den of savages. They must follow the Captain of their salvation through a thousand dangers and sufferings; and they shall receive their crown too, and a glory like that which arrays their divine Leader.
O may I never think it hard to trace the footsteps of my Lord, though it be in a miry, or a thorny way! May I never repine at poverty and meanness of circumstance in my present pilgrimage! nor think it strange if the world scorn and abuse me, or if Satan, the foul spirit, should assault and buffet me sorely! Dare I hope to appear in glory, when Christ, who is my life appears; and can I not bear to attend him in sufferings and shame? Am I better than my blessed Lord ? What poor attendants had the Son of God, at his first entrance into our world! How mean was every thing that belonged to him on -earth! What vile and despicable raiment, unworthy of the Prince of glory! What coarse provision, and sorry furniture, to entertain incarnate godhead! And how impious was the treatment he found among men, and impudent temptations from the same foul spirit! He had snares, sorrows, and temptations, watching all around him: The sorrows of death compassed him about, and the powers of darkness crouded him with their envious assaults; earth and hell were at once engaged against him; they hung him bleeding on a cursed and infamous tree, listed on high to be made a more public gazing-stock, and an object of wider scorn! Blessed Saviour ! how divine was thy patience to endure all these indignities, and not call for thy Father's legions, nor thy own thunder.
But, this was the hour of thy appointed combat, the place of thy voluntary obscurity, and the season of thy hidden life; and thy saints must bear thy resemblance in both worlds. How unspeakable were thy past sorrows! and thy present glories all unspeakable! How iufinitely different were these dark and mournful scenes, from the joys and honours i hou hast purchased by those very sufferings ! Sacred honours and joys without alloy, which thou art now possessed of as their great forerunner, and hast made ready for thy subjects in thy own kingdom! What robes of light shall array thy followers in that day; What bright planet, or brighter star, shall be the place of thy dwelling? or shall all those shining worlds be mansions of various residence, as thou shalt lead thy saints successively through the vast and mumerous provinces of thy boundless dominion? Sorrow, sin, and temptation, shall be named no more, unless to triumph over them in immortal songs. The fairest spirits of light, in their own heavenly forms, shall be the companions and attendants of the children of God. Jesus, the Lord of glory, is their king and head, the leader of their triumph, and the pattern of their ex. altation. Jesus shall appear in his meridian lustre, as the Sun of Righteousness in the noon of heaven ; yet the beams of his influence shall be gentle as the morning-star. There needs no other sun in that upper world; the Lamb is the light thereof. Jesus, the ornament of paradise, and the delight of God, shall be the eternal and beatific object of their senses, and their souls; they must be where he is, to behold his glory.
The blessed God shall dwell among them, and lay out upon them the riches of his own all-sufficiency, riches of wisdom grace, and power, all-suprising, and all-infinite. Divine power shall then reveal all the glory that has been laid up for them, of old, in the purposes of God, or in the promises of the book of life. But it was fit it should be hidden there, while the time of their probation lasted ; it was fit they should live by faith, and under some degrees of darkness, while the ages of sin and temptation were rolling away: It was divinely proper that eternal life should not break forth, nor the splejdours of the third heaven be made too conspicuous, till the six thousand years of mortality and death had finished their revolutions round the lower skies, and had answered the scheme of divine counsel and judgment, on a world where sin had entered.
But life and heaven must not be hid for ever. The almighty word, in that day, shall bid the ancient decree bring forth, and the promise unfold itself in public light. What new worlds of unseen felicity! what scenes of delight, and celestial blessings, never yet revealed to the race of Adam! When the rivers of pleasure, that had run under ground from the earth's foundation, shall break up in immortal fountains.
Mercy and truth shall lavish out upon men with an unsparing hand all those treasures of life which were hid in God, and in the gospel for them. The All-wise shall please himself in making so noble creatures, out of so mean materials, dust and ashes. Glorified saints are master-pieces of divine skill; and the blessed original, or first exemplar of them, the man Jesus; is the perfection of the contrivance of God; here he has abounded in all wisdom and prudence. Then the inhabitants of upper worlds shall see an illustrious and holy creation, rising out of the ruins of this wretched globe, involved all in guilt, and weltering in penal fire. When this scene opens, what sounding acclamations shall echo from world to world, and new universal honours be paid to Divine wisdom! The morning-stars shall sing together again, and those holy armies shout for joy. The grace of God descending to earth, in days past, had in some measure prepared his children for glory: But in that day he shall enlarge their capacities, both of sense and of mind, to an inconceivable extent, and shall fill the powers of their glorified nature with the fruits of his love, new and old.
And what if the limits of our capacity shall be for ever stretching themselves on all sides, and for ever drinking in larger measures of glory; What an astonishing state of ever-growing pleasure! What an eternal advance of our heaven! The godhead is an infinite ocean of life and blessedness, and finite vessels may be for ever swelling, and for ever filling in that sea of all
sufficiency. There must be no tiresome satiety in that everlasting entertainment. God shall create the joys of his saints ever fresh: He shall throw open his endless stores of blessing, unknown even to the first rank of angels; and feast the song and daughters of men with pleasures a-kin to those which were prepared for the Son of God. For verily he took not upon him the nature of angels, but the likeness of sinful flesh: And when he shall appear the second time without sin to our salvation, we shall then be made like him, for we shall see him as he is. Amen.
HYMN FOR SERMONS IX. and X
The Hidden Life of a Christian.
HAPPY soul, that lives on high, His pleasures rise from thiogs udseen,
While men lie grovelling here ! Beyond this world and time, His hopes are fix'd above the sky, Where neither eyes nor ears have been, And faith for bids bis fear.
Nor thoughts of mortals climb. His conscience knows no secret stings; He wants no pomp, nor royal throne While grace and joy combine
To raise his figure here ; To form a life, whose holy springs Content, and pleased to live unknown. Are hidden and divine.
Till Cbrist his life appear. He waits in secret on his God;
He looks to heaven's eternal bills, His God in secret sees:
To meet that glorious day ; Let earth be all in arms abroad, Dear Lord, how slow thy chariot-wheels He dwells in heavenly peace,
How long is thy delay !
Nearness to God the Felicity of Creatures.
Psalm LV, 4.-Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to ap
proach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts.
THE FIRST PART.
was an elegant address that the queen of Sheba made to Solomon, when she had surveyed the magnificence of his court, and heard his wisdom; “ Happy are thy men, and happy are these thy servants, who stand continually before thee !” 1 Kings X. 8. And there was much truth and honour in her speech. But the harp of David strikes a diviner note ; Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, O God, that he may approach unto thee, and dwell in thy courts, in the holy sanctuary.
Whether, in these words, the Psalmist blesses those levites and priests, whose duty it was to attend the ark, and to dwelt pear the tabernacle, or whether he pronounces blessedness on every man of Israel, whose habitation nigh the ark gave him frequent opportunities to attend at that solemn worship, is not yery necessary to determine.
Either of these may be called dwelling in the courts of God. But it is most probable, that the sacred writer designs the second sense of the word, and that he includes himself in the desire or possession of this blessedness, though he was neither a priest nor a levite; for he uses the same phrase in several places, and applies it to himself; Ps. xxvii. 4. One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. Ps. xxii. 6.— I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. By which he intimates, that he would seek the most frequent opportunities of approaching God in public worship.
It is sufficient to my present purpose, that the holy Psalmist makes the blessedness of man to depend upon his near approaches to God.
Here we should remember that God is necessarily near to all his creatures, by his infinite knowledge, by his preserving and governing power: He is not far from every one of us: for in him we live, and more, and have our being ; Acts xvii. 27, 28. But the privilege which David speaks of in my text, is a peculiar approach of a creature to God, which is a fruit of divine choice