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my inheritance runs into eternity, and my enjoyment of it has no period.
My treasures are secure against all the invasions and plunder of enemies, against all the rage of the winds, and waves, and fire; against all the confusions of the world, against all the overwhelming changes of time and nature; even against death itself, and the last conflagration. These lower heavens may be dissolved, the elements may melt with fervent heat, and the earth, and the works thereof, with all the fields, and the palaces, and the treasures of it, may be burned up, but my inheritance stands ever secure, for God himself, who is the original Creator and Possessor of all things, has secured life ·and happiness to me in his covenant: He has secured a possession of every thing that can be necessary to my happiness, or to my eternal life.
« O that I were taught to enjoy these blessings daily; and to observe the daily accessions that are made to my treasures, by all the new scenes of providence that are ever rising! May I be instructed to make a sanctified improvement of them all, and thus add something hourly to my best interest, to my everlasting hope! May life itself, with all the daily · comforts and crosses of it, minister to me some sacred meditations, some holy and heavenly thoughts! May a divine consecration come down on all my affairs and concerns in this present state ! and by a wise improvement of all those parcels of my inheritance, which my heavenly Father puts into my hands here on earth, may I be trained up and grow fitter daily for those brighter talents, those more glorious enjoyments, which he keeps in reserve for me when time shall be po more, Amen.
HYMN FOR SERMON XXXVII. 4 Christian's Treasure :- All things are yours, whether Paul, or
Apollos, or Cephas, &c.
HOW rast the treasures we possess ! The springing corn, the stately wood,
Aud shield us from ten thousand harms. And fill our souls with light divine.
O glorious portion of the saints ! Cephas is ours : he makes us feel Let faith suppress our sore complaints, The kindlings of celestial zeal:
And tune our hearts and longues to While sweet Apollos' charming voice
sing Gires us a taste of heav’aly joys.
Our bounceous God, our sovereigo King
The Christian's Treasure.
1 Cor.j. 21.—All things are yours. THERE is nothing that a wise man can wish for in order to make him happy, but the gospel proposes it to encourage the faith and practice of christians. What honour is there to be enjoyed among the sons of men, that is wont to gratify our ambition, but the gospel assures us of higher honours than this, when it makes us the sons of God? What pleasures are there to be tasted in the satisfaction of animal nature, but the gospel invites tis to more refined, and more lasting pleasures, which are to be derived from the love of God, and the company of our Saviour with all his saints ? What riches can be possessed or desired by the most covetous mind, but the gospel proposes a far more extensive, a more durable, and more useful treasure, when it tells us in the words of my text, all things are yours?
The former discourse has made it appear in what sense these tvords are to be understood : Not that we have a present posses. sion of all things, a power over then, or a civil right to seize and enjoy them; but the meaning is this, that so far as a christian can have any thing to do with the things of this world, or of another, things present or to come, they shall all be made to work together for his real good. It has been also proved in the second place, that this inheritance of the saints is incomparably richer, and more valuable than any thing which sinners can possess. I proceed now to the
Third general proposition, and that is, to enquire how christians come to be partakers of so fair and rich a treasure.
I. It is the kind and eternal purpose of God their Father, that it should be sp. Christians, God has created all things in the world of nature with this design, that you should derive some benefit froin them, as far as they can come within your reach or notice, your service or use: He appointed all things in the counsels of his providence, to bear some blessing for you. He has ordained all things in his kingdom of grace for your advantage : and there are unknown regions of light and glory which he has provided for you. His elect were ever nearest to his heart, next to the man Christ Jesus, next to his only begotten Son; for they were all chosen in him before the foundation of the world; Eph. i. 4. Whether creation or providence, whether nature, grace or glory, all things are for your sakes ; 2 Cor. iv. 15.
I would caution you again, that you are not to understand it in such an incredible sense, as though God made every particular creature in the upper and the lower worlds, only to give the possession of them to the saints, or that he manages all his providential kingdom, merely for the sake of his own people without any other view. No, this is stretching the words into an extent too large and unreasonable; for there are millions of creatures, millions of plants and animals in earth and sea, that are born, and grow, and live, and die again, which the saints of God never saw, nor know, nor shall know; nor can they receive any immediate benefit from them. But the meaning is this, that all things whatsoever the saints can or shall have to do with in this or other worlds, were intended to yield some profit to them, and especial. ly while they maintain their character as the children of Gud, and walk as becomes their dignity and their profession. In ali God's general counsels of creation, and providence, and grace, he kept his eye, as I may say, still upon his saints : He designed their good in ten thousand instances, in his great and glorious works, and resolved that nothing in all his kingdoms should interfere with their last and best interest.
Though what he has written down in the book of his decrees, is read only at large by his Son Christ Jesus, yet he has written out a sweet abstract of it in the book of his promises, that the saints on earth might read and know it; Rom. viii. 28. And we know that all things work together for good, to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. It was for their sakes the promises were written, that they might have not only a present relish of divine blessings, but a sweet foretaste of joys long to come. The blessings of the children of God were numbered up, and written down originally for them, in the book of God's everlasting counsels ; and in the book of his word has he copied out for them, the blessings of heaven from above, and of the deep from beneath ; the precious things brought forth by the sun, and under the influence of the moon; the chief things of the ancient mountains on earth, so far as is needful for them here, and the precious things of the everlasting hills of paradise hereafter,
Does the great Creator and Lord of all keep the wheels of nature in their settled courses ? It is for his people's good. The stars in their courses shall fight for Israel: Or does he countermand nature in any of its motions, and bid the sun stand still in Gibeon, and the moon in the valley of Ajalon? It is that the armies of his people may have long day-light, to subdue their enemies. Hail-stones and thunder shall break out of the clouds to destroy the Canaanites, when Israel is at war with them : But if Israel want bread in the wilderness, the clouds shall drop down manna, and give them bread from heaven. The Lord gave up Egypt with her armies to the waves of the Red-sea, for the ransom and redemption of his people : He gave Ethiopia and Seba to the sword for the safety of his servant Jacob; Is. xliii, 7. I have loved thee, O Israel, therefore I gave men for thee, and people for thy life. And it is no wonder that God has given all things to his children, since he has given himself to them, and told them, I am your God : It is no wonder he has bestowed all things upon them, since he has bestowed his Son upon them: Ilis own, his only Son, who is dearer to him than all the creation ; Rom. viii. 32. “ He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things ?"
II. The saints have an interest in all things, for Christ is made Lord over all things for his people's good; Eph. i. 22. * God hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to his church.” Thus the names of the saints are, as it were, inserted into that divine patent that exalts and constitutes Christ Lord of all.
And indeed, Christ has not only a right to all things by the mere donation of the Father, but it may be said, he has purchased all things for his own honour, and his people's good. " Because he was obedient unto death, therefore God has so highly exalted him ;" Phil. ii. 8. “ and made him Lord of the dead and the living;” Rom. xiv. 9. And perhaps it is in this sense, that the inheritance of the saints may be called “the purchased possession;" Eph. i. 14. Now, christians, since all the affairs of nature, grace, and glory, are put into the hands of such a friend in trust for you, that they may be managed and employed for your advantage, it is as well, nay, it is much better than if all things were at present in your possession, that is, under your present state of weakness and folly; for his wisdom and goodness shall govern all for your truest interest.
Ye are Christ's, so the apostle expresses it in the verse next to my text; And Christ, who has all in his hands, will take care of you who are his own.
“ Christ is made heir of all things ;" Heb. i. 2. And if ye belong to Christ, then are ye heirs of God, and joint heirs of Christ; Rom. viii. 17. And the express promise of the Father confirms it, that all things are yours ; Rev. xxi. 7. “He that overcometh shall inherit all things, and I will be his God, and he shall be my son;" 1 Cor. xii. 27. “ Ye are the members of the body, and Christ is the head.” Now the members must in their measure become sharers of what the head possesses. In your proportion, o christians, you shall have communion with Christ your Lord, in his royalties and his wide dominion : for he hath promised that “ye shall sit down on bis throne, when ye have overcome your enemies, even as he overcame, and is set down on the throne with his father ;" Rev. iii. 21. Ye are one with Christ, and therefore in your measure, o believers, and according to your capacity, ye shall possess and enjoy all things which he possesses, so far as is requisite for your benefit in this world, and your truest happiness for ever.
III, The saints are actually invested with this privilege, by believing on the Son of God, by accepting the covenant of his grace, by receiving Christ Jesus the Saviour, according to the appointed methods of the gospel. When a poor, destitute, guilty, and perishing creature is made willing by divine grace, to give up himself to Christ as his Saviour and his Lord, he is divested of his guilt, he is clothed with the robes of salvation, he is translated out of a state of sin, poverty, and wretchedness, into a state of rich grace, and becomes a child of God, and an heir of all things. A living faith, which has all the springs of holiness in it, is ordained to carry in it all the springs of treasure and felicity. This unites the soul to Christ, this gives a humble claim to all the blessings laid up in the eternal decrees and purposes of God; blessings purchased by the blood of his Son Jesus; blessings promised in the word of the gospel, wherein all things are given for a possession to the children of the Most High.
IV. All things may be said to belong to the saints, or shall turn to their advantage, because the blessed Spirit is given them, to teach them to improve all things for their own benefit; 1 Cor. ii. 12. We have received—the Spirit, which is of God, that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God: And that not only that christians might know what their treasures are, but learn how to make a right use of them too. They are taught by the Holy Spirit, to receive the common blessings of nature from the hands of God, as a Father and a Friend, and a God in covenant : And they rejoice in them as such, with humble thankfulness; they are instructed to derive useful meditations from the sun, moon, and stars; and to read the wisdom, the power, and the glory of their Creator, and their Father there, and to rejoice in his goodness. The peaceful state of kingdoms, or battles, wars and earthquakes, and the convulsion of nations, are all made useful lessons to a child of God; and he gains something from all of them, by the teachings of the blessed Spirit.