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SERMON VI.

The Friendship between Jesus Christ and Believers.

Cant. v. 16. This is my beloved, and this is my friend.

I PROCEED to mention other particulars relating to Jesus Christ, considered in the character of the believer’s friend, and the distinguished privileges and happiness of this friendship.

12. Jesus Christ is an unchangeably faithful and everlasting friend. Faithfulness is essential to the character of a friend: without this there can be no safety in intimacy with and confidence in him. Through unfaithfulness and inconstancy professed friends often betray one another; and many friendships are very short-lived, and dissolve and turn into enmity and discord. But Christ is a most faithful, unchangeable friend. He never will forsake those who give themselves up to this friendship; but will do all for them, and be all to them, that they trust in him for, or can expect from him, in the character of a most able and kind friend; yea, he will always outdo all their expectations and wishes. Moreover, he will take effectual care to secure and perpetuate their love and friendship to him; so that the friendship on their parts shall never cease after it is once begun. We have great need of such a friend as this: yea, such a friend is absolutely necessary for us in this state of weakness, darkness and sin, and where we are surrounded with innumerable, implacable enemies to Christ and to us; who are potent and subtle, and are continually doing their utmost to prevent, interrupt and destroy this friendship. If Christ was not security for us in this respect; if he was not able, and had not undertaken, to 98 prevent our falling away from this union and friendship; alas I how soon should we break our most solemn engagements and vows, violate the most sacred obligations, and ties of the dearest friendship, and turn enemies to the greatest and best of friends! There is no trust to be put in any man with respect to this. But in him there is safety; he has engaged that they who once choose him as their Almighty and best friend, shall persevere in their love to him. And he is faithful who has promised. With regard to this, the eternal God and Redeemer is their refuge, and underneath every faint are the everlasting arms of this Almighty and most faithful friend and Saviour. This is he who was Peter’s friend, and prayed that his faith and love might not fail in the fore trial and dangerous conflict he had to go through. And it was wholly owing to his care and faithfulness, that Peter did not wholly fall from his friendship to Christ; but his trial and fall were the occasion of the increase of his love to his best, most faithful and dearest friend, so that it soon rose to such an ardent flame, that he was able with the greatest confidence to say, “Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.” Such a friend have all who love our Lord Jesus Christ; in sincerity; for whom he once loves, he always loves to the end. How safe and secure then do they feel themselves in this love and friendship, that it shall certainly continue and flourish to eternity, who are able to say. This is my beloved, and this is my friend!

13. Christ is a most meek, tender, compassionate, forgiving friend.

If he did not excel in these things to an infinite degree, he could not be our friend. We have injured him more than any other person in the universe; and have done more to affront him, and provoke him to anger, than ever was done to any other. And even his friends have comparatively but a very small degree of love and friendship to him; it is a mere nothing, compared to, what they ought to have, and he is most worthy of. They are guilty of the most amazing, stupidity, 99 and base ingratitude, and in many ways and respects act a most foolish, wicked and unfriendly part towards him, by which they are violating the most sacred laws of friendship, and the highest imaginable obligations. No friend but this in the universe would bear such treatment, and yet continue his love and friendship. And was he not meek, tender, compassionate and long suffering beyond any parallel, he would so resent such treatment and horrid abuse of him as to withdraw his friendship, and renounce them forever. But as a tender father pitieth his children, so he pitieth his friends; he is long-suffering, abundant in goodness and tender mercy, and ready to forgive all their folly, and wicked abuse of his love. He will forgive them, not seven times only, but seventy times seven; yea, without any bounds or limits. His loving kindness he will not utterly take from them, nor suffer his faithfulness to fail. We have a striking instance of this in his treatment of his friends when he was on earth. They remained in a great degree ignorant and unteachable under his constant instructions. They were inattentive, stupid, perverse and unbelieving, in a manner and degree that was very criminal and provoking. Yet he bore with them, and forgave them, and continued his love and kindness to them. He continued to treat them with the greatest tenderness and love. He constantly attended to their interest, and laboured for their good, and his love and gentleness made them great. in the last hours of his life, when the dreadful scene of his sufferings for his people was just before him, he, as a most tender friend, accommodated himself to their weakness; he attended to their case, their sorrow and trouble touched his heart, and he pitied them? and set himself to instruct and comfort them, in the most kind and tender manner. Such an astonishingly kind, tender and forgiving friend had they. And with transports of joy may every one of his true disciples say. This is my beloved, and this is my friend.

14. Christ is the most wise, kind and able physician, to heal and cure all his friends of the disorders and diseases 100that attend them. Such a friend they want, and ho other could answer the end of a friend to them but such an one. He finds them in a most dreadful condition, even dead in trespasses and sins. They are undone and slain, having died a most shockingly dreadful and truly accursed death. Their souls are bruised and mangled in the most horrible manner, and torn all to pieces, as it were, limb from limb. And the devil, who has had a great hand in the horrible slaughter, and has the power of death, sits brooding over and watching his prey. In this respect they may be compared to a dead corpse of one who has been most cruelly broken on the rack, every joint being dislocated, and each bone broken to pieces, and all the flesh terribly bruised, and torn from the bones and sinews. In this state Christ finds them. He dispossesses the devil, and breathes into them a degree of life, and healing influence. He finds them thus cast out as in the open field, and speaks the sovereign, omnipotent word, and bids them live: and that time is a time of love. The soul in the exercise of this new life cleaves to Christ as its healer and husband, and becomes his in a covenant of love and friendship which never can be broken. Christ brings them into his house, and his banner over them is love. He binds up their wounds, pouring in oil and wine; and washes away their blood from them. And now do they first begin to have a degree of sensibility, and to feel their dreadful disorders, their wounds, bruises, and putrefying sores. They who are wholly dead in trespasses and sins, and under the dominion of enmity against God and the Redeemer, are in this respect like the dead corpse: whatever dreadful wounds and disorders, are upon them, they are quite insensible of the matter. But as soon as a degree of life and restoration takes place, there is a proportionable degree of sensibility: they feel their disorders and wounds, and the need they stand in of healing; and that they want a physician infinitely distinguished from any mere creature in wisdom, power and goodness; who has a remedy which no other has or can have. They see Christ to be such a physician. 101 They immediately say, “There is balm in Gilead, there is a physician there, exactly suited to my case.” And into his hand they commit their disordered souls, despairing of a cure, unless wrought by his most skilful, tender hand. Christ, as their most faithful and kind friend, undertakes for them. He faithfully and constantly attends to their case; searches every wound to the bottom, and applies the best remedy, and that in the wisest manner, and in the best and most seasonable time; so that the cure in the end may be most: complete and perfect, not leaving spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, and attended with the most advantageous consequences. And he will never leave them till he has completed it, He could indeed cure them perfectly, all at once, at a word’s speaking, as he did many bodily diseases when he was on earth, and not go into such a long process, and continued course of applications, under which the patient is often put to much pain, and seems to himself to grow worse, rather than better, and sometimes is ready to despair of a cure, and say, “All these things are against me.” But he takes the latter and not the former method, because that, on the whole, it is far the wisest and best; the cure is much more perfect and glorious in the end, and attended with consequences unspeakably more happy for the subjects of it. How happy then are the friends of Christ in this respect! They are connected with, and united to, a friend, who is a most skilful and kind physician, and has furnished himself with every remedy that is needed, to heal and cure them, under their singular, and otherwise desperate, disorders. And he is infinitely engaged in the best manner to effect the most complete, happy and glorious cure, and that without money and without price. He is the Lord, that bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wound. O Christian, This is thy beloved, and this is thy friend!

15. Christ is a friend who is infinitely happy, is independent and self sufficient, and has the highest honours in the universe put upon him.

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This is an unspeakable advantage in this friendship, and renders it immensely more sweet and happy to the friends of Christ than it could otherwise be. If our friend is in a state of calamity and suffering, in any respect and degree, or is exposed to calamity and evil, it of course becomes our calamity, and we necessarily share in the evil with him, in a degree proportionable to our benevolence and friendship. This renders friendship very unhappy in many instances in this world, because the beloved person is very unhappy. For true benevolence to our friend is crossed by every degree of evil that he suffers, and desires he may have all the honour and happiness he is capable of; and therefore cannot be perfectly satisfied and pleased with any thing short of this. And if our friend is as much honoured and as happy as we can imagine and desire, this will give us an enjoyment, and render the friendship sweet and happy, in proportion to the degree to which it rises and is exercised. For, as we necessarily dare in the evil that our friend suffers, so we do in his happiness. There is therefore the best foundation laid for happiness. in this friendship, that in the nature of things can be, whereby our love and benevolence to Christ is gratified, and pleased to the highest possible degree.

Christ has indeed been subjected to a state of calamity and suffering; he has suffered disgrace and pain to the most amazing degree, and that for his friends: but he has, on the whole, lost nothing by it. If he had, this would have been an undesirable circumstance, which could not possibly be removed, but must have been an alloy to this friendship, and a source of uneasiness to the friends of Christ, forever. For it will necessarily give pain to any one who has entered into true friendship with another, to have his friend a loser in any respect, especially to have him in the least degree a loser on his account. He cannot bear to think of being an injury or disadvantage to his friend in any reaped, and that, on the whole, he should be a loser by him; and it is as impossible to reconcile true love and 103 friendship to this, as to unite the opposite parts of a contradiction. But what Christ has suffered for his people is, in this respect, no disadvantage to this friendship; for, as has been just now observed, he has on the whole lost nothing by it, but has been an infinite gainer. His humiliation and sufferings, even unto death, have been the occasion of his greater happiness, and high exaltation. By this means, and in this way, he has been anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows, and been made to drink of the river of God’s pleasures: and this has been the occasion of his being made king of Zion, and raised to the throne of the universe, invested with all power in heaven and on earth, as the sole ruler in God’s moral kingdom, and final judge of all. Because he thus humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross, therefore God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name. He is richly rewarded, more than ten thousand fold, for all he expended and suffered for the redemption of his people, and their redemption and salvation is the occasion of a high degree of happiness and honour, which he could have obtained no other way.

This does not indeed lessen their obligations to him, for what he has done and suffered for them, in the least imaginable degree; for they are every way as great as if he had been an infinite loser by the means. But this is suited to gratify and please his benevolent friends to the highest degree, and add a sweetness and joy to their friendship, inexpressible. The language of their friendly, benevolent hearts is, “Let him be most blessed forever: let him be exalted in the glory of his salvation, and have all the honours of the universe given to him.” And when they see him exalted, honoured and blessed, as heir of the whole universe, and independent Lord and possessor of all things; and that this is the consequence and reward of what he has done for the redemption of sinners, with what unbounded joy must their hearts expand! while, with the most sweet, ineffable delight, they 104 join their hearty Amen, and say, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, was dead and is alive, and liveth forever more, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. To him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” This circumstance greatly adds to the happiness of this friendship, and spreads ineffable sweetness through the soul of the true Christian, when he is able to say, “This is my beloved, and this is my friend.”

1 6. All that Christ requires of his friends is, to act the part of friends to him, and to maintain, cultivate and improve this friendship between him and them.

This greatly recommends him as a friend, and is a happy circumstance of this friendship between him and his people. His condescension, love and goodness to his friends, and the intimacy and unreserved familiarity to which he admits them, have been already particularly considered. He does not take state on himself so as in any degree to keep them at a distance; nor does he impose heavy burdens on them, and subject them to hard, slavish service, as the master does his servants, in order to their enjoying his favour and friendship. No; he docs not call them servants, nor in any respect treat them as such; but he calls them Friends, and treats them according to this most dear, soft and tender name. And all he expects and requires of them is, that they cleave to him as their friend, and as becomes his true friends, and in all respects aft up to this most endeared and exalted character. In this regard the law of Christ is nothing but a law of love and friendship, as nothing else is required; it is therefore called the perfect law of liberty. All that Christ requires of his friends is, that they return love for love; that they receive and cleave to him in all proper ways, as their Almighty, infinitely excellent, kind, bountiful and benevolent friend; that they constantly look to him, and trust in him, as such, for all they want; relying wholly on his friendship and goodness, and being heartily willing, with all thankfulness, delight and joy, to be wholly and infinitely indebted to him for all 105things, as being in themselves nothing but emptiness, insufficiency, wretchedness, guilt and deformity; heartily acquiescing in it that he should do the office of such a friend to them; that they heartily love, esteem, honour and rejoice in him, in this character; live a life of nearness and intimacy with him, and follow him wheresoever he goes; and do all those acts of love and kindness to him that become his friends, and by which they may properly express and discover their true and superlative love and friendship to him. Thus he tells his disciples that he required nothing of them but that in which they might express and evidence their friendship to him. “Ye are my friends,” says he, “if ye do whatsoever I command you.”

What a sweet and delightful work then are all the friends of Christ called to! viz. to love the most excellent, worthy, dear and kind friend, and cultivate the greatest intimacy and most sweet friendship with him. In one word, he only requires them to be happy in him, in the nearest and highest enjoyment of him as their friend, in the exercise and gratification of an inclination and affection, which gives the most ravishingly sweet and delightful enjoyment that in nature can be. Surely all the friends of Christ may say from their own experience, “His yoke is easy, and his burden light. His commandments are not grievous, but perfectly delightful; and in keeping them there is a great reward. The ways of wisdom are pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. We have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.” And now, O Christian, what does the Lord, thy all-sufficient friend and Redeemer, require of thee, but to say, with joy unspeakable and full of glory. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, and live answerable to such a high profession and character?

17. Another advantage and peculiar happiness of this friendship is, that the friends of Christ have just as much evidence that He is their friend, as they have that they are friends to him; and this evidence rises, and is clear, in proportion to the degree of exercise of love and friendship to him.

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It has been observed, that it is essential to true love and friendship for any one to desire to be the object of his love, and to have him his friend, on whom he has set his affections. And the more sincere and strong our friendly affection and love to another is, the more do we desire to be the objects of his love and friendship; and the greater uneasiness and pain will attend suspicions of his love to us. As it is the sweetest, happiest thing in the world, even the highest enjoyment we can imagine, to be beloved, especially by those for whom we have an high esteem, and a strong and most friendly affection; so, perhaps, nothing is more disagreeable, or will give a more sensible, cutting pain, than to find ourselves neglected and quite cast off by such. And this is eminently true in the case before us. True friendship to Christ does render it above all things desirable to him that exercises it, to be the object of Christ’s love and favour. And to be cast off by him, and be the object of his displeasure and wrath, is to such an one, above any thing else, undesirable and dreadful. In this case, above any other, “Love is strong as death, jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, even a most vehement flame.”

This has often proved a great unhappiness in human love and friendship, especially that which takes place between the sexes. Many a one has been most cruelly tortured and undone by this. They have had a vehement affection and love for another, while they have found themselves not beloved, but slighted and despised: this has proved to them an insupportable burden, spread darkness over all things under the sun, rendered them incapable of enjoying any thing, and made them weary of their own life; and has often put an end to it by a lingering, cruel death.

But the friends of Christ are in this respect most happy. They can no further doubt of his love to them, than they question their own love and friendship to him. If they love him, and are his true friends, he is certainly their friend. Yea, if they love him in sincerity, 107though in never so imperfect and low a degree, they are the objects of his love, and a friendship is begun between Christ and them which will continue forever. For this Christ has given his word to all his friends. He has said, “I love them that love me; and he that loveth me, I will love him, and will manifest myself unto him. And him that cometh to me, 1 will in no wise cast out.”

We want nothing then, in order to be assured that Christ loves us with a strong and everlasting love, and is our unchangeable friend, but to know that we love him: or, in other words, we may be certain that Christ loves us, so far as we have good evidence that we sincerely desire and prize his love and friendship. And our evidence of this will be in proportion to the degree of our love to him, or the strength and constancy of our affection and friendship. This is true in all instances of love and affection to any friend; the evidence that we do love them, and are their friends, will be in proportion to the degree and constancy of the exercise of our love and friendship to them, and the expression of it in all proper ways. This love always evidences itself, and is attended with a consciousness that it does exist in our hearts, in proportion to the strength and constancy of its exercise; and we may love a friend to such a degree, as to remove all doubt, yea, render us absolutely assured that we do love him.

So it is in this case; if we doubt whether we are true friends of Jesus Christ, it must be because we are not so, or are so in a very weak and low degree, and with great inconstancy, and there is much in our hearts and actions directly contrary to love and friendship. And as this love rises, and becomes more and more a constant, vigorous exercise and flame in the heart, the Christian will have higher evidence and greater confidence that he is a friend to Christ; and consequently that Christ is his friend. And nothing is wanting but a constant, vigorous exercise of this love, in order to a constant consciousness 108and prevailing assurance that this glorious person is our beloved, and consequently that he loves us, and is our friend.

Thus we see how happy this friendship is in this respect, by which it is distinguished from all other friendships whatsoever. Full provision is made for the gratification of love to Christ in all respects. In proportion as the Christian loves Christ, he enjoys him, and his love and friendship is gratified and pleased, in a sense and evidence of Christ’s love to him. So far as he prizes Christ’s love, and really desires to have him his friend, from true love to him, and has a sense and evidence that he does love him, just so far he has a sense and evidence that Christ actually is his friend, and does love him; so that this desire is gratified and answered, and turned into a degree of sweet enjoyment, in proportion to the strength and constancy of it. When the Christian therefore can with confidence say, “This is my beloved,” he may with equal assurance add, “This is my friend.” For these God has joined together: and nothing, neither angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be ever able to separate them.

18. This friendship between Christ and the believer will reconcile men to death, and support and comfort them under the death of others, their Christian friends.

It tends to make death desirable and sweet. Friends have been so united in this world, and had such a love for each other, that if one must die, the other would choose to die with him; and so the death of one has made death desirable to the other. But the friendship of which I am speaking has a much more powerful influence this way, in many respects. When a friend to Christ, with his heart full of love to him, looks into the grave, and considers that there his dearest Lord and friend once lay, this will sweeten the grave to him, and make the thought of laying his head in the dust pleasant, and he will be ready to say, with one of his friends of old, “Let me die with him.” Besides, friendship to 109Christ reconciles to death, and renders it desirable, and the thought of it sweet, as it is the only way to the full enjoyment of Christ, and a dwelling with him in his holy and glorious kingdom. The friend of Christ longs to be delivered from all contrariety to him, as what is most odious, and the greatest burden, and to get rid of all ignorance, and coldness, and indifference, towards him, and be turned into a perfect, pure flame of: love to him; to dwell in his presence, and honour, praise and serve him day and night: and when he sees death to be the only way to this, he is not only reconciled to it, but is ready to long for it. And when he sees that his Almighty Friend has conquered death, and taken away the sting of it, with what courage and joy can he look it in the face; while with him who was one of Christ’s great friends on earth seventeen hundred years ago, and is now with him in heaven, he desires to depart and be with Christ, which to him is far the best of any thing he can conceive of or wish for.

Again, this friendship with Christ gives the best support under the death of dear Christian friends, and lays a foundation even for comfort in it. Herein it has the advantage of all other friendships. The more strongly they take place, the more is death dreaded; because this puts an utter end to the friendship, and cuts off all hopes of ever seeing and enjoying one another again. It is in this view that St. Paul speaks of the sorrow and mourning of those that were no Christians, on the death of their dear friends, as those who have no hope. They are left quite disconsolate on the death of their friends, because they have no hope of ever seeing and enjoying them again. But Christians have no reason to mourn so. They may part with each other here with high hopes and full assurance of meeting again in a short time, and enjoying each other, to a much higher degree, and in a better manner, than ever they did before, in the presence of Christ, in his glorious kingdom.

When our dear Christian friends are torn from our fond embraces, and we are deprived of their sweet 110company, and know we shall see them no more on earth; the more we love Christ, and the greater is our benevolence to them, the more comfort and joy shall we have in the thought, that they have ceased from sin, yea, from all their labours and troubles, and are gone to be with Christ, our great and common friend, and enjoy the benefits of this friendship to an immensely higher degree than we can here; that they will soon be restored to us, with great advantage, and we shall see them in Christ’s kingdom, unspeakably more loving and lovely than they were here; and, in a much more noble and perfect friendship, shall reap the happy consequence, and all the advantages, of our acquaintance and friendship here, and be forever with the Lord, our glorious Friend and Redeemer. Surely Christians may well, under the loss of their dearest friends, comfort one another with these words.

19. Christ will bring his friends to the nearest enjoyment of himself, and communion with him, where they shall taste the growing sweets of his love and friendship forever.

This is one peculiar excellency and privilege of this friendship, and what crowns all, that, with all its superior excellence and sweetness, and with every other advantage, and desirable circumstance, it will never come to an end, but will continue, flourish and increase forever. The many and great disadvantages and imperfections that attend it in this state shall soon wholly cease; and every thing desirable, and that can possibly advance it, in any respect and degree, shall take place, and that unspeakably beyond the highest flights of the warmest and brightest imagination. This has been repeatedly brought into view, and in several particulars that have been mentioned; but it is so important an article of this friendship, that it seems to deserve our more particular attention.

This friendship is in this world very sweet, and exceeds all others, both in its excellency and in the enjoyment it gives. But this is but a low beginning of 111 something immensely more exalted and happy; and is only preparatory to that which shall be most perfect and everlasting. This friendship is exceeding imperfect in this state, has many interruptions and hindrances, and is attended with numerous inconveniences, which often occasion great pain and distress, which is peculiar to the friends of Christ, and is many times very keen, and even overwhelming. Their remaining degrees of unfriendliness and opposition of heart to Christ, their blindness, stupidity, ingratitude; their great degree of alienation from Christ, their unfruitfulness, and the ill returns they make to him, and their want of a sense of his love and favour, are a most heavy burden to them, under which they often go mourning all the day long. For these things their souls are bowed down, and greatly disquieted within them. And their love to Christ, and concern for his interest in the world, is often the occasion of great concern and trouble, while they live in: such a wicked world as this, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, where there are so many enemies to Christ, and his cause is in so many ways opposed and run down. These things often cause them to hang their harps on the willows, in this strange land, and to lit down and weep when they remember Zion, and the interest of their Friend and Redeemer; and livers of water run down their eyes, because men keep not his law, but dishonour him. And the higher their love and friendship to Christ rises, the more affecting and painful will these things be to them; like the dear friends of Christ, the holy women who followed him weeping, when he went to the cross, surrounded by an insulting crowd of cruel enemies. Their love to Christ, their dearest friend, filled their hearts with the keenest twinges of the most cutting pain, which, as a dreadful sword, pierced their souls through and through. But it is wisely and kindly ordered that this friendship should begin in such a state as this, and in these circumstances; and this will all turn to its great advantage in the issue, and prepare the way for a higher enjoyment 112than if they had never taken place. Christ, their great friend and patron, superintends, and is in this way disciplining them, and in the best manner training them up for the near enjoyment of him in the most perfect state of friendship and happiness. They are espoused to him, though they are in an enemy’s country; and he is preparing them for the happy nuptials, when they shall be brought into his presence, and kind embraces, never to part again. And all their pain and sorrow in this world, which they have suffered on his account, and all they have done and suffered for him, shall in the end serve to increase their enjoyment and happiness, and be richly rewarded by him.

He has desired and prayed that they all may be where he is, that they may behold his glory, and enjoy him to the best advantage, and in the highest decree; and he will never rest till he has brought them to this. He will bring them to share in his own honours and happiness, as fully as their enlarged capacities will admit. He will seat them at his own right hand; yea, they shall sit down with him on his throne, and reign jointly with him, as the queen shares in the dignity and honours of the prince her husband. They shall drink with him of the river of his pleasures, and enjoy all that he has, even the whole of his boundless riches and most extensive kingdom. He will bring forth all his hidden treasures for them, and open his heart to them in the fullest manner and without any reserve. He will make them perfectly like himself, and put his own beauty and glory upon them, and bring them to a high and perfect relish for his beauty, and put them, in all respects, and every way, under the best advantage to love and enjoy him forever. This shall perfect this friendship, which will be increasing in unknown, inconceivable heights forever and ever.

Thus they shall be satisfied, perfectly satisfied, and inconceivably happy, when they shall awake in his likeness, and stand complete before him, the beloved of their souls, in whose presence is fulness of joy, and at 113 whose right hand are pleasures forever more. Then it will be said concerning every one of the true friends of Christ, “These are they which came but of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more, neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb, which is in the midst of the throne, shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” Then shall Christ appear, in all his fulness and glory, as the head of his church, and, in the highest and most emphatical sense, say, “I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse. Eat, O friends, drink, yea, drink abundantly.” Then the angels will tune their notes higher than ever, and say, with a voice like the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him., the glorious friend and bridegroom of the redeemed; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready”

The friends of Christ now little think what they are coming to, and what will be the issue of these exercises they now have. They have already seen and enjoyed what others never have; for Christ in his superlative glory and excellence has been manifested unto them: but they shall see greater things than these. And the words which Christ spoke to one of his disciples when he was on earth, are applicable to all of them: “What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shall know hereafter.” “Beloved, now we are the sons of God, the friends of Christ; and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”

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