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    --John v. 24. Phil. ii. ult.

If the question be. What is that happy condition they are made partakers of?

I answer, this appears in these six privileges, or benefits, principally,--
     1. Justification: all their sins are pardoned.
     2. Reconciliation: peace with God.
     3. Adoption: they are made the sons of God.
     4. Sanctification: they are restored to the image of God.
     5. Audience of all their prayers to God.
     6. Glorification, in the kingdom of heaven, in eternal communion with God.

Section I.


This is the first benefit which immediately follows our union unto Christ by faith, that, look, as we are no sooner children of Adam, and branches of that root by natural generation, but we immediately contract the guilt of his sin, and so original pollution, so we are no sooner made branches of the second Adam by vocation, and so united unto Christ by faith, but immediately we have the imputation of his righteousness to our justification; after which we receive in order of nature (not time) our sanctification. There is no truth more necessary to be known than this, it being the principal thing contained in the gospel, (Rom. i. 17), the law showing how a man may be just and live; but it hath not the least word how a sinful man may be just and not die; this is proper to the revelation of the gospel; let me, therefore, give you a taste of the nature of it.

Our justification is wrought by a double act: 1. On God the Father's part; he, by a gracious sentence, absolves and acquits a 420 sinner, and accepts of him as righteous. 2. On God the Son's part, procuring the passing of this sentence by his satisfaction imputed and applied. The Father, being the person principally wronged, hath chief power to forgive; yet in justice he can not acquit, nor in truth account a man unrighteous as righteous, unless the Son step in and satisfy, for whose sake he forgives, as the apostle expressly saith, (Eph. iv. ult.); so that our justification is wholly out of ourselves, and we are merely passive in it. Justification is not to make us inwardly just, as the Papists dream, but it is a law term, and is opposed against condemnation. (Rom. viii. 33.) Now, look, as condemnation is the sentence of the judge condemning a man to die for his offences or sin, so justification is the sentence of God the Father, absolving a man from the guilt and punishment of sin, for the sake of the righteousness of Christ. That you may more particularly understand me, take this description of it:--

Justification is the gracious sentence of God the Father, whereby, for the satisfaction of Christ, apprehended by faith, and imputed to the faithful, he absolves them from the guilt and condemnation of all sin, and accepts them as perfectly righteous to eternal life.

Let us open the particulars herein briefly, in several queries, what it is, in general, to justify.

It is to pass sentence of absolution, to pronounce a sinner righteous; it is God's pardon, remission of sins. This appears from the opposition mentioned it stands in unto condemnation, as a judge pardons a man when he saith he shall live; or as a man manifestly forgives another when he gives him a promise or a bill of discharge; so that--note this by the way, that--our justification is not God's eternal purpose to forgive, but it is God's sentence published; a sinner is justified intentionally in election, but not actually, till this sentence be past and published. The difficulty only here is, where this sentence is pronounced; for answer whereof, note that there is but a double court where this is passed: 1. Publicly, in the court of heaven, or in the court rolls of the word; for there is no other court of heaven where God speaks but this. 2. Privately, in the court of conscience. By the first we are justified indeed from personal guilt; by the second we feel ourselves justified by the removal of conscience guilt. The first is expressly mentioned, (Acts x. 43, and Rom. i. 17); the second is expressly set down also. (Ps. xxxii. 4.) The first is the cause and foundation of the second; the second ariseth from the first; otherwise, peace of conscience is a mere delusion. The first is 421 sometimes long before the second, (Ps. lxxxviii. 15), as the sentence of condemnation in the word is sometimes long before a man feels that sentence in his own conscience; the second comes in a long time after in some Christians. The first is constant and unchangeable; the second very changeable: he that hath peace in his conscience to-day, may lose it by to-morrow. So that you are not (in seeking the testimony of your justification) to look for a sentence from heaven immediately pronounced of God, but look for it in the court of his word, (the court of heaven), which, though we hear not sometimes, yet it rings and fills heaven and earth with the sound of it, viz., "There is no condemnation to them that believe": for hereby the Lord mercifully provideth for the peace of his people more abundantly. As when a poor creditor is acquitted, or a malefactor pardoned, I beseech you, (saith he,) let me have an acquittance, a discharge, a pardon under your own hand, and this quiets him against all accusers. So it is here; the Lord gives us an acquittance in his word, under his own hand and seal, and so gives us peace. (Heb. vi. 18.)

Who is this that justifieth?

It is "God the Father." (Rom. viii. 34.) "Father, forgive them," saith Christ. And hence, Christ "is an advocate with the Father." (1 John ii. 2.) All the three persons were wronged by sin; yet the wrong was chiefly against the Father, because his manner of working appeared chiefly in creation, from the righteousness of which man fell by sin. The Father forgives primarily by sovereign authority; the Son of man, Christ Jesus, forgives by immediate dispensation and commission from the Father, (John v. 22; Matt. ix. 6); the apostles and their successors forgive ministerially. (John xxi. 23.) The Father forgives by granting pardon, the Son by procuring, the ministers (where the Spirit also is) by publishing or applying pardon; so that this is great consolation, that God the Father, the party chiefly incensed, it is he that justifieth, it is he that passeth this gracious sentence; and then who can condemn?

Why doth the Father thus justify?

It is merely his grace, and out of his grace. And hence I call it his "gracious sentence," (Rom. iii. 24); "justified freely by his grace." What is his "grace"? The prophet Isaiah expounds it to be, not our grace, or works of grace, (although wrought by grace), but "his own name's sake." In some respect indeed it is just for God to forgive, viz., in regard of Christ's satisfaction. (1 John i. 7. Rom. iii. 20.) The mercy seat and the tables of the law in the ark may well stand together, but 422 that Christ was sent to satisfy justice, and that thy sins were satisfied for, and not another's: thus it is wholly of grace. If therefore you think the Lord pardons your sins because you have been less sinners than others, or if you think the Lord will not pardon your sins because you are greater sinners than any else, you sin exceedingly against the riches of God's grace in this point.

What are the means by which the Father doth thus justify?

It is for the satisfaction or by the price of the redemption of Christ, (Rom. iii. 24; v. 10; Eph. i. 7); for mercy would, but justice could not forgive, without satisfaction for the wrong done. Hence Christ satisfies, that grace and mercy might have their full scope of forgiving. So that neither works before conversion, which are but glistering sins, (Rom. i. 18), nor works of grace in us after conversion, can be causes of our justification; for Abraham, when he was justified and sanctified, yet "had not whereof to boast," but "believed in him that justified the ungodly." (Rom. iv. 5.) And the apostle Paul saith expressly, "We" that believe "have believed that we might be justified." (Gal. ii. 16.) It is therefore the price of Christ's redemption which doth procure our justification. But understand this aright, for this price is not applied to each particular man as the "common price," redeeming all, (for then every believer should be accounted a saviour and redeemer of all,) but as the price of those souls in particular, to whom it is specially intended and particularly applied. Christ's righteousness is sufficient to justify all to whom it is imputed; but it is no further imputed than to the attaining the end of imputation, viz., to justify and save me in particular, not to make me a head of the church or a common saviour. It argues a man weakly principled that denies the necessity of Christ's satisfaction to our justification, because, forsooth, every believer should then be a redeemer. By "satisfaction," I understand the whole obedience of Christ unto the very death,--which is both active and passive,--by which we are justified. (Heb. x. 10. Phil. ii. 8.) That righteousness of Christ (wrought in his satisfaction) is imputed, which satisfies the law and divine justice, (Gal. iv. 1-4), which is both active and passive. The very reason why the law requires perfect obedience of us--which we can not possibly bring before God--is, that we might seek for it in Christ, that fulfilled all righteousness: and therefore he is called "the end of the law for righteousness." (Rom. x. 3, 4.) And it is strange that any should deny justification by Christ's active obedience, upon this ground, viz., because that "by the works of the law" (which satisfy the law) "shall no sinner be 423 justified": and yet withal say that we are justified by that which satisfies the law.

This righteousness of Christ is not that of the Godhead, (for then what need was there for Christ to do or suffer?) but that which was wrought in the manhood.

And hence it is infinite in itself, though infinite in value, in that it was the righteousness of such a person. This righteousness of God may be considered two ways; first, absolutely in itself; secondly, respectively, as done for us.
     1. Christ's absolute righteousness is not imputed to us, viz., as he is Mediator, head of the church, having the Spirit without measure, (which is next to infinite,) etc.; for though these things are applied for our good, yet they are not imputed as our righteousness; and therefore the objection vanisheth, which saith we can not be justified by Christ's righteousness, because it is of such infinite perfection.
     2. The respective or dispensative righteousness, which some call justitia fide jussoria, is that whereby Christ is just "for us" in fulfilling the law, in bearing God's image, we once had, and have now lost by sin; and thus we are truly said to be as righteous as Christ, by imputation, because he kept the law for us. And here observe, that the question is not whether all that Christ did and had is imputed to us as our righteousness, but whether all that he did, pro nobis, for us as a surety in fulfilling the law, be not "for substance," our righteousness; and therefore to think that we are not justified by Christ's righteousness, because then we are justified by his working of miracles, preaching of sermons,--which women are not regularly capable of,--is but to cast blocks before the blind; so that, though Christ doth not bestow his personal wisdom and justice upon another, yet what hinders but that that which Christ doth by his wisdom and righteousness for another, the same should stand good for him for whom it is done? For thus it is in sundry cases among men. Christ's essential righteousness, infinite wisdom, fullness of spirit without measure, etc., is not imputed to us; yet these have conspired together to do that for us, and suffer that for us, by which we come to be accounted righteous before God: he shall be called "the Lord our righteousness." (Jer. xxiii. 6.) This righteousness therefore imputed to us, justifies us. (Rom. v. 18.) We are said to be made "the righteousness of God in him"; not the righteousness of God whereby "he is just," but whereby "we are just"; opposed to the righteousness of man, which is called" our own righteousness." (Rom. x. 3; i. 17.) Not righteousness from him, (as the Papists dream,) but righteousness in him; 424 nor remission by Christ only, by righteousness in Christ; this imputed justifies; as sin imputed condemns.

Who are the persons the Lord doth justify?

They are believers; we are justified "by faith," (Rom. v.), or "for Christ's righteousness apprehended by faith," (Phil. iii. 9): it is by faith not as a work of grace, but as by an instrument appointed of God for this end. Christ did not die that our sins should be actually and immediately pardoned, but mediately "by faith," (John iii. 16, 17, 20); and the Lord in wisdom hath appointed this as the only means of applying righteousness, because this, above all other graces, casts down all the righteousness of man in point of justification, and so all cause of boasting, and advanceth grace and mercy only, (Rom. iii. 27; iv. 5, 16; ix. 30-32): the faithful account themselves ungodly in the business of justification, and thence it is said that "Abraham" (though a godly man in himself, yet) "believed in him that justifies the ungodly": he only is righteous whom God pronounceth and saith is righteous. Now, faith, above all other graces, believes the word; and a believer saith, I believe I am righteous before God, not because I feel it so in myself, but because God saith I am so in his Son, so that you are not justified before you believe; nor then only, when you have performed many holy duties, but at the first instant of your closing with Christ, you are then to see it, and by faith to admire God's rich grace for it.

What is the extent of this sentence?

The description saith, that Christ's satisfaction thus applied, the Father doth two things.
      1. He absolves them from all guilt and condemnation of sin, so that, in this sense, "he sees no iniquity in Jacob"; chastisements they may now have after justification, but no punishments, crosses, nor curses, such as destroy their sins, no punishments to destroy their souls: hence those phrases in Scripture, "scattering sins as a mist, blotting them out, remembering them no more, setting them as far as east is from the west." For Christ being made sin for his people, and this being imputed, he "abolishing all sin, by one offering," (Heb. x.), hence all are forgiven; and hence it is that there can be no suit in law against a sinner, the law being satisfied and the sinner absolved; nay, hence sin is condemned, and the sinner spared, (Rom. viii. 3); as Christ died for us, so he was acquitted for us, and we in him; we in him in redemption, we by him in actual faith and application. Whether all sins, past, present, and to come, are actually forgiven at the first instant of believing, I will not, dare 425 not determine; this is safe to say: 1. That the sentence of pardon of all thy sins is at an instant, (Rom. viii. 1), but not the sense nor execution of pardon: actual sentence of pardon, not actual application of pardon till they be actually committed. (Col. ii. 13; Heb. ix. 12; x. 1, 2. Rom. iii. 25.) There is a pardon, of course, (some say,) for sins of infirmities; I say there is also a pardon, of course, for sins of wilfulness,--all manner of sins; but not sense of pardon always. He accepts and accounts us perfectly righteous. (Rom. iv. 3.) Faith "is accounted for righteousness"; not the act of faith, as the Arminians would, but the object of it apprehended by faith. (Rom. v. 17.) The Lord accounts us as righteous through Christ's righteousness, as if we had kept all the law, suffered all the punishments for the breach of it. "Who can lay any thing to the charge of God's elect, whom God hath justified"? saith the apostle. (Rom. viii.) Satan may answer, Yes, I can, for the law saith, "The soul that sins must die: "Christ answers, But I have died for him, and satisfied the utmost farthing to justice in that point. True, may Satan say, here is satisfaction for the offence, but the law must be kept also. The Lord Christ answers, I am the end of the law for righteousness, I am perfectly holy and righteous, not for myself, (for I am a common person,) but for this poor sinner, who, in himself, is exceedingly and wholly polluted; and hence the Lord covers sins as well as pardons sins; clothes us with Christ, as well as remits sin for Christ's sake; and as we are accounted sinners by imputation of Adam's legal unrighteousness, so are we accounted righteous by the second Adam's legal righteousness, and that unto eternal life. (Rom. v. 17, 18.) Thus you see the nature, now the Lord opens your eyes to see the glory of this privilege; you that never felt the heavy load of sin, the terrors of a distressed conscience arising from the sense of an angry God, can not prize this privilege; but if you have, you can not but say as he did, "O, blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sin is covered": and again, "Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputes no sin." (Ps. xxxii. 12.) The Lord pity us; how many be there in these times, that know there is no justification but by Christ's righteousness, and yet esteem it not? let me, therefore, give you one glimpse of the glory of it in these particulars: 1. This is the righteousness by which a sinner is righteous: the law shows you how a man may be righteous, but there is not the least tittle of the law, which shows you how a sinner may become righteous; this could never have entered into the thoughts of angels how this could be; it is cross to sense and reason for a man accursed 426 and sinful in himself to be at that very time blessed and righteous in another; to say, "Lord, depart from me, for I am a sinful man," (Luke v. 8), is the voice of natural conscience awakened, not only concerning God out of Christ, but even when God appears in Christ as he did then to Peter; but that the Lord should become our righteousness, when we think no sinners like ourselves: no cases, no afflictions, no desertions like ours, who can believe this? yet thus it is; the very scope of the fourth chapter to the Romans is not to show how a just man may be made righteous, but how a sinner may; our own duties, works, and reformation may make us at the best but less sinful, but this righteousness makes a sinner sinless. 2. By this a sinner is righteous before the judgment seat of God: what man that hath awakenings of conscience but trembles exceedingly when he considers the judgment seat of God, and of his strict account there? but by this we can look upon the face of the Judge himself with boldness. "It is God that justifies; who shall condemn?" (Rom. viii. 32.) Can Christ condemn? He is our Advocate. Can sin condemn? Why did Christ die and was made sin then? Can Satan condemn, if God himself justify us? If the Judge acquits us, what can the jailer do? Can the law condemn? No, the Lord Christ hath fulfilled it for us, to the utmost. O, the stings that many have, saying, What shall I do when I die and go down to the dust? May not the Lord have something against me at the day of reckoning that I never saw, nor got cancelled? O, poor creature! Is Christ now before God without spot? Hath he cleared all reckonings? Verily, as he is before him, so are you, through that righteousness which is in him for you.

By this you have perfect righteousness, as perfectly righteous as Christ the righteous. (1 John ii. 1, 2, and iii. 7.) All your own righteousness, though it be the fruit of the Spirit of grace, is a blotted, stained righteousness, very imperfect and little; but by this, the faith of David, Peter, Paul, was not more precious than thine is, because thou hast the same righteousness as they had. (2 Pet. i. 2.) What sincere soul but esteems of perfect holiness more than of heaven itself? O, consider thou hast it (in this sense I now speak of) in the Lord Jesus.

By this you have continual righteousness. What dost thou complain of daily? Is it not because thou feelest new sins, or the same sins confessed and lamented, and in part subdued? nay, some to thy feeling wholly subdued; but they return upon thee again, and the springs in the bottom fill thy soul again, that thou art weary of thyself and life. O, but remember, this is not a cistern, "but a fountain opened," (Zech. xiii. 1), for thee to 427 wash in; as "sin abounds, so grace in this gift of righteousness abounds much more; the Lord hath changes of garments for thee," (Zech. iii. 1-7), by means of which there shall never enter into the Lord's heart one hard thought toward thee of casting thee off, or of taking revenge upon any new occasion or fall unto sin.

By this you have eternal righteousness, that never can be lost; if the Lord should make thee as perfectly righteous as once Adam was, or angels in heaven are, and put on thy royal apparel again, thou wast in danger of losing this, and of being stripped naked again; but now the Lord hath put your righteousness into a safer hand, which never shall be lost. (Heb. vi. 12. Dan. ix. 24.)

By this you please God, and are more amiable before him than if you had it in yourself. Do not say this is a poor righteousness, which is thus out of thyself in another. Why do you think righteousness in yourself would be best? Is it not because hereby you think you shall please God? Suppose thou hadst it, yet thy righteousness should be at the best but man's righteousness; but this is called "the righteousness of God," which can not but be more pleasing to him than that in thyself. (2 Cor. v. 20.) What is angelical righteousness to the righteousness of God? It is but a glowworm before the sun: the smell of Esau's garments, the robes of this righteousness of the Son of God, are of a sweeter odor than thine can be or ever shall be. (Eph. v. 1, 2.) It is said, "By faith Abel, Enoch, etc., pleased God:" their persons were sinful, their own duties were weak, yet by faith in this they pleased God. Thou thinkest when thou goest to prayer. If I had no sin, but perfect holiness in me, surely God would hear me. I tell you, when you bring this offering of Christ's righteousness, the Lord had rather have that than all you can do; you bring that which pleaseth him more than if you brought your own. For ask thy own conscience if it be possible for the righteousness that is done by thyself to be more pleasing to God than the righteousness of the Son of God, the Lord of glory himself, done and perfected for thee.
     7. By this you glorify God exceedingly, as "Abraham believed, (Rom. iv.), and gave glory unto God." "In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory." (Is. xlv. 25.) For,--
     1. By this you glorify him perfectly in an instant; for you continue to do all that the law requires that instant you believe. The apostle propounds the question, (Rom. iii. 21), whether a Christian "by faith doth make void the law." No, saith the apostle, "but we establish the law." How is that? Paraeus 428 shows three ways: one is this: because that perfect righteousness which the law requires of us, we perform it in Christ by faith. So that in one instant thou continuest to do all that the law requires, and hence ariseth the impossibility of a true believer's apostasy, as from one principal cause--they that deny satisfaction by Christ's doing of the law, because by our own works and doings we can not be justified before God, may as well deny satisfaction by Christ's sufferings, because by our own sufferings we can not be justified; our obedience to the law in way of suffering is as truly the works of the law as our obedience in way of doing.
     2. By this you glorify God's justice; whatever justice requires to be done or suffered, you give it unto God, by faith in Christ.
     3. By this you glorify grace and mercy, (Eph. i. 7), for by this means mercy may over-abound toward you, and you may triumph in it as sure and certain to you. What a blessed mystery is this! Doth it not grieve you that you can not glorify God in your times and places? Behold the way; if thou canst not do it by obedience, thou mayest by faith; and thereby make restitution of all God's glory lost and stolen from him by thy disobedience to him.

By this you have peace in your consciences: by this Christ's blood is sprinkled upon them, and that cools the burning torments of them. (Rom. v. 1.) The comers unto the Levitical sacrifices and washings (types of this offering of Christ) could not thereby be perfected and be without the guilty conscience of sin; none of your duties can pacify conscience but as they carry you hither to this righteousness, but the comers to this have no more terrors of conscience for sin; I mean they have no just cause to have any. This rainbow appearing over your heads is a certain sign of fair weather, and that there shall be no more deluge of wrath to overwhelm thee.

By this all miseries are removed: when thy sins are pardoned, there is something like death, and shame, and sickness, but they are not. It is said, (Is. xxxiii. ult.), "There shall be none sick among them." Why so? "Because they shall be forgiven their iniquities." It is no sickness in a manner, no sorrow, no affliction, if the venom, sting, and curse be taken away by pardon of sin; thy sickness, sorrow, losses, death itself, is better now than health, joy, abundance, life; you may here see death, hell, grave, swallowed up in victory, and now tread upon the necks of them. (1 Cor. xv.) You may see life in death, heaven in the deepest hell, glory in shame, when thou seest all thy sins done away in the blood of Christ Jesus. This is the blessedness of all you 429 poor believers and comers to the Lord Jesus: what should you do but believe it, and rejoice in it? If the wicked, that apply this righteousness presumptuously, say, Let us sin that grace may abound, and make no other use of forgiveness but to run in debt and sin with a license, why should not you say, on the other side, Let me believe and own my portion in this righteousness, that as my sins have abounded, so my love may abound; as my sins have been exceeding great, so the Lord may be exceeding sweet; as my sins continue and increase, so my thankfulness, glory in God, triumph over death, grave, sins, through Christ, may also increase; as you see righteousness in Christ forever yours, so you may from thence expect from him such a righteousness as may make you righteous also, as he is righteous. Tremble, thou hardhearted, impenitent wretch, that didst never yet come to Christ, nor feel thy need of him, or prize his blood; this is none of thy portion; all thy sins are yet upon thee, and shall one day meet thee in the day of the Lord's fierce wrath, when he shall appear as an everlasting burning before thine eyes, and thou stand guilty before him as chaff and stubble.

Section II.


This is the second benefit which in order of nature follows our justification, although sometimes in a large sense it is taken for the whole work of justification; strictly taken, it follows it. (Rom. v. 1), "Being justified by faith, we have peace with God;" i.e., not only peace from God in our consciences, but peace with God in our reconcilement to him, and his favor toward us: "Being justified, we shall be saved from wrath"; i.e., not only the outward fruits of wrath, but wrath from whence those come; Christ is first King of Righteousness, then King of Peace, (Heb. vii. 2); for is not sin the cause of God's anger? Must not sin, therefore, be first removed in our justification, before we can have God's anger allayed in our reconciliation? So that as in our justification the Lord accounts us just, so in our reconciliation (himself being at peace with us) he accounts us friends; indeed, our meritorious reconciliation is by Christ's death; as the king's son who procures his father's favor toward a malefactor, who yet lies in cold irons and knows it not. And this is before our justification or being, (Rom. v. 9); but actually and efficacious reconciliation, whereby we come to the fruition and possession 430 of it, is after our justification. (Rom. iii. 24, 25.) Christ, is a propitiation by faith; and here the malefactor hath tidings of favor, if he will accept of it, (Eph. ii. 15, 17), and of this I now speak: God and man were once friends, but by sin a great breach is made; the Lord, only bearing the wrong, is justly provoked, (Is. lxv. 2, 3); man, that only doth the wrong, is notwithstanding at enmity with him, and will not be entreated to accept of favor, much less to repent of this wrong. (Jer. viii. 4-8.) The Lord Jesus, therefore, heals this breach by being Mediator between both; he takes up the quarrel, and first reconciles God to man, and man to God, in himself, in redemption, and after this reconciles God and man, by himself, in (or immediately upon) our justification.

This reconciliation consists in two things chiefly:--
     1. In our peace with God, whereby the Lord lays by all acts of hostility against us. (Rom. v. 1.)
     2. In love and favor of God. I do not mean God's love of good will, for this is in election; but his love of complacency and delight, for till we are justified, the Lord behaves himself as an enemy and stranger to us who are polluted before him, but then he begins thus to love us. (1 John iv. 10, 16. Col. i. 21, 22.) A gardener may intend to turn a crab-tree stock into an apple tree; his intention doth not alter the nature of it, until it actually be ingrafted upon: so we are "by nature the children of wrath." (Eph. i. 3.) The intention of God the Father, or his love of good will, doth not make us children of favor and sons of peace, until the Lord actually call us to and ingraft us into Christ, and then, as Christ is the delight of God, so we in him are loved with the same love of delight. Peace with God and love of God are of different degrees of our reconciliation. A prince is at peace or ceaseth war against a rebel, yet he may not bring the rebel before him, into his bosom of special favor, delight, and love; but the Lord doth both toward us enemies, strangers, rebels, devils, in our reconciliation with him.

O, consider what a blessed estate this is to be at peace with God. It was the title of honor the Lord put upon Abraham to be the friend of God. (Is. xli. 8.) I am not able to express what a privilege this is; it is better felt than spoken of; as Moses said, (Ps. lx,) "Who knows the greatness of his wrath"? So I may say. Who knows the greatness of this favor and love?
     1. That God should be pacified with thee after anger, this is exceeding glorious. (Is. xii. 1 2.) What is man that the Lord should visit him, or look upon him, though he never had sinned? But to look upon thee, nay, to love thee, after provocation of sin, 431 after such wrath, which like fire hath consumed thousand thousands, and burnt down the bottom of hell, and is now and ever shall be burning upon them; O, blessed are they that find this favor!
     2. That the Lord should be pacified wholly and thoroughly, that there should be no anger left for you to feel. The poor, afflicted church might object against those sweet promises made here, (Is. xxvii. 1-3), that she left no love. "You are mistaken," saith the Lord, "fury is not in me." (ver. 4.) Indeed, against briers and thorns, and obstinate sinners, that prick and cut me to the very heart by their impenilency, I have, but none against you. Out of Christ, God is a consuming fire, but in Christ he is nothing else but love, (1 John iv. 16); and though there may be fatherly frowns, chastisements, reproofs, and rods; though he may for a time hide his face, shut out thy prayers, defer to fulfill promises, etc., yet all these are out of pure love to thee, and thou shalt see it, and feel it so in thy latter end. (Heb. xii. 8, 9.) Never did David love Jonathan (whose love exceeded) as the Lord loves thee from his very heart, now thou art in Christ by faith.
     3. That the Lord shall be pacified eternally, never to cast thee off again for any sins or miseries thou fallest into, this is wonderful. Those whom men love they forsake, if their love be abused; or if their friends be in affliction, they then bid them good night; but the Lord's love and favor is everlasting. (Is. ix. 7.) "The mountains may depart out of their places, and the hills cast down to the valleys, but the Lord's kindness never shall, never can; he hath hid his face a little moment," whilst thou didst live in thy sin and unbelief; but now, "with everlasting mercy he will embrace thee." Nay, which is more, "the abounding of thy sin" is now the occasion "of the abounding of his grace." (Rom. v. 20.) Thy very wants and miseries are the very causes of his bowels and tender mercies. (Heb. iv. 15, 16.) O, what a privilege is this! Did the Lord ever show mercy and favor to the angels that sinned? Did not one sin cast them out of favor utterly? O, infinite grace, that so many thousand thousands every day gushing out of thy heart against kindness and love, nay, the greatest, dearest love of God, should not incense his sorest displeasure against thee! The Lord that poured out all his anger upon his own Son for thee, and for all thy sins, can not now pour out, nay he hath not one drop left (though he would) to pour out upon thee for any one sin.
     4. That the Lord should be thus pacified with enemies. A man may be easily pacified with one that offends him a little; 432 but with an enemy that strikes at his life, (as by every sin you do), this is wonderful; yet this is the case here. (Rom. v. 7, 8.)
     5. That the Lord should be pacified, even with enemies, by such a wonderful way as the blood of Jesus Christ, (Rom. v. 7, 8,) this is such love, as one would think the infinite wisdom of a blessed God could have devised no greater; by this (ver. 6) he commended and set out his love, which though now it grow a stale and common thing in our days, yet this is that which is enough to burst the heart with astonishment and amazement, to think that the party offended (who therefore had no cause to seek peace with us again) should find out such a way of peace as this is. Woe to the world that despise this peace!
     6. That, being thus pacified, you may come into God's presence with boldness at any time, and ask what you will. I wonder what he can deny you if he loves you, (Rom. v. 2), and which is yet more, that now all creatures are "at peace with you," (John v. 23), as when the captain of the army is pacified, none of his soldiers must hurt or strike that man; nay, that hereby all your enemies should be forced to do good to you; "O death, where is now thy sting"?

I have oft wondered, if Christ hath borne all our miseries, and suffered death for us, why then should we feel any miseries, or see death any more; and I could never satisfy my own heart by any answers given better than by this, viz., that if the Lord should abolish the very being of our miseries, they should, indeed, then do us no hurt, but neither could they then do us any good; for, if they were not at all, how could they do us good? Now, the Lord Jesus hath made such a peace for us as that our enemies shall not only not hurt us, but they shall be forced (himself ordering of them) to do much good unto us; all your wants shall but make you pray the more, all your sorrows shall but humble you the more, all your temptations shall but exercise your graces the more, all your spiritual desertions shall but make you long for heaven, and to be with Christ, the more; it is now part of your portion not only to have "Paul, and Apollos, and world," but "death" itself to do you good. O Lord, what a blessed estate is this, which, though thousands living under the gospel of peace hear of, yet they regard not; they can strain their consciences in a restless pursuit of the favor of men, and in seeking worldly peace, yet to this day (though born enemies to God) never spent one day, it may be not one hour, in mourning after the Lord for favor from him nor care not for it, unless it be upon their own terms, viz., that God would be at peace with them, but they may still remain quietly in their sins, 433 and war against God; and thence it is that the Lord will shortly take away peace from the whole earth, and plague the world with war and bloodshed, as it is in Zach. xi. 6: "Deliver every man into the hand of his neighbor, and into the hand of his king, and they shall smite the land"; even for this very cause, for despising the peace and reconciliation with God, you might and should have accepted in the gospel of peace.

Section III.


This is the third benefit which, in order of nature, follows our reconciliation, whereby the Lord accounts us sons, and gives us the spirit and privilege of sons; for, in order, we must be first beloved before we can be loved so as to be accounted sons. (1 John iii. 1, 2.) For the Lord of unjust to account us just in our justification is much; but for the Lord to account us hereby as friends, this is more; but to account us sons also, this is a higher degree and a further privilege; and hence, our adoption follows our faith, (John i. 12; Gal. iii. 26); and if adoption, then the Spirit of adoption much less doth not precede faith. By Christ's active obedience (our divines say) we have right unto life; by adoption we have a further right; the one destroys not the other; for a man may have right unto the same thing upon sundry grounds. We know there are two sorts of sons: 1. Some by nature, born of our own bodies; and thus we are not sons of God, but children of wrath. 2. Some by adoption, which are taken out of another family, and accounted freely of us as our sons; and thus Moses was, for a time, the son of Pharaoh's daughter. And of this sonship by adoption I now speak, the Lord taking us out of the family of hell to be his adopted sons. Christ is God's Son by eternal generation, Adam by creation; all believers are sons of adoption. Now, adoption is twofold.
     1. External, whereby the Lord takes a people by outward covenant and dispensation to be his sons, and thus all the Jews were God's "first born," (Ex. iv. 22), and unto them did "belong the adoption," (Rom. ix. 4, 5); and hence their children were accounted "sons" as well as saints, and "holy," ( 1 Cor. vii. 14; Ezek. xvi. 20, 21); but many fall from this adoption, as the Jews did.
     2. Internal, whereby the Lord, out of everlasting love to particular persons in special, he takes them out of the family of 434 Satan, and, by internal love and special account, reckons them in the number of sons, makes them indeed sons, as well as calls them so. Isaac, by special promise, was "accounted for the seed," (Rom. ix. 8); and of this we now speak. Now, this is double.
     1. Adoption begun, (1 John iii. 1, 2), now we are the sons of God. To which of us, (though sons indeed,) yet the Lord behaves himself toward them for some time, and for special reasons, as unto "servants," exercising them with many fears. (Gal. iv. 1, 2.) Some spirits will not be the better for the love of their Father, but worse, and therefore the Lord keeps a hard hand over them; to others the Lord behaves himself with more special respect, in making them cry with more boldness, "Abba, Father," (Rom. viii. 15, 16), who will be more easily overcome, and bent to his will, by love.
     2. Adoption perfected, when we shall receive all the privileges of sons, not one excepted, (Rom. viii. 23), where we are said "to wait for our adoption, the redemption of our bodies." By the first we are sons, but not seen nor known as such. (1 John iii. 1, 2.) By the second, we shall be known before all the world to be such. We now speak principally of adoption begun, whereby we are sons in God's account, and by real reception of the spirit of sons. The manner of this adoption is thus:--
     1. God loves Jesus Christ with an unspeakable love, as his only Son, and as our elder brother.
     2. Hence, when we are in Christ his Son, he loves us with the same love as he doth his own Son.
     3. Hence, the Lord accounts us sons. (Ephes. i. 5, 6.) God's love is not now toward us as to Adam, his son by creation, viz., immediately diffused upon us; but in loving his own Son immediately, hence he loves us, and hence adopts us, and accounts us children.

O that the Lord would open our eyes to see this privilege. "Behold it," saith John, (1 John iii. 1), stand amazed at it, that children of wrath should become the sons of the most high God; for a beggar on the dunghill, a vagabond, runagate from God, a prodigal, a stranger to God, whom the Lord had no cause to think on, to be made a son of God Almighty.

If sons, then the Lord doth prize and esteem you as sons. If a man hath twenty sons, he esteems the poorest, least, sick child he hath, more than all his goods and servants, unless he be an unnatural father; I tell you that the least of you, the poorest and most feeble believer, is accounted of God, and more esteemed than all his household stuffy than heaven, earth, and all the glory 435 in it, and all the kings and great men in the world, (Is. xliii. 4-6); not because thou hast done any thing worthy of this, but only because he accounts thee freely as his son.

If sons, then the Lord surely will take care for you as for sons; a godly father hath a double care of his children. First, of their temporal; secondly, and chiefly, of their eternal estate; we are ready to question, in times of want, what we shall eat, drink, how we shall live. O, consider, art thou a son of God, and will not He that "feeds the ravens, and clothes the lilies," provide for thee? Yes, verily, he will take care for thy temporal good. It is true, you may be brought into outward straits, wants, miseries; yet then the Lord is thereby plotting for thy eternal good; for hence come all God's corrections, (Deut. viii. 5; Heb. xii. 8); the Lord took all they had from them by their enemies in war, and carried them away captive into a strange land; yet (Jer. xxiv. 5) this was for their good; we think the Lord many times takes no care for us, and so make him of a worse nature than the savage beasts, or bloody men, toward their young; but this is certain--he never denies any thing to us in outward things, but it is to further our eternal bliss with him, to do us good in our latter end: what say godly parents? it is no matter what becomes of my children, when I am dead, if the Lord would but give them himself to be their portion; if at last they may see the Lord in glory: do not wonder, then, if the Lord keeps you short sometimes.

If sons, then he loves you as sons, as a father doth his sons; you think the Lord loves you not, because you do not always feel his love, nor know his love. Is thy son not thy child, because while it is young it knows not the father that begot it, or because thou art sometimes departed from it, and hast it not always in thine own arms? "Israel saith. My God hath forsaken me and forgotten me," (Is. xlix. 14); and yet no mother tenders her child as the Lord did them; you think, because you have so many sins and afflictions one upon another, that the Lord loves you not: judge righteously; hath thy child no father because it is sick long together, and therefore kept under unto a spare diet? no, he knows our mold, and that we are but dust, and freely chooses us to be his sons, and hence loves, notwithstanding all our sins. (Ps. lxxxix. 32, 33.) If he sees Ephraim bemoaning his stubbornness, as well as his sickness and weakness, (Jer. xxxi. 20), doth not the Lord profess, "Is he not my only son"?

If sons, then we are "heirs and co-heirs with Christ," saith the apostle, (Rom. viii. 17); sons by nature are not always heirs, but all sons by adoption are: we are heirs with Christ, the Lord 436 Christ as our elder brother, managing all our estate for us, because unable to do it ourselves; we are heirs, 1. Of the kingdom of glory. (1 Pet. i. 4, 5.) 2. Heirs of all this visible world, (1 Cor. iii. 22); not that we have the whole world in our own hand, (it would be too cumbersome to us to manage,) but the Lord gives us the rent of it, the blessing and good of it, though it be possessed by others. 3. We are heirs of "the promise," (Heb. xi. 9; vi. 17); whereby Jehovah himself comes to be our inheritance and portion forever; and look, as Christ was in the world an heir of all, though trod under foot by all, so are we; what can we desire more?

If sons, then we have, and shall ever have, the spirit of sons, (Rom. viii. 15, 16); and what are we the better for this spirit? Truly, hereby. First, we cry unto him; we are enabled to pray who could not pray before, because guilt stopped our mouths. Secondly, we cry, Abba, Father; and this Spirit witnesseth that we are sons of this Father: it is not said that it witnesseth to our spirits, but συμμαρτυρεῖ , it witnesseth with our spirits, i. e., our renewed conscience, thus: All believers called and justified of God are sons; but I am such a believer; therefore I am a son: now, the Spirit bears witness with us in every part, both premises and conclusion, only it being the clearest and strongest witness, it testifies the same thing our consciences do, but yet more clearly, more certainly, more comfortably and sweetly, ravishing the soul with most unspeakable peace and joy, especially in the conclusion. I know there is a Noetic testimony, but it is lastly resolved into this: I will not now dispute it, only this is certain; that this testimony all the sons of God have by means of their adoption. They may not indeed sometimes hear it; if they do, they may object against it through the unbelief in part remaining in them; or if it be sometimes suspended, what you want in the witness and comfort of it, you have it in the holiness of it; and, therefore, the Spirit sealing is called "the Holy Spirit," (Eph. iv. 30; 1 Pet. i. 6-8); and is not this a great privilege? Thirdly, hereby you are led and guided, and that continually, toward your last end. For as, if Adam had stood, he should have had the Spirit of God, this very Spirit to have kept him and all his posterity from falling at any time from God, so Christ, having stood for us, justified us before God, sends the immutable constant assistance of the Spirit in adoption, which, though it doth not always quicken us, nor comfort us, nor assure us, etc., yet it is every moment guiding and leading of us unto our utmost end. From hence it is, that the same sins which harden others, at last humble us, the same temptations 437 by which others fall and perish, serve at last to purify us; hence our decay in grace leads us to growth at last, hence our fears and doubts serve to establish at last, hence our wilderings from God for a time make us esteem more of the presence and ways of God at last, because this Spirit of adoption is that by which we are led, and constantly assisted and carried toward our latter end. O, mourn, thou that art as yet no son, but a slave to Satan and unto thy filthy lusts; a servant at best, working for wages only, and fear of the whip, who shalt not only abide in God's house as sons shall do; nay, it may be, hast hated and reviled the sons of God; time shall come that you shall wonder at their glory, who are not known now.

Section IV.


This is the fourth benefit which follows in order of nature--our justification, reconciliation, and adoption; for, upon our being; sons in adoption, we receive the image of our heavenly Father in sanctification, because we are under grace. Hence it comes to pass that we are freed from the "reigning power of sin," (Rom. vi. 14,) so that our sanctification follows our justification, and adoption goes not before it. In justification, we have the love and righteousness of the Son; in reconciliation, the love of the Father; in adoption, the love of a Father and presence of the Spirit assisting, witnessing; in sanctification, the image of our Father by the same Spirit: and this I conceive, with submission, is "the seal of the Spirit" mentioned Eph. i. 13; the "seal sealing" is the Spirit itself; the "seal sealed" consists, first, in the expression of it in adoption; secondly, in the impression of it in sanctification, and that he only shall pass as current coin that hath both these. I know the most full and clear expression and testimony of the Spirit is after all God's work is finished in glorification; but the beginning of it is here in adoption, a fuller measure of it in sanctification; God's seal is ever set to some promise, (as men's seals to some bond, not to blanks); the Lord's promise of actual justification and reconciliation pertains only to men sanctified or called: in adoption, therefore, we receive the Spirit, which looks both ways, testifying either thou sanctified, art justified, or thou called, art justified and reconciled. I speak not now of external sanctification by outward show and profession, and common illumination and operation of the Spirit 438 upon men, from which many fall away, (Heb. x. 29,) but of internal and special, the nature of which you may best conceive in these three degrees:--
     1. It is the renewing of a man. So that by it a man is morally made a new man--another man. "All things are become new"; he hath new thoughts, new opinions of things, new desires, new prayers and praises, new dispositions, regeneration not differing from it.
     2. It is a renewing of the whole man, (1 Thess. v. 23); for every part and faculty of man is corrupt by the first Adam, they are renewed by the second Adam; not that we are perfectly renewed in this life by Christ, as we are corrupt by Adam, but in part in every faculty, (Rom. vi. 19); and from hence ariseth our spiritual combat and warfare with sin, yea, with all sin; it is not because of our sanctification simply, (for if it were perfect, we should war and wrestle no more), but from the imperfection of it. And this renewal in part is in every part, even in the whole man; and as the first Adam propagates sin chiefly and radically in the soul, especially into the heart of man, and from thence it diffuseth itself like leaven into the whole lump of our lives, so the Lord Jesus chiefly communicates this renewal into our hearts, and thence it sweetens our lives, and hence it is called "the inner man." (Rom. vii. 22. Eph. iii. 16.) You see a little holiness in a Christian; I tell you, if he be of the right make, there is a kind of infinite endless holiness within him from whence it springs, as there is a kind of infinite endless wickedness in a wicked man, from whence his sins spring: if a man be outwardly holy, but not within, he is not sanctified, no more than the painted sepulchres of the proud Pharisees; if any man say his heart is good, though he makes no show in his life, he speaks not the truth, if the apostle may be believed, (1 John i. 6); for sanctification is a renewal of the whole man, within and without; it is not for a man to have his teeth white, and his tongue tipped, and his nails pared; no, no, the Lord makes all new where he comes.
     3. It is a renewal unto the image of God, or of God in Christ; an unsanctified man may be after a sort renewed in the whole man, his outward conversation may be fair, his mind may be enlightened, his heart may taste of the heavenly gift, etc., (Heb. vi. 4, 5), he may have a form of godliness, (2 Tim. iii. 5), he may have strong resolutions within him unto godliness, (Deut. v. 29), and hence with the five foolish virgins may be received into the fellowship of the wise, and not discerned of them neither, till the gate is shut; but they are never renewed in their whole 439 man "after the image of God": i.e., they do not know things and judge of them, as God doth; they do not love and will holiness and the means thereto, as God doth; they hate not sin, as God doth; they do not delight in the whole law of God; it is not writ in their hearts, and hence they love it not as God doth; and this is the cut of the thread between a sanctified and unsanctified spirit; by sanctification a man is renewed unto God's image, once lost, but here again restored. (Eph. iv. 24. John i. 16.) We receive from Christ grace for grace, as the seal on the wax hath tittle for tittle to that in the seal itself; we are changed into the same image of Christ by beholding him in the glass of the gospel by faith. (2 Cor. iii. 18.) "I delight in the law of God in my inward man," (Rom. vii. 23); and hence a Christian, by the life of sanctification, lives like unto God; at least hath a holy disposition and inclination (the habits of holiness) so to do. (Gal. ii. 19.) "I live unto God; he calleth us from darkness into his marvelous light, that we might show forth his virtues"; and that this is true sanctification may thus appear; because our sanctification is opposed to our original corruption, as our justification to our original and contracted guilt of sin: now, as original corruption is the defacing of God's image by contrary dispositions to sinfulness, so our sanctification can be nothing else but the removal of this pollution, by the contrary habits and dispositions to be like unto God again; our sanctification is to be holy, (Lev. xx. 7); our holiness hath no other primary pattern but God's holiness, so that our sanctification is not the righteousness and holiness as it is inherent in Christ, for that is the matter of our justification, and therefore sanctification must be that holiness which is derived unto us from Christ, whereby we are made like unto him; and thus Christ is made "sanctification unto us." (1 Cor. i. 30.) There should be no difference between Christ our righteousness and sanctification, if that holiness which is in Christ should be both unto us. Hence, also, sanctification is not the immediate operation of the Spirit upon us, without created habits of grace abiding in us, as the spirit that came upon Balaam, and mightily affected him for a time, but left him as destitute of any grace or change of his nature as the ass he rode on. No, no; it renews you unto the image of God himself, if you be truly sanctified. And therefore let all those dreams of the Familists, (denying all inherent graces, but only those which are in Christ, to be in the saints), let them vanish and perish from under the sun, and the good Lord reduce all such who in simplicity are misled from this blessed truth of God. I will not now enter 440 into that depth concerning the means of our sanctification, in mortification by Christ's death, and vivification by the resurrection of Christ: this may suffice for explication of the nature of it. Only see and forever prize this privilege, all you blessed souls, whom the Lord hath justified; thou hast many sad complaints: What is it to me, if I be justified in Christ, and be saved at last by Christ, and my heart remain all this while unholy and unsubdued unto the will of Christ; that he should comfort me, and my holy heart be always grieving of him? what though the Lord save me from misery, but saves me not from my sin? O, consider this benefit. It is true thou findest a woful, sinful nature within thee, cross and contrary unto holiness, and leading thee daily in captivity; yet remember, the Lord hath given thee another nature, a new nature; there is something else within thee, which makes thee wrestle against sin, and shall in time prevail over all sin, (Matt. xii. 20); this is the Lord's grace sanctifying of thee. O, be thankful that the Lord hath not left thee wholly corrupt, but hath begun to glorify himself in thee, and to bless thee in turning thee from thine iniquities.
      1. By this thou hast a most sweet and comfortable evidence of thy justification and favor with God: he that denies this must (whatever distinction he hath) abolish many places of Scripture, especially the Epistles of James and John, who had to do with some spirits that pretended faith and union to Christ, and communion with him; and so long as it was thus, this was evidence sufficient to them of their justified estates. What saith James? Thou sayest thou hast faith; show it me then; prove it for my part, saith he. I will prove by the blessed fruits and works which flow from it, as Abraham manifested his. (James ii. 18, 22.) What saith John? You talk (saith he) of fellowship and communion with Christ, and yet what holiness is there in your hearts or lives? If you say you have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not the truth; but if you walk in the light, then, although your holiness, and confession, and daily repentance for sin doth not wash away sin, yet the blood of Christ doth wash us. (1 John i. 6, 7.) Again: you say you know Christ, and the love and good will of Christ toward you, and that he is the propitiation for your sins: how do you know this? Saith he, "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar." (1 John ii. 4.) True, might some reply, he that keeps not the commandments of Christ hath thereby a sure evidence that he knows him not, and that he is not united unto him; but is this any evidence that we do know him, and that we are united to him, if we do keep his 441 commandments? Yes, verily, saith the apostle, "Hereby know we that we know him, if we keep his commandments," (ver. 3); and again, (ver. 5): "Hereby know we that we are in him." What can be more plain? What a vanity is this, to say that this is running upon a covenant of works! Is not sanctification, the writing of the law in our hearts, a special benefit of the covenant of grace, as well as justification? (Heb. viii. 10, 12); and can the evidencing, then, of one benefit of such a covenant, by another, be a running upon the covenant of works? is it a truth contained in the covenant of grace, viz., that he that is justified is also sanctified, and he that is sanctified is also justified? and is it an error against grace to see this truth, that he that is sanctified is certainly justified, and that therefore he that knows himself sanctified may also know thereby that he is justified? Tell me, how will you know that you are justified? You will say, By the testimony of the Spirit; and can not the same Spirit shine upon your graces, and witness that you are sanctified as well? (1 John iv. 13, 24. 1 Cor. ii. 12.) Can the Spirit make the one clear to you, and not the other?

O beloved, it is a sad thing to hear such questions, and such cold answers also, that sanctification possibly may be an evidence: may be? is not certain? Assuredly, to deny it is as bad as to affirm that God's own promises of favor are true evidences thereof, and, consequently, that they are lies and untruths; for search the Scripture, and consider sadly how many evangelical promises are made unto several graces, that is, unto such persons as are invested with them; you may only take a taste from Matt. v. 3, 4, etc., where our Saviour (who was no legal preacher) pronounceth, and consequently evidenceth, blessedness by eight or nine promises, expressly made to such persons as had inherent graces of "poverty, mourning, meekness," etc., there mentioned; the Lord Jesus leaving those precious legacies of his promises unto his children that are called by those names of "mourners," "poor in spirit," "pure in heart," etc., that so every one may take and be assured of his position manifested particularly therein; that I many times wonder how it comes to pass that this, so plain and ancient principle of catechism, (for so it was among the Waldenses many hundred years since), grounded on so many pregnant scriptures, should come to be so much as questioned in our days: sometimes I think it ariseth from some wretched lusts men have a mind to live quietly in; desirous to keep their peace, and yet unwilling to forsake their lusts; and hence they exclude this witness of water, the witness of sanctification, to testify in the court of conscience whether they are beloved of God and 442 sincere hearted, or no, because this is a full witness against them, and tells them to their faces that "there is no peace to the wicked," (Is. lvii. ult.; Deut. xxix. 19, 20), and that they "have nothing to do to take God's name in their lips," that seriously "hate to be reformed." (Ps. 1. 16.) In others, I think it doth not arise from want of grace, but because the spirit of grace and sanctification runs very low in them; it is so little that they can scarce see it by the help of spectacles; or, if they do, they doubt continually of the truth of it; and hence, because it can speak little, and that little very darkly and obscurely for them, they have no great mind that it should be brought in as any witness; for them. Others, I think, may have much grace and holiness, yet, for a time, cast it by as an evidence unto them, because they have experienced how difficult and troublesome it is to find this evidence; and, when it is found, how troublesome to read it, and keep it fair, and thereby have constant peace and quietness; and hence arise those speeches. Why do you look to your sanctification, a blotted evidence? you may have it to-day, and lose it tomorrow, and then where is your peace? and I do believe the Lord deprives many of his precious saints from the comfort of this evidence, either because they look only to this, and not unto Christ, and their justification by faith, (Rom. v. 1), or else because there is some secret lust or guile of spirit, (Ps. xxxii. 1, 2), which the Lord, by sore and long shakings about their call and sanctification, would first winnow out, or because there is a perverse frowardness of spirit, whereby, because they feel not that measure of sanctification which they would, do therefore vilify, and so come to deny what indeed they have; because they ''feel a law of sin in their members, leading them away captive"; will not, with Paul, take notice of the law of their minds, whereby that "inner man delights in the law of God," and mourns bitterly "under the body of death," by which they might see, with Paul, that there is "no condemnation" to such. (Rom. viii. 1.)

To conclude: whatever is the cause of this crookedness of judgment, I do believe that the general cause is, want of attendance and standing unto the judgment of the Scriptures in this controversy; for if this was stood unto, men would not produce their own experience, viz., that they would never find any evidence from sanctification, but they have met with it in another way, by the immediate witness of the Spirit only; nor would men cry it down, because grace being mixed with so much corruption, it can hardly be discerned, and so will be always left in doubts, and that the heart is deceitful, and many that have evidenced their estates hereby have been deceived. I confess thus the Popish doctors 443 argue against assurance of faith from the Scriptures without special and extraordinary revelation; but what is all this to the purpose, if the Scriptures make it an evidence? Away, then, with thy corrupt experience; shall this be the judge, or the Scriptures rather? What though many, judging of themselves by marks and signs, have been deceived; yet, if the Scripture make it an evidence, (as we have proved,) then, though men, through their own weakness or wickedness, have been deceived in misapplying promises, yet the Scriptures can not deceive you. What though it be difficult to discern Christ's grace in us; yet if the Scriptures will have us try our estates by that rule, which in itself is easy, but, to our blindness and weakness, difficult many times to see, who shall, who dares condemn the holy Scriptures? which, as they shall judge us at the last day, should judge us now. Suppose that divers books and many ministers sometimes give false signs of grace and God's favor; yet doth the Scriptures give any? I shall propose one thing to conscience, as the conclusion of this discourse. Suppose thou wert now lying upon thy death bed, comforting thyself in thy elected and justified estate; suppose the Spirit of God should now grapple with thy conscience, and tell thee, if thou art "justified" then thou art "called and sanctified." (2 Thess. ii. 13, 14.) Is it thus with thee? What wilt thou answer? If thou sayest thou art not sanctified, the word and Spirit will bear witness then against thee, and say. Then thou art not elected nor justified; if thou sayest thou knowest not, thou lookest not to sanctification, or fruits of the Spirit, they will then reply. How then canst thou say that thou art elected or justified? for it is a truth as clear as the sun, and as immovable as heaven and earth, none are elected and justified, but they are also sanctified, and they that are not sanctified are not justified. (Rom. viii. 1, 13.) And now tell me, how can you have peace, unless you make your faces like flint before the face of God's eternal truth, or heal your conscience by such a plaster as will not stick? If, therefore, the Lord ever made sin bitter to thee, let holiness be sweet; if continuance in sin hath been an evidence unto thee of thy condemnation, O, let the riches of the grace of Christ, in redeeming thee from the lamentable bondage and power of sin, be an evidence to thee of thy salvation. O, bless God for any little measure of sanctification; do not scorn or secretly despise this spirit of grace, as many in this degenerate age begin to do, saying. You look to graces, and fruits, and marks, and signs, and a holy frame of heart, and sanctification; what is your sanctification? O, let it be the more precious to thee, mourning that thou hast so little, and blessing the God and Father of all grace for what little thou 444 hast, wearing it as a bracelet of gold about thy neck, knowing hereby thou art born of God, and that "the whole world lieth in wickedness," and shall perish without this. (1 John v. 18, 19.)
      2. This is your glory and beauty, this is glorification begun; what greater glory than to be like unto God? To be like unto God is to be next to God; and therefore this is called glory; (2 Cor. iii. 18), "We are changed into the same image from glory to glory." Every degree of grace is glory, and the perfection of glory in heaven consists chiefly in the perfection of grace; what is the work of some men at this day but to cast reproach upon sanctification, our glory?
      3. This will give you abundance of sweet peace, and therefore (Heb. xii. 11) it is called the quiet fruit of righteousness; for from whence come the sore troubles and continual doubts of God's favor in many men's consciences? Is it not some decay or guile here? (Ps. xxxii. 1, 2.) Is it not some boldness to sin, that they "walk not in fear," and therefore not in the "consolation of the Holy Ghost"? Is it not their secret dalliance with some known sin, continued in with secret impenitency? Is it not because they labor with some strong unmortified corruption, pride, or passions, that they are in daily pangs and throes of conscience for? (Ps. xxxii. 1-4.) What was the rejoicing of Paul? Was it not that "in all sincerity and simplicity he had his conversation among men"? (2 Cor. i. 12.) What was Hezekiah's peace when dying, as he thought? was it not this--"Lord, remember I have walked before thee uprightly"? (Is. xxxviii. 2, 3); not that this was the ground of their peace, for that only is free grace in Christ, but this is the means of your peace; (John xiv. 22, 23); it is a cursed peace which is kept by looking to Christ, yet loving thy lust.
     4. This is that which will make you fit for God's use. (2 Tim. ii. 20, 21.) A filthy, unclean vessel is good for nothing till cleansed. God will not delight to glorify himself much by an unsanctified person. What are thy wife, children, friends, family, the better for thee, if thy heart remain unsanctified?
     5. A little holiness is eminently all, springing up to eternal life; this little spring shall never cease running, but it shall fill heaven itself, and thy soul in it, with abundance of glory. (John iv. 14, and vii. 38.) You despise it because it is but little; I tell you this little is eminently all, and contains as much as shall be poured out by thee so long as God is God. It is true, thou sayest it is weak and oft soiled, and gives thee not complete power and victory over all sin; yet know that this shall, like the house of David, "grow stronger and stronger," and it shall at last 445 prevail, and the Lord will not break thee though thou art bruised by sin daily, until judgment come to victory, and the prince of this world be judged, and thy soul perfected in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Section V.

*Audience of all Prayers*.

This is the first benefit, which, though it be a fruit of other benefits, yet I name it in special, because I desire first that it might be specially observed; and I place it after our sanctification, because of David's speech, "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear my prayer," (Ps. lxvi. 18); and that of the apostle, (1 John iii. 22), "We believe whatever we ask we receive, because we keep his commandments, and do those things which are pleasing in his sight.'' As the Lord hath respect to the prayers of his people, not only in regard of their justification, but in some sense in regard of their sanctification also, a justified person, polluted with some personal or common sins of the times, may want that audience and acceptance of his prayers I am now speaking of. That God will hear all the petitions of his people, can there be a greater privilege than this? Yet this our Saviour afiirms twice together, because it is so great a promise that we can hardly believe it. (John xiv. 13, 14), "Whatsoever you ask the Father in my name, that will I do." Mark the scope of the words. Our Saviour had promised that "he that believes in me shall do greater works than I have done." Now, because this might seem strange and impossible, the Lord in those verses tells them how; for saith he, "Whatsoever you ask in my name I will do for you." I will do indeed all that is to be done, but yet it shall be by means of your prayers. Christ did great works when he was upon the earth; but for him to do whatever a poor sinful creature shall desire him to do, what greater work of wonder can there be than this? "This is our confidence," saith the apostle, "that whatever we ask according to his will, he heareth us." (1 John v. 15.) The greatest question here will be. What are those prayers the Lord Jesus will hear? I confess many things are excellently spoken this way; yet I conceive the meaning of this great charter is fully expressed in those words, "in my name." If they be prayers in Christ's name, they shall be heard, and it contains these three things:--
     1. To pray in Christ's name is to pray with reliance upon the grace, favor, and worthiness of the merits of Christ; thus this phrase is used, "to walk in the name of their God," is in confidence 446 of the authority, and excellency, and favor of their God, that they will bear them out in it. So to pray in Christ's name is to pray for Christ's sake; thus (Eph. ii. 18) through him (i.e., through his death and sanctification rested upon) we have access with confidence to the Father, (Eph. iii. 12), in whom we have boldness, and access with confidence, by the faith of him. There are three evils that commonly attend our prayers when we see God indeed: 1. Shame and flight from God. The apostle saith, therefore, that "by faith in Christ we have access." 2. If we do accede and draw near to him, there is a secret fear and straitness of spirit to open all our minds; therefore saith he, we have boldness; the word signifies liberty of speech to open all our minds without fear or discouragement. 3. After we have thus drawn near and opened all our desires and means before God, we have many doubts; viz., Will the Lord hear such a sinner, and such weak, and imperfect, and sinful prayers? And therefore he also affirms, that we have confidence and assurance of being heard; but all this is by faith in him; for look, as Christ hath purchased all blessing for us by his death, and hence makes his intercession for those things daily, according to our need, so we are much more to rest upon and make that satisfaction the ground of our intercession, because Christ's blood purchased this; therefore, O Lord, grant this.
     2. To pray in his name is to pray from his command, and according to his will; as when we send another in our name, we wish him to say thus: Tell him that I desire such a thing of him, and that I sent you; so it is here, and thus the phrase signifies, (John v. 43), "I am come in my Father's name," i. e., by his authority and command.

To pray in Christ's name, therefore, is to pray according to the will of Christ, and from the will of Christ, when we "take those words" the Lord puts into our mouths, (Hos. xiv. 1-3), and desire those things only that the Lord commands to seek, whether absolutely or conditionally, "according to his will" revealed, and "with submission to his will" concealed. (1 John v. 14.) "Whatever we ask according to his will, he hears us." (Ps. xxvii. 8. Rom. viii. 26.) If you ask any thing not according to God's will, you come in your own name; he sent you not with any such message to the Father.
     3. To pray in his name is to pray for his ends; for the sake and use of Christ, and glory of Christ. Thus the phrase is used, (Matt. x. 41, 42), "to receive a prophet in the name of a prophet," i.e., for this end and reason, because he is a prophet. A servant comes in his master's name to ask something of 447 another, when he comes as from his command, so also for his master's use. So, when we pray for Christ's sake, i.e., for his ends, not our own, these ever prevail. (Lam. iv. 3.) "You ask and have not, because you ask amiss, to spend it on your lusts." (John xii. 27, 28. Ps. cxlv. 18.) This is to "ask in truth," to act for a spiritual end; to make it our utmost end, ariseth from a special, peculiar, supernatural presence of the Spirit of life, and consequently a spirit of prayer which is ever heard. And hence you shall observe, the least groan for Christ's ends is ever heard, because it is the groaning of the Spirit, because it is an act of spiritual life, the formality of which consists in this, that it is "for God." (Gal. ii. 19.) The Lord can not deny what we pray for Christ's ends, because then he should crush Christ's glory. And therefore let a Christian observe, when he would have any thing of God that concerns himself, not to be solicitous so much for the thing, as to gain favor and nearness to God, and a heart subject unto God in a humble contentedness, to be denied as well as to be heard, and he shall undoubtedly find the thing itself. A lust is properly such a desire (though for lawful things) wherein a man must have the thing because it pleaseth him; as when Rachel asked for children, she must have them, else she must needs die. "Give us water that we may drink," was their brutish cry, (Ex. xvii. 1, 2); not that we may live to Him that gives it. Holy prayers or desires (opposed unto lusts) are such desires of the soul, left with God, with submission to his will, as may best please him. Now, the Lord will hear the desires indeed of all that fear him, but not fulfill their lusts. These three are the essential properties of such prayer as is heard, or, if you will, of that which is properly or spiritually prayer: fervency and assurance, etc., are excellent ingredients; but yet the Lord may hear prayer without them. It is true, the Lord may sometimes not hear us presently, for our praying time is our sowing time; we must not look presently for the harvest. "The Lord hears the prayer of the destitute," (Ps. cii. 17): the original word is, of the "shrub," or "naked place of the desert," which the prophet saith (Jer. xvii. 6) "sees no good when good comes": yet such as feel themselves such, the Lord doth regard them, and will have a time to answer them; and though the Lord may not give us the thing we pray for, nor so good a thing of the same kind, yet he ever gives us the end of our prayers: he that is at sea, and wants stiff winds to carry him to his port, yet hath no cause to complain if the Lord secretly carries him in by a strong current of the sea itself; and it is certain, at the end of all God's dealing with you, you 448 shall then see how the Lord hath not failed to answer you in any one particular. (Josh, xxiii. 14.) O, therefore, see and be persuaded of this your privilege. That God will now hear every prayer, many make a question, How may we know when the Lord grants us any blessing as an answer to prayer? Many things are said to this purpose; but the simplicity and plainness of the answer lie in this, viz., if it be a prayer, God hears it; if it be put up in Christ's name, it is then a prayer: and that you may believe this, and glory in this, consider these reasons, to confirm this truth.

From the promise of Christ as in this place, (John xiv. 13, 14.) which was a promise in special, to be accomplished when he came to his kingdom; and therefore, though it is true God's grace is free, and therefore you think the Lord may as well refuse to hear you as hear, yet consider that by his promise he hath bound himself to hear.

From the fatherly disposition that is in God, (John xvi. 26, 27); and hence "he loves us," and hence can not but hear us.

Because all prayers put up in Christ's name, Christ "makes intercession" that they may be heard. (Heb. vii. 25.) He hath laid down his blood that all our prayers might be heard, (as we have proved); and indeed, hence ariseth the infinite efficacy of prayer, because it is built upon that which is infinitely and eternally worthy.

Because all prayers of the faithful arise from the Spirit of prayer, (Rom. viii. 26); because, as that which is for the flesh, is of the flesh, so that which is for the Spirit, or for the sake of Christ, for spiritual ends, is ever of the Spirit. (John vii. 18.)

Because of the glory of Christ, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. Can not Christ be glorified unless he hear all prayers? Yes, he could; but yet his will is to reveal his glory by this means; so that though thou and thy prayers be vile, and therefore deservest no acceptance or answer, yet remember that his glory is dear. It is the glory of kings to hear some requests and petitions, but they can not hear nor answer all; it is the glory of Christ to hear all, because he is able, without the least dishonor to himself, thus to do. O, be persuaded of this; how should your joy then be full! how should you then delight to be oft with him! how would you then encourage all to come unto him! how would you then be constrained to do any thing for him, who is ready to do all for you! But O, woe unto our unbelief, for that which the apostle saith (1 John v. 14) was ground of his confidence, viz., that "whatever we ask according to his 449 will, he hears us," is no ground to us; and we may say, and mourn to think, (this is our diffidence), that, Whatever I ask according to Christ's will, he hears me not. But O, recover from such a distrustful frame, and from all dead-heartedness in this duty withal, lest the Lord send taskmasters and double our bricks, and then we groan, and sigh, and cry, and learn to pray that way, that will not pray nor believe now. If the Lord will but give us hearts, assuredly you might not only rule yourselves and families, but, by the power of prayer, pull down and raise up kingdoms, dispose of the greatest affairs of the church, nay, of the world; you might hereby work wonders, by means of Him, who, ruling all things, yet is overcome by prayer. (Hos. xii. 4, 5.)

Section VI.


This is the sixth and last privilege and benefit, and you all know is the last thing in the execution of God's eternal purpose toward all his beloved and chosen ones; whom he hath "predestinated, called, justified," them he hath also "glorified," (Rom. viii. 30): hereby we are made perfect in holiness; no more sin shall stir in us; perfect also in happiness; no more tears, nor sorrows, nor temptations, nor fears, shall ever molest us, (Heb. xii. 13; Rev. xiv. 13); and all this shall be in our immediate communion with God in Christ. (Col. i. 18. John xvii. 23, 24.) "We shall be then," saith Paul, "forever with the Lord." If the Lord would but open our eyes, and give us one glimpse of this, what manner of persons should we be! How should we then live! How willingly then should we embrace fagots and flames, prisons and penury! The light afflictions here, would not they work for us glory? Nay, the apostle useth such a phrase which I believe may pose the most curious orator in the world to express to the life of it--"an exceeding weight of glory." (2 Cor. iv. 17.) What is our life now but a continual dying, carrying daily about us that which is more bitter than a thousand deaths? What saith the apostle? "You are dead, yet when Christ shall appear, you shall appear with him in glory." The general security of these times foretold by Christ, (especially when churches become virgins, and people are seeking after purity of ordinances), it shall not be in want of watchfulness against the present corruptions of the times, as in a careless want of expectation of the coming of Christ in glory, not having ''our loins girt and lamps burning," nor 450 readiness to meet the Lord in glory. (Matt. xxv. 1-5, etc.) O that I were able therefore to give you a blush and a dark view of this glory, that might raise up our hearts to this work!

Consider the glory of the place: the Jews did and do dream still of an earthly kingdom, at the coming of their Messiah; the Lord dasheth those dreams, and tells them "his kingdom is not of this world," and that he "went away to prepare a place for them, that where he is they might be," (John xiv. 2, 3), and "be with him to see his glory." (John xvii. 23, 24.) The place shall be the third heaven, called our Father's house, built by his own hand with most exquisite wisdom, fit for so great a God to appear in his glory (John xiv. 2, 3) to all his dear children; called also a "kingdom." (Matt. xxv. 31), "Come, ye blessed, inherit the kingdom prepared for you," which is the top of all the worldly excellency, called also "an inheritance," (1 Pet. i. 3), which the holy apostle infinitely blesseth God for, as being our own, and freely given to us, being our Father's inheritance divided among his sons, which is a greater privilege than to be born an heir to all the richest inheritance on this earth, or to be Lord of all this visible world; for this inheritance, he tells us, is, 1. "Incorruptible," whereas, "all this world waxeth old as a garment." 2. It is undefiled, never yet polluted with any sin, no, not by the angels that fell, for they fell in paradise, when guardians to man; whereas "this whole creation groaneth under burden and bondage of corruption." (Rom. viii.)
          3. This never fadeth away; it is not like flowers, whose glory and beauty soon wither, but this shall be most pleasant, sweet, and ever delightsome, after we have been ten thousand years in it, as it was the first day we entered into it, (for this is the meaning of the word, and so it differs from incorruptible); whereas in this world (suppose a man should ever enjoy it, yet) there grows a secret satiety and fullness upon our hearts, and it grows common, and blessings of greatest price are not so sweet as the first time we enjoy them; they clog the stomach and glut the soul: but here our eyes, ears, minds, hearts, shall be ever ravished with that admirable glory which shines brighter than ten thousand suns, the very fabric of it being God's needlework, (if I may so say,) quilted with variety of all flowers, in divers colors, by the exactest art of God himself, as the apostle intimates. (Heb. xi. 10.)

Secondly. Consider of the glory of the bodies of the saints in this place: the Lord shall change our vile bodies, which are but as dirt upon our wings, and clogs at our feet, as the apostle expresseth it. (Phil. iii. ult.) Paul was in the third heaven, and saw the glory, 451 doubtless, of some there: see what he saith of them. (1 Cor. xv. 42-44.)
     1. It shall be an incorruptible body: it shall never die, nor rot again; no, not in the least degree tending that way; it shall never grow weary, (as now it is by hard labor, and sometimes by holy duties), nor faint, nor grow wrinkled and withered. Adam's body in innocency potuit non mori, we say truly; but this non potest mori, it can not die: and hence it is, that there shall be no more sickness, pains, griefs, faintings, fits, etc., when it comes there.
     2. It shall be a glorious body: it shall "rise in honor," saith Paul; and what glory shall it have! Verily, it shall be like "unto Christ's glorious body," (Phil. iii. ult.), which, when Paul saw, (Acts ix.), did ''shine brighter than the sun"; and therefore here shall be no imperfection of limbs, scars, or maims, natural or accidental deformities; but as the third heaven itself is most lightsome, (Gen. i. 1, 2), so their bodies that inhabit that shall exceed the light and glory thereof, these being more compacted, and thence shining out in greater luster, that the eyes of all beholders shall be infinitely ravished to see such clods of earth as now we are advanced to such incomparable beauty and amiableness of heavenly glory.
     3. It shall be a "powerful, strong body: it is sown in weakness," saith Paul, "it shall rise in power;" it shall be able to help forward the divine operations of the soul, which are now clogged by a feeble body; it shall be able to bear the weight of glory, the joy unspeakable and full of glory, which our weak bodies can not long endure here, but we begin to burst and break in pieces (like vessels full of strong spirits) with the weight and working of them; and therefore the Lord in mercy keeps us short now of what else we should feel; it shall be able to sing hallelujahs, and give honor, glory, power, to the Lamb that sits upon the throne, forevermore, without the least weariness.
     4. It shall be a spiritual body: our body now is acted by animal spirits, and being earthly and natural, grows, feeds, eats, drinks, sleeps, and hath natural affections and desires after these things, and is troubled if it wants them; but then these same bodies shall live by the indwelling of the Spirit of God poured out abundantly in us and upon us, and so acting our bodies, and swallowing up all such natural affections and motions as those be here; as Moses, being with God in the mount forty days and nights, did not need any meat or drink, the Lord and his glory being all unto him: how much more shall it be thus then! I do not say we shall be spirits like the angels, but our bodies shall be 452 spiritual, having no natural desires after any earthly blessing, food, raiment, etc., nor troubled with the want of them: and hence also the body shall be able as well to ascend up as now it is to descend down; as Austin shows by a similitude of lead, which some artists can beat so small as to make it swim: we are now earthly, and made to live on this earth, and hence fall down to the center; but we are made then to be above forever with the Lord, the Lord proceeding from imperfection to perfection, as the apostle here shows; not first spiritual, and then natural; but first that which is natural, (in this life,) and then that which is spiritual.
     5. Consider the glory of the soul: now we know but in part, and see but in part; now we have joy at sometimes, and then eclipses befall us on a sudden; but then "the Lord shall be our everlasting light," (Is. lx. 19); then we shall "see God face to face." (1 John iii. 1, 2.) We shall then know and see those things that have been hid, not only from the wicked, but from the deepest thoughts of the saints themselves in this world. (2 Cor. xii. 4.)

Paul saw some things "not fit to be uttered," or that he "could not utter": we shall be swallowed up in those depths of grace, glory, immediate vision; God shall be all in all. The souls shall now enjoy, 1. The accomplishment of all promises which we see not here made good unto us. (1 Cor. xv. 24.) Then you shall have restitution of all these at times of refreshing, wherein your sins shall be publicly blotted out from the presence of the Lord. (Acts iii. 19.) If Joshua said, (Josh, xxiii. 14.) when the people's warfare was ended, "See if the Lord hath been wanting in one word to you," much more will the Lord Jesus say unto you then.
     2. Then you shall receive a full answer to all your prayers: all that grace, holiness, power over sin, Satan, fellowship with God, life of Christ, blessing of God, which you sought for, and wept for, and suffered for here, you shall then see all answered.
     3. Then you shall find the comfort of all that you have done for God. (Rev. xiv. 13.) Your work in this sense shall follow you; you shall then infinitely rejoice that ever you did any thing for God; that ever you thought of him, spoke to him, and spoke for him; that ever you gave any one blow to your pride, passions, lust, natural concupiscence, etc.: you shall then enjoy the reward of all your sufferings, cares, sorrows for God's Christ, fastings, and days of mourning, whether publicly or secretly, for God's people. (2 Cor. iv. 17.) The same glory God hath given Christ, the Lord shall at that time give unto you. (John xvii. 22.) 453 It shall not be with us there as it was with the wicked Israelites, who when they came into the good land of rest, they then forgot the Lord and all his works past: no, no, all that which God hath done for you in this world, you shall then look back and see, and wonder, and love, and bless, and suck the sweet of, forevermore. It is a fond, weak question, to think whether we shall know one another in heaven. Verily, you shall remember the good the Lord did you here; by what means the Lord humbled you; by what ministry the Lord called you; by what friends the Lord comforted and refreshed you: and there you shall see them with you. Do you think you shall forget the Lord and his works in heaven, which (it may be) you took little notice of, and the Lord had little glory for here?

Fourthly. Consider the glory of the company and fellowship you shall have here. 1. Angels. (Heb. xii. 23, 24.) They will love you, and comfort you, and rejoice with you, and speak of the great things the Lord hath done for you, as they did on earth to the shepherds. (Luke ii. 10.) "Be not afraid," saith the angel, (Matt. xxviii. 5); "I know you seek Jesus." So will they say then, Be ever comforted, you blessed servants of the Lord, for we know you are loved of the Lord Jesus. 2. Saints. You shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of God; be taken into the bosom of Abraham, and there we shall speak with them of the Lord's wonders, of his Christ and kingdom, (Ps. cxlv. 11), and every sentence and word shall be milk and honey, sweeter than thy life now can be unto thee. We shall know, and love, and honor one another exceedingly. 3. The man Christ Jesus: when Mary clasped about him, (John xx. 17), "Let me alone," said he; "touch me not; I am not yet ascended to my Father." As if he had said, (saith Austin,) Then shall be the place and time wherein we shall embrace one another forevermore. Never were husband and loving wife so familiar one with another as the Lord Jesus will be, (not carnally and in an earthly manner, but) in a most heavenly, glorious, yet gracious manner, with all his saints. "Come, ye blessed," will he then say to them: we shall then ever be, not only in the Lord, but with the Lord, saith Paul. (1 Thess. iv. ult.; v. 10.) Just as Moses and Elias in his transfiguration, that talked with him, (which was a glimpse of our future glory,) so shall we then, (Luke xii. 37), and you shall then see that love of his, that blessed bosom of love opened fully, which the apostle saith "passeth knowledge." (Eph. iii. 19.) I need not tell you of your fellowship with the Father, also when the Son shall give up the kingdom to him that he may be all in all.


Fifthly. Consider the glory of your work there; which is only to glorify this God.
      1. You shall then live like Christ in glory. We shall think and speak all with glory. (1 John iii. 1, 2.) Our strings shall be then raised up to the highest strain of sweet melody and glory.
     2. You shall then bless him, (Eph. i. 6; iv. 30), and that with ravishment; you shall come then to the full acknowledgment of the Son of God; you shall see and say all this is the work and grace of Christ, and then shall cry out, O, let all angels, saints, ever bless him for this. What should I speak any more? You will say, Is this certain? Can this be so? Yes, assuredly, for Christ is gone to prepare this place and glory for you. (John xiv. 2, 3.) We have also the first fruits of this glory, which we feel sometimes, whereby we see, and taste, and drink, and long for more of that joy unspeakable, and peace that passeth understanding, that triumph over the rage and working power of remaining corruption, that dark vision of God, and holy glorying and boasting in him as our everlasting portion, etc., which can not be delusions and dreams, which never feed, but ever leave the deceived soul hungry, but are realities and things indeed, which satiate the weary soul, and fill it up with the very fullness of God himself, (Eph. iii. 19); and therefore it is certain that we shall have the harvest that thus taste of the fruits, and the whole sum paid us faithfully that have already the earnest penny. The Lord also fits us for this, as the apostle disputes. (2 Cor. v. 4, 5.) What means the Lord to deny our requests in many things as long as we live? What is his meaning not to let us see the accomplishment of many of his promises? Is it because he is unfaithful? or because he would let us know there is a day of refreshing he hath reserved for us, and would have us look for, wherein we shall see it hath not been a vain thing for us to pray, or him to promise? Why doth he afflict us, and keep us more miserable, both by outward sorrows and inward miseries, than any other people in the world? Doth he not hereby humble us, empty us, wean us from hence, and make us as it were vessels big enough to hold glory, which we hope for in another world?

But you will say, Can this glory be thus great? We see it is certain it shall be so; but shall it be so exceeding great and endless? Yes, verily, because,--
     1. The price is great which is paid for it. (Eph. i. 14.) It is a purchased possession, (by the blood of Christ we enter into the holy of holies); a price of infinite yalue must bring a kind of infinite glory.


    2. We are by Christ, nearer to God than angels are, whose glory we see is very great.
    3. Shall not our glory be to set out the glory of Christ? (2 Thess. i. 10); and if so, then if this glory be exceeding great, ours must bear a due proportion, and be very great also.
    4. Doth not God pick out the poor and vile things of the world to be vessels of glory? (1 Cor. i. 27); and is not that an argument that he intends exceedingly to glorify himself on such? to raise up a most glorious building, where he lays so low a foundation?
    5. Are we not loved with the same love as he hath loved Christ? (John xvii. ult.); and shall not our glory abound then exceedingly?
    6. Are not the torment and shame of the reprobates to be exceeding great and grievous? doth not God raise them up to make his power known? (Rom. ix. 23.) What then shall we think, on the contrary, of the glory of the saints, wherein the Lord shall set forth his power in glorifying them, as he doth the glory of his power in punishing others? and therefore (2 Thess. i. 9) the punishment of the wicked is expressed by separation of them "from the glory of the Lord's power"; because that in the glory of the saints the Lord will (as I may so say) make them as glorious as by his power, ruled by wisdom, he is able to make them. This is, therefore, the great glory of all those whom God hath called to the fellowship of his dear Son; and which is yet more, blessed be God, the time is not long but that we shall feel what now we do but hear of, and see but a little of, as we use to do of things afar off. We are here but strangers, and have no "abiding city"; "we look for this" that hath foundations"; and, therefore, let sin press us down, and weary us out with wrestling with it; let Satan tempt, and cast his darts at us; let our drink be our tears day and night, and our meat gall and wormwood; let us be shut up in choking prisons, and cast out for dead in the streets nay, upon dunghills, and none to bury us; let us live alone as pelicans in the wilderness, and be driven among wild beasts into deserts; let us be scourged, and disgraced, stoned, sawn asunder, and burnt; let us live in sheep skins and goat skins, destitute, afflicted, tormented, (as who looks not for such days shortly)? yet, O brethren, the time is not long, but when we are at the worst, and death ready to swallow us up, we shall cry out, glory, glory, O welcome, glory. If our miseries here be long, they shall be light; if very bitter, they shall be short; however, long or short, they can not be to us long, who look for an eternal 456 weight of glory. Who would not (that considers of these things) despise this world, and set it at his heels, who hath all these privileges and benefits, with Christ in his eye? who would not abhor a filthy lust to enjoy such a Christ? who would ever look back unto his flesh pots, or father's house, that hath such welcome made him the first moment he comes to the Lord Jesus, in having present fruition of some of these benefits, but present right unto all; fruition of some by feeling, of all by faith? But O, the wrath of God upon these times, that either see not this glory, or, if they do, despise so great salvation! Christ, and pardon, and peace, adoption, grace, and glory, are brought home to our doors, but their price is fallen in our market, and we think it better to be without Christ with our lusts, than to be in Christ with his benefits. The reproach of Christ was dearer to Moses (as great a courtier, and as strong a headpiece, as our times can afford) than all the riches and honors of Egypt; but the grace, and peace, and life, and glory of Jesus Christ is viler to us than the very onions, and leeks, and flesh pots of Egypt; if you had but naked Christ (our life) for a prey in these evil times, you had no cause to complain, but infinitely to rejoice in your portion; but when with Christ you shall find all these benefits and privileges coming in as to your portion, and yet to despise him! Assuredly the Lord will not bear with this contempt always. Away to the mountains, and hasten from the towns and cities of your habitation, where the grace of Christ is published, but universally despised, you blessed, called ones of the Lord Jesus; for the days are coming wherein for this sin the heavens and earth shall shake, the sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, and men's hearts failing for fear of the horrible plagues which are coming upon the face of the earth. Dream not of fair weather, expect not better days, till you hear men say, "Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord," who thus "blesseth his with all spiritual blessings in Christ." (Eph. i. 3.) I now proceed to the last

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