« AnteriorContinuar »
suppose all this and much more, which have not been suppositions but great realities in former days; still remember, as they did, that thou art, notwithstanding, the PRESERVED of the LORD, and that neither men nor devils can touch one hair of thy head, without his permission and knowledge. When he suffers their malice to operate, thou art safe in his hand, beyond the reach of every effort to injure thee really, and much less to destroy. Thou mayest sing the xlvith Psalm in defiance of them all. Thou mayest plead God's own promise, in the waters, in the river, and in the fire ;* and he will make it perfectly good. Yea, thou mayest rise up to the apostle's challenge, without the least excess or bravado; Who, who, who, can oppose, or accuse, or condemn, or separate ? Not death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, NOR ANY OTHER CREATURE.–Let the redeemed, and preserved, of the Lord say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy ;t for he is goud, and his mercy endureth for ever. Do thou say this also, my brother in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ; and surely thou shalt find the truth of God not truer to others than it will be to thee. Stay thyself upon him, who is faithfulness itself; cast thy burden upon him, who hath promised to sustain thee; Test in patience upon his love and time; leave all the management and event in his hands; and, surely, thou shalt one day have cause to say, “I never sought his face in vain; nor hath any thing failed of all that he engaged in his word to perform, either for my body or my soul.” .. * Isa. xliii. 1, 2. + Ps. cvii. 2. See also Isa. liv. 10.
W hen I began these humble attempts, I purposed to treat of several other titular descriptions of the church, besides those which I have now submitted to the reader's candid consideration; such as, FRIENDS, and BRETHREN, of Christ; LIGHTS; STARS; BRIDE; FLOCK; SEALED; spiritual HEBREWS, Jews, ISRAELITES; SOLDIERS of Christ; MEEK; REMNANT; VESSELS of MERCY; DISCIPLES; &c. but the consideration of swelling the volume so as to render it expensive to the poor, and the hope that what hath been put down may suffice to show, that the NAMES, which God hath given to his people, are not names of emptiness, but have some great, precise and leading truth or doctrine contained in them; have deterred me from a further prosecution of the subject. I will therefore conclude the whole with a title, under which the faith and hope of the children of God are concluded, and which implies the end and consummation of their very being.
The title GLORIFIED denotes the completion of all the purposes and work of God in and for the Christian, and the final accomplishment of all his own views and expectations.
The word GLORY signifies weight and solidity, and is opposed to all that is frivolous, empty, or unsubA a 3
stantial. It conveys the idea, therefore, of what is perfectly valuable and unchangeably lasting. Applying, then, the term glorified (as the Holy Spirit applies it) to the children of God, it denotes them precious in his sight who made them such, and perfect and happy in themselves without mutation and without end.
There is a purpose of God according to election, which must stand* ; and this purpose, defined particularly in every endearing name, by which he calls his people, and many of which it has been the purpose of this treatise to consider in that view, is generally marked out by that noble deduction, which the apostle makes in the epistle to the Romans. Speaking of this purpose, he says: Whom God did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first-born among many brethren. Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called; and, whom he called, them he also justified; and, whom he justified, them he also GLORIFIED. What shall we then say to these things?+ Who, that desires not to be found a liar, & shall dare to contradict, what God asserts to be true ? And, if he be for us, who can be against us?
What the state of glory is, and consequently what it is to be glorified; we cannot fully conceive in this world, We know it, at most, by hints or glimpses from the word and Spirit of God in meditation and prayer; and what we do know, and hath been known, in this state (even by an highly favoured apostleg) rather leads to a
*Rom, ix. 11, + Rom. viii. 28-31.
1 Rom, ii. 4. .$ 2 Cor. xii. 2. St. Paul says, that he was caught up (in spirit) to the third headen--to paradise; and heard unspeakable. words, contemplation inexpressible, than warrants any attempt to express it. All that is rich, sublime, holy, delightful, perfect, aweful, and magnificent, concur: to form a sort of aggregate idea; and when this is insufficient, or when we are sure, that all our conception is excessively beneath the unutterable grandeur of the thing, we are obliged, through the poverty of our best thoughts and words, to employ negatives, in order to raise up onr hearts and understandings a little higher in this sweet and sublime expatiation. We say, it is unutterable, unlimitable, unimpeachable, undefilable, inconceivable; and when we say all this, we proclaim our own unworthiness and ignorance of that transcendent bliss, which no mortal eye hath seen, nor ear heard, nor entered into the heart of creatures to conceive. We are sure, that it is a solid and enduring state or substance, pot affected by the flux of time or revolution of circumstances, and therefore often shadowed forth under the notion of sitting and rest-sitting on thrones, as triumphant kings; resting in permanent and unchangeable glory, as having attained the accomplishment of God's purpose and the end of their own being. No compass of thought,
which it is not lawful, or possible, for man to utter. This Sow , headens of heavens, of which the sensible Synw are the figure or type, denote the supreme state, or immediate knowledge of and communion with Jehovah; and therefore it is probably called the third heavens, not only eminentiæ gratia, but because in that state Jehovah is intimately known (as far as the intellect of creatures can know him) in his three persons, the undivided trinity in perfect unity. The apostle probably had such an astonishing view of this glory, as almost overwhelmed him. So had others : Exod. iii. 6. Isa, vi. 2. Rev. i. 17. да 4
no greatness of mind, either in earth or heaven, can arrive at more than a very feeble and faint conception of this true sublime. “ Itself (as one says of it) is its own hyperbole;" for raise hyperbole upon hyperbole, with the apostle, language labors and is lost in the rising transcendency of the still exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Like untutored babes, we may stammer and lisp about it here; but our highest words cannot explain the lowest ray of the indescribable majesty of that state and perfection, in which the redeemed of the LORD are appointed to live with him for ever and ever..
Upon this superlative subject, it may, however, not be improper to set down a few passages of scripture for the pious reader's devout and happy meditation, and with them conclude our attempts to enlarge upon an ineffable theme, which surpasses, while it gladdens and employs, the purified and perspicuous intellect of the most exalted spirits, in the regions of light eternal.
This consummate state is called by the prophet, A glorious high throne from the beginning, the place of our sanctuary :* or, as it might more truly be rendered, “ The throne of glory, the height from the beginning, [i. e. CHRIST, who is the beginning, the first and the last, in whom also his people were chosen from the beginning and before all worlds] is the place of our sanctuary.” Upon the removal of the ark of the covenant, which symbolized God in Christ, and Christ in his people, and was the representative throne of glory, and " the very life and soul" of the whole Jewish dispensation; and
Jer, xvii. 12,