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whereunto it is so necessary. In sickness, physic is necessary; but when death comes, it is not sufficient to withstand it. But there is a plenipotency in evangelical grace to consummate our salvation for us; "Christ is able to save to the uttermost those that come to God by him." (Heb. vii. 25) Every thing which he did corporally for us, he will do the same spiritually by his grace in us. So that though we be yet imperfect in ourselves, yet we are complete in him. (Col. ii. 10) And as there was a consummatum est' pronounced upon his work on earth, whereby he wrought redemption for us, "It is finished;" (John xix. 30) so there will be a 'consummatum est' pronounced upon his work in heaven, whereby he applieth redemption unto us; "It is done." (Rev. xxi. 6) He will perfect every good work which he begins', and be the finisher of what he is the author unto us." And this is a further demonstration of the excellency of the gospel, that as it is an only, so it is an all-sufficient, means unto that blessedness, which is therein tendered unto us.

Lastly; the excellency of the gospel will appear, if we consider the infinite value and preciousness of the things

therein concerned.

1. The preciousness of the subject redeemed by the grace thereof. It is true, by sin our bodies are become vile ", and our souls cursed, and might both be justly made vessels of dishonour. But if we view them in their primitive integrity, made after the image of God; in the grace and glory, whereof they are capable; in the immortal condition, whereunto they are reserved; in the honourable account, which God hath of them, when he hath once formed them for himself, a people for his name, in whom he will be admired; in these respects, we may truly say, that there is nothing which a man can give in exchange for his soul, ψυχῆς ἀνάξιον οὐδέν.

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2. The preciousness of the price whereby we are purchased; the Blood of God,' as the apostle calls it. (Acts xx. 28) 3. The preciousness of the condition, whereunto we are by

1 Phil, i. 6. iil. 10.

m Heb. xii. 2.

■ Phil. iii. 21.

• Gal.

p Isai. xliii. 4, 21. Psalm iv. 3. Acts xv. 14. 2 Thess. i. 10.

.26 .Matth. xvi و

the gospel called. To be justified from the guilt of innumerable sins; to have the peace of God, which passeth understanding; the joy of salvation, which is unspeakable and glorious; the favour of God, which is better than life, shed abroad upon the soul;-to have the sting of death pulled out, the fire of hell quenched, the worm of conscience killed, the sentence of the law cancelled, and the kingdom of sin destroyed and demolished in us;-to be adopted into the dignity of the sons of God; to be partakers of the divine nature; to have the life and likeness of Christ formed in us; these are branches and veins of those unsearchable riches of Christ, which, in the gospel, are set before us. '

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Lastly; the preciousness of the rewards which, in the gospel, are promised unto believers, infinitely surpassing those, which any other religion maketh to the observers of it. They dreamed only of such delights as their narrow minds, darkened with sin, and contracted unto baser objects, could frame conceptions of to themselves: but the rewards of the gospel are of a more sublime and refined nature.

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Such the endowments of the glorified body, which the apostle giveth us in four words, (1 Cor. xv. 42, 44) 1. ‘Incorruption; nothing shall ever annoy or infest it, as here poverty, violence, sickness, death, and other evils do. 2. 'Honour;' sidereal splendour and pulchritude, like that of Christ in his transfiguration, or of Moses coming down from the Mount. For if wisdom here make the face to shine, (Eccles. viii. 1) as we read of St. Stephen, "That his face was as the face of an angel," (Acts vi. 15) how much more lustre will celestial glory bring upon it ", when it shall be as the sun, and as the brightness of the firmament.* (Dan. xii. 3) 3. Power' and vigour to serve the glorified soul without any defect, infirmity, or impediment whatsoever. 4. Spirituality;' no need of clothing, nutrition, or any other animal provisions, it being perpetually supported and preserved by the Spirit of glory.

r Phil. iv. 7. 1 Pet. i. 8. Psalm xxx. 5. lxiii. 3. 1 Cor. xv. 55, 57. Gal. iii. 13. Eph. i. 5. 2 Pet. i. 4. Heb. iii. 14. Gal. ii. 20. Rom. viii. 29. 2 Cor. iii. 13. $ Matth. xvii. 2. t Exod. xxxiv. 30. u Phil. iii. 21. x Mat. xiii. 43. Chrysostom. in Gen. homil. 14. y Caro sine mole et pondere, agilis, mobilis, nullis clausa obstaculis, visu et aditu penetrans omnia et attingens, quocunque voluerit, sine impedimento discurrens, &c. Cyprian, de resurrect.

Such the endowments of the soul, filled with the reward of blessedness; a sure reward, (Prov. xi. 18) grounded upon immutable love, upon an invaluable purchase, upon unquestionable promises; whereof we have in ourselves the earnest; in our Head, the possession. *

A great reward; a crown, a heavenly kingdom, a kingdom of God, a weight of glory. (Psalm xix. 11. Matth. v. 12. 2 Cor. iv. 17)

A full reward; (2 John v. 8) no desire unanswered, no faculty unreplenished; no sin, no sorrow, no labour, no tears unremoved. "Thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures." (Psalm xxxvi. 8)

The mind filled with as much light, the will with as much love, the soul with as much peace, as the whole capacity thereof is able to contain. Faith heightened into vision, hope satisfied in possession, love completed in fruition, peace consummated in immutable, inconcussible, and indeficient delectation. In these four things, seem to consist the endowments of glorified souls, so far as we can here frame any judgement of the glory to come.

1. In a complete vision of God and Christ : here we see but in part, in the book of the creatures, in the glass of the world. But then we shall see him as he is, face to face; we shall behold his face in righteousness, though not with a comprehensive vision, (how can a finite comprehend an infinite? Aliud est videre, aliud totum videndo comprehendere,' saith St. Austin) yet with a beatifical and replenishing vision, no desire of the mind unfilled, unsatisfied with the knowledge of God and Christ.

2. In a complete possession of God and Christ. Here God is our God in a gracious covenant, in precious promises, in the first-fruits of the Spirit, in the seeds of grace and peace, in comfortable provisions, in powerful providence, in continual protection, in spiritual ordinances: but, all this

Aug. Enchirid. c. 91. Ep. 46. de Civit. Dei, 1. 13. c. 20, 22, 23. et 1. 22. c. 19, 20, 21.-Chrysost. Serm. 6. in Heb. Ethic. et to. 6. ad Theodor. lapsum, p. 70, 71. Edit. Savil. z Quemadmodum nobis arrhabonem Spiritûs reliquit, ita à nobis arrhabonem carnis accepit, et vexit in cœlum pignus totius summæ quandoque redigendæ. Securæ estote, caro et sanguis; usurpastis et cœlum et regnum Dei in Christo. Tertul. de resurrect. c. 51. a Matth. v. & • Rev

1 Cor. xiii. 12.

c 1 John iii. 2.

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d Psalm xvii. 15.

h

while, we are absent from the Lord %, in hope only of things which we see not. The inheritance in our minority is reserved in heaven for us: but at last we shall be admitted into it. k As our faith shall be changed into vision, so our hope into a possession of God. We shall not be in a waiting, expecting, longing, languishing posture, but in a plenary fruition of all the blessedness, which the covenant of grace did, by faith, entitle us unto. No faculty of the soul, not as full of God, as the sun of light, or the sea of water.

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3. In a complete similitude and transformation into the image of Christ. Here our grace is mingled with corruption, the flesh lusting against the spirit. As we are 'similes per primitias spiritus,' so we are dissimiles per reliquias vetustatis,' as St. Austin speaks. But in heaven we shall be wholly like unto him", for we shall see him as he is. As the image of the sun is formed in the glass on which it shines, so the glorified soul, by seeing God, hath the untainted image of his holiness and purity shed forth upon it.°

4. In a complete delectation, arising from the vision, possession, and similitude unto God; in whose presence is fulness of joy, at whose right hand are pleasures for evermore. Earthly delights are apt to cloy, and produce a loathing: but, in heaven, the delights are full and perpetual. "Tota virtus amare quod videas, summa felicitas habere quod amas." q For it cannot be, that the highest and chiefest good should ever cause a 'fastidium' or satiety in the fruition of it, since it comprehendeth eminently in it the particular and divided perfections of all other desirable things; God himself being all in all unto us.

Unto all which we might add the excellency of the place where these glorious things are reserved for us, where Christ hath prepared and furnished mansions for his own spouses: a building of God: a house not made with hands; wherein

g 2 Cor. v. 6.

i. 4.

i Gal. iv. 1.
k 1 Pet.
m Aug. de pec. mer. et re-

h Rom. viii. 24, 25. 1 Matth. xxvi. 41. Gal. v. 17. miss. 1. 2. c. 8. Hic præceptum est, ut non peccemus; ibi præmium, non posse peccare. Aug. Con. 2. Ep. Pelag. 1. 3. c. 7. n 1 John iii. 2. • Eph. Aug. de Gen. ad lit. 1. 12. c. 26.

v. 27.

P Psalm xvi. 11. xxvi. 28.

'Quanto se amantium sensibus infundit largius, tanto eos sui capaciores efficit, satietatem faciens, sed sine fastidio.-Qui desiderat semper, amat desiderare; qui amat semper, desiderat amare. Bernard. Soliloq. 7.

xiv. 2. 2 Cor. v. 1.

$ 2 Pet. i. 4. John

the Lord will show that glory to his church, which no other creatures ever saw, or can see.

Add hereunto the excellency of the company there'; patriarchs, prophets, apostles, martyrs, all saints and blessed angels; the glorious presence of the Lord Jesus, the sight of whose glory is the glory of his church.

Lastly, the crown of all is the eternity of this glory. For the mercy of God is from everlasting to everlasting, to those that fear him; the gospel of Christ, an everlasting gospel; his priesthood, unchangeable; his kingdom, inconcussible; his sacrifice, for ever; his redemption, eternal; no moth, no rust, no seed of corruption, within; no thief, no violence, no cause of corruption, without." So long as there is power in God to preserve us; so long as there is mercy and truth in God to reward us; so long as God is our Father, and Christ our head; so long shall believers be blessed, and enjoy an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in the heavens for us. O that any who know themselves to be mortal here, and immortal hereafter, should rake in the dunghill of the earth for content and comfort, and build their happiness upon loss and dung, upon vanity and vexation, who have such glorious things as these to look after, and to secure unto themselves! Certainly, no man liveth up to the dignity of man, who doth not regulate his conversation by the pure and holy laws of Christianity.

Thus have I endeavoured to show the excellencies of Christ, and the unsearchable riches of his gospel, as the alone necessary and indispensable means unto all solid comfort in this life, and unto all true blessedness in another: in comparison whereof, all other the noblest endowments are not only loss, but dung.

All these things, whereby I have proved the greatness of the gospel, are evident demonstrations of the excellency of the knowledge of Christ thereby; since the dignity of science. is founded in the sublimity, majesty, and greatness of the subject known. So that I shall need add but one thing more, which is particular to the saving knowledge of Christ, That it doth not discover only him and his excel

Heb. xii. 22, 23. John xvii. 24. 1 Thess. iv. 17.
Rev. xiv. 6. Heb. vii. 24. xii. 28. x. 12. vi. 12. Matth. vi. 20.

u Psalm ciii. 12.

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