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14. Chrift fhall prefent, or bring them to God with exceeding joy. And more fully the joy of this day is expreffed, Pfal. xlv. 15. "With joy and rejoicing fhall they be brought; they shall enter into the king's palace." It will be a day of univerfal joy, when all the faints are brought home to God in a perfected state. For,
1. God the Father will rejoice when Chrift brings home that precious number of his elect, whom he redeemed by his blood: he rejoiceth in them now, though imperfect, and under many distasteful corruptions and weakneffes, Zeph. iii. 17. How much more will he rejoice in them when Christ presents them without fpot or wrinkle to him, Eph. v. 27.
2. Jefus Chrift will exceedingly rejoice; it will be the day of the gladnefs, and fatisfaction of his heart: for now, and not till now, he receives his myftical fulness, Col. i. 24. beholds all the bleffed iffues of his death, which connot but give him unfpeakable contentment, Ifa. liii. 11. "He fhall fee of the travail of
his foul, and fhall be fatisfied."
3. The day in which believers are brought home to God, will be a day of unspeakable joy to the Holy Spirit of God himfelf. For unto this, all his fanctifying designs, in this world, had refpect to this day he fealed them: towards this day he ftirred up defires, and groanings that cannot be uttered, in their hearts, Eph. iv. 30. Rom. viii. 26. Thus the great and bleffed perfons, Father, Son, and Spirit, will rejoice in the bringing home of the elect to God. For as it is the greatest joy to a man to see the defigns which his heart hath been long projecting, and intently fet upon, by an orderly conduct, at laft brought to the happy iffue he first aimed at; much more will it be fo here: the counfel, and hand of each perfon being deeply concerned in this blessed defign.
4. The angels of God will rejoice at the bringing home of believers to him: the fpirits of juft men made perfect, will be united in one general affembly, with an innumerable company of angels, Heb. ii. 22. Great is the affection and love of angels to redeemed ones they greatly rejoiced at the incarnation of Christ for them, Luke ii. 13. They greatly delighted to pry into the mystery of their redemption, I Pet. i. 12. They were marvellously delighted at their converfion, which was the day of their efpoufals to Chrift, Luke xv. 10. They have been tender and careful over them, and very ferviceable to them in this world, Heb. i. 14. and therefore cannot but rejoice exceeding. ly, to fee them all brought home in fafety to their father's houfe.
5. To conclude, Chrift's bringing home all believers unto God,
will be matter of unfpeakable joy to themselves: for, whatever knowledge and acquaintance they had with God here, whatever fights of faith they had of heaven, and the glory to come, in this world; yet the fight of God and Chrift the redeemer, will be an unfpeakable furprize to them in that day. This will be the day of relieving all their wants, the day of fatisfaction to all their defires; for now they are come where they would be, arrived at the very defires of their fouls.
Secondly, In the last place, let it be confidered, what influence the death of Christ hath upon this defign, and you shall find it i much every way. In two things efpecially, the death of Chrift hath a bleffed caufality and influence in this matter, viz.
1. It effectually removes all obftacles to it.
2. It purchaseth (as a price) their title to it.
First, The death of Chrift removes all obftacles out of the way of his mercy: fuch were the bars hindering our access to God as nothing but the death of Christ could remove, and thereby open a way for believers to come to God. The guilt of fin barred us from his gracious prefence, Rom. i. 2, 3. Hof. xiv. 2. The filth of fin excluded us from God, Hab. i. 23. Heb. xii. 14. The enmity of our nature perfectly ftopped up our way to God, Col. i. 21. Rom. viii. 7. by reafon hereof fallen man hath no defire to come unto God, Job xxi. 14. The juftice of God, like a flaming fword, turning every way, kept all men from access to God. And Laftly, Satan, that malicious and armed adversary, lay as a lion in the way to God, 2 Pet. v. 8. Oh with what strong bars were the gates of heaven shut against our fouls! The way of God was chained up with fuch difficulties, as none but Chrift was able to remove; and he by death hath effectually removed them all: The way is now open, even the new and the living way, confecrated for us by his blood. The death of Chrift effectually removes the guilt of fin, Pet. ii. 24. washes off the filth of fin, 1 John v. 6. takes away the enmity of nature, Col. i. 20. 21. fatisfies all the demands of justice, Rom. iii. 25, 26. hath broken all the power of Satan, Col. ii. 15. Heb. ii. 14. and confequently the way to God is effectually and fully opened to believers by the blood of Jefus, Heb. x. 20.
Secondly, The blood of Chrift purchased for believers their right and title to this privilege, Gal. iv. 4, 5. "But when the ful"nefs of time was come, God fent forth his Son, made of a wo
man, made under the law; to redeem them that were under "the law, that we might receive the adoption of fons," i. e. both the relation and inheritance of fons. There was value and
SERM. XIX worth enough in the precious blood of Chrift, not only to pay all our debts to justice, but, over and above the payment of our debts, to purchase for us this invaluable privilege. We must put this unspeakable mercy of being brought to God, as my text puts it, upon the account, and to the fcore of the death of Chrift: no believer had ever tafted the fweetness of fuch a mercy, if Chrift had not tasted the bitterness of death for him, The ufe of all you will have in the following deductions of truth, ⚫ Deduction 1. Great is the precioufness and worth of fouls, that the life of Chrift fhould be given to redeem and recover them to God: As God laid out his thoughts and counfel, from eternity, upon them, to project the way and method of their falvation; fo the Lord Jefus in purfuance of that bleffed defign, came from the bofom of the Father, and spilt his invaluable blood, to bring them to God. No wife man expends vaft fums to bring home trifling commodities: how cheap foever our fouls are in our ef timation, it is evident by this they are of precious esteem in the eyes of Chrift.
Deduction 2. Redeemed fouls muft expect no rest, or fatif faction on this fide heaven, and the full enjoyment of God. The life of a believer in this world, is a life of motion and expectation they are now coming to God, 1 Pet. ii. 4. God, you fee, is the centre and rest of their fouls, Heb. iv. 9. As the rivers cannot rest till they pour themfelves into the bofom of the fea, fo neither can renewed fouls find rest till they come in to the bofom of God *. There are four things which do, and will break the reft, and disturb the fouls of believers in this world; afflictions, temptations, corruptions, and abfence from God. If the three former caufes of difquietnefs were totally removed, fo that a believer were placed in fuch a condition u pon earth, where no affliction should disturb him, no tempta tion trouble him, no corruption defile or grieve him, yet his very abfence from God muft ftill keep him reftlefs and unfatis fied; 2 Cor. v. 6. "Whilst we are at home in the body, yet ab"fent from the Lord.”
Deduction 3. What fweet and pleafant thoughts should all be lievers have of death! When they die, and never till they die, fhall they be fully brought home to God. Death to the faints, is the door by which they enter into the enjoyment of God: the dying Chriftian is almoft at home, yet a few pangs and a gonies more, and then he is come to God, in whose prefence
* Thou haft made us for thyfelf, and our hearts are unfatisfied till they reft in thee. Aug. Confef. lib. 1. c. 1.
is the fulness of joy. "I defire, faith Paul, to depart, and to "be with Chrift, which is far better," Phil. i. 23. It should not affright us to be brought to death, the king of terrors, fo long as it is the office of death to bring us to God. That dreaming opinion of the foul fleeping after death, is as ungrounded as it is uncomfortable: the fame day we loofe from this fhore, we fhall be landed upon the bleffed fhore, were we shall fee and enjoy God for ever. O, if the friends of dead believers did but understand where, and with whom their fouls are, whilst they are mourning over their bodies, certainly a few believing thoughts of this would quickly dry up their tears, and fill the house of mourning with voices of praife and thanksgiving!
Deduction 4. How comfortable and fweet fhould the converfes and communication of Chriftians be with one another, in this world! Chrift is bringing them all to God, through this vale of tears; they are now in the way to him; all bound for heaven; going home to God, to their everlasting reft in glory: every day, every hour, every duty brings them nearer and nearer to their journey's end; Rom. xiii. 11. "Now, (faith the "apostle), is our falvation nearer than when we believed." O what manner of heavenly communications, and ravishing difcourfes fhould believers have with each other, as they walk by the way! O what pleasant and delightful converfe fhould they have with one another about the place and state whither Christ is bringing them, and where they shall shortly be! What ravishing tranfporting, transforming vifions they shall have that day they are brought home to God! How furprizingly glorious to them the fight of Jefus Christ will be, who died for them to bring them unto God! how should fuch difcourfes as thefe, fhorten and fweeten their paffage through this world; ftrengthen and encourage the dejected and feeble-minded, and exceedingly honour and adorn their profeffion! Thus lived the believers of old; Heb. xi. 9, 10. By faith he fojourned in the land of promife, as in a ftrange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Ifaac and Jacob, "the heirs with him of the fame promife; for he looked for "a city which hath foundations, whofe builder and maker is "God." But, alas! moft Chriftians are either entangled in the cares and troubles, or fo ensnared by the delights and pleasures which almoft continually divert and take up their thoughts by the way, that there is but little room for any difcourfes of Christ and heaven, among many of them: but certainly this would be as much your intereft as your duty. When the apostle had entertained the Theffalonians with a lovely difcourfe of their meet
ing the Lord in the air, and being ever with the Lord, he char ges it upon them as their great duty, to comfort one another with those words, 1 Theff. iv. 17, 18.
Deduction 5. How unreasonable are the dejections of believers, upon the account of thofe troubles which they meet with in this world! It is true, afflictions of all kinds do attend believers in their way to God; through many tribulations we must enter in. to that kingdom. But what then; muft we defpond and droop under them as other men? Surely no: If afflictions be the way through which you must come to God, then never be discou raged at affliction; troubles and afflictions are of excellent ufe, under the bleffings of the Spirit, to further Chrift's great defign of bringing you to God. How often would you turn out of that way which leads to God, if he did not hedge up your way with thorns, Hofea ii. 6. Doubtless when you come home to God, you shall find you have been much beholden, (it may be a great deal more), to your troubles than to your comforts, for bringing you thither; however, the fweetnefs of the end will infinitely more than recompenfe the forrows and troubles of the way: nor are they worth to be compared with the glory that fhall be revealed in you, Rom. viii. 18.
Deduction 6. How much are all believers obliged, in point of intereft, to follow Jefus Chrift whither foever he goes! Thus are the faints described, Rev. xiv. 4, "Thefe are they which follow "the Lamb whitherfoever he goeth: thefe were redeemed from among men, being the first-fruits unto God, and to the Lamb," If it be the defign of Chrift to bring us to God, then certainly it is our duty to follow Chrift in all the paths of active and paf five obedience through which he now leads us, as ever we expect to be brought home to God at laft: "We are inade par
takers of Chrift, if we hold the beginning of our confidence ❝ftedfast unto the end," Heb. iii. 14. If we have followed him, through many fufferings and troubles, and shall turn away from him at last, we lofe all that we have wrought, and fuffered in religion, and shall never reach home to God at last, The crown of life belongs only to them who are faithful to the death.
Deduction 7. Let all that defire, or expect to come unto God hereafter, come to Chrift by faith now. There is no other way to the Father, but by Chrift; no other way to Chrift but faith, How vain therefore are the hopes and expectations of all unbelievers? Be affured of this great truth, Death fhall bring you to God as an avenging Judge, if Christ do not bring you now to God as a reconciled Father: without holinefs no man fhall fee God: the door of hope is shut against all chriftless perfons, Joha