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ift, A glorious place, namely, heaven, the feat of the bleffed, 2 Cor. v. 1. It is Chrift's Father's house, where their room is ready for them, when they have no more place on earth, John xiv. 2. In my Father's boufe, fays Chrift, are many mansions: 1 go to prepare a place for you. The place which has no need of the fun and moon, but the glory of God lightens it, Rev. xxi. 23. Behold the outside befpangled with fun, moon, and ftars; how glorious muft it be within? 2dly, A glorious fociety, namely, the fociety of other faints gone before them, the general affembly and church of the firft-born which are written in heaven, Heb. xii. 23.; the fociety of the holy angels, ib; the fociety of the glorious Mediator, his Father, and Holy Spirit, even the bleffed Trinity, John xvii. 24. Heb. xii. 23. 24. It is a glorious fociety they are admitted
3dly, A glorious ftate. This is the boufe in the heavens, eternal, not made with hands, 2 Cor. v. 1. It is a glorious ftate the foul enters into, a glory God puts on the fouls of believers when out of the body. It is what eye hath not feen, nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive; it is what we cannot make language of. It is a ftate of rest and perfect bleffednefs.
2. That they immediately after death pafs into it, and do not abide any where elfe, and fleep until the day of judgement, as fome profane men would have it, is clear. For,
(1.) Scripture-inftances plead this. So to the thief on the cross it was faid, This day fhalt thou be with me in paradife, Luke xxiii. 43. So of Lazarus it is faid, that he was carried by the angels into Abraham's bofum, Luke xvi. 22. And if it be a parable, as most likely it is, it is the more full to the purpofe. And there is the fame reafon for all the faints as for one, they being all as ready at death as ever they will be, working-time for preparation being then over, John ix. 4.
(2.) There is no middle ftate; but when the faints VOL. II.
put off the body, they put on glory, 2 Cor. v. t. 2. When they are abfent from the body, they are prefent with the Lord, ver. 8. When they depart, they are with Chrift, Phil. i. 23. When they die, they enter into peace and reft, If. lvii. 1. the reft remaining for the people of God, Heb. iv. 9.
(3.) Laftly, The contrary doctrine is utterly inconfiftent with the bleffed state the fcripture afcribes to believers after death, Rev. xiv. 13. Bleffed are the dead which die in the Lord, from henceforth: Yea, faith the Spirit, that they may reft from their labours. And it is inconfiftent with believers their defire of death, that they may be with Chrift in glory, 2 Cor. v. 1. 2. Phil. i. 23. What was to make Paul in that ftrait? if he could not be with Chrift before the general judgement, he would have chofe rather to have lived till then, that he might have been with him in fome fort, than to have died.
SECONDLY, In respect of their bodies death is gain. They must lie down in a grave; but death,
1. Cannot harm them, nor bring them to any real lofs to be lamented. For,
(1.) Their dead bodies are ftill united to Chrift. Though it feparate their fouls from their bodies, it cannot feparate them from Chrift, even every part of their body from another, 1 Theff. iv. 14. They are members of Chrift ftill, though in a grave, Rom. viii. 11. Our friend Lazarus is dead, faid Christ.
(2.) They cannot be held there for ever. It is but till the refurrection, Job xix. 26. The faints duft is precious, locked up in the grave as a cabinet, till the Lord have further ufe for it. They are his precious fruit, that lie mellowing in the grave, and ripening for a glorious refurrection.
2. It is real gain to them, in refpect their graves are the places of their reft; not their prifon, but their beds of reft, wherein they are to reft till the morning of the refurrection. The foul is the man, and it enHows the glory of heaven; mean while the body refts in
the grave, where it will enjoy a profound and tranquil repofe, till it be united to the foul at the time when the dead in Chrift fhall rife from their long fleep.
II, I come to fhew how death comes to be gain to them. It is a reft,
1. From all the ordinary troubles and afflictions of this life, Rev. xiv. 13. forecited.
2. From all perfecutions and hardships from men for the cause of Chrift, Job viii. 17. There the wicked ceafe from troubling; and there the weary be at reft. I fhall conclude with a few inferences.
Inf. 1. That the faints may be encouraged and ftirred up to prefs after perfection in irolinets, fince they fhall certainly obtain it at length, Phil. iii. 13. 14.
2. The wicked fhall come to a perfection, lo tọ fpeak, in their wickednefs, and immediately país into hell, Luke xvi. 22. 23.
3. There is no purgatory nor middle state betwixt heaven and hell.
4. The toils and troubles of the world, that find men in the way of the Lord, should not difcourage them, or carry them off their way, lince they will all foon have an end.
5. There is no reafon to mourn as those that have no hope for the death of godly relations, Theff. iv. 13.
6. Lastly, A dying day is the beft day for a believer that is in all his life, Eccl. vii. 1. 'Tis their marriage, home-coming, and redemption day.
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Of Benefits at the Refurrection,
HEBREWS xi. 35.
That they might obtain a better refurrection.
N this chapter the apoftle brings in a cloud of witheftes to the truth and excellency of religion,
and the power of faith, fhewing the great things faith can do, and also can fuffer. In this verfe we have an inftance of each kind. (1.) Faith got back the dead in the cafe of Elijah and the widow of Sarepta's dead fon, 1 Kings xvii. 22. 23. and of Elifha and the Shunamite's fon, 2 Kings iv. 35. 36. Herein the faith of the prophets, and the faith of the women too, was active, though the former was more ftrong than the latter. (2.) Faith made conftant martyrs, helped them to bear moft cruel tortures even to death, refufing deliverance on finful terms; which feems to refpect the martyrs of the Jewish church under Antiochus Epiphanes. What carried them up was the faith of a better refurrection. Hence two things they had the faith of.
1. Of a refurrection, that there would be a refur rection of the body; that they and their enemies, and all mankind, after death, would rife again.
2. Of a refurrection for themfelves better than that deliverance from death, which their enemies offered them. They faw by an eye of faith a glorious refurrection abiding thein and all the people of God, attended with fo many glorious benefits as might counterbalance their heavieft fufferings.
The text affords this doctrine, viz.
DocT. Believers fall obtain a refurrection from the dead, attended with fuch glorious benefits, as the faith of the fame may animate them to endure the most cruel fufferings for Christ.
Here I fhall,
I. Touch a little on the doctrine of the refurrection in general,
II. Confider the refurrection of believers, that bet ter and glorious refurrection,,
III. Lastly, Apply.
J. I fhall touch a little on the doctrine of the refur relien in general. And I fhall fhew,
1. That there fhall be a refurrection of the dead. 2. Who fhall be raised.
3. What shall be raised.
4. The author of the refurrection.
First, I am to fhew that there fhall be a refurrection of the death. This is a fundamental article of the Chriftian faith, the denying whereof is fubverfive of the foundation of Christianity, 1 Cor. xv. 13. 14. But if there be no refurrection of the dead, then is Christ not rifen. And if Christ be not rifen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is alfo vain. It is a point of faith which we owe to revelation, that reafon muft affent to as highly reasonable when propofed, Acts xxvi. 8. Two things are the caufes of mens difbelieving it, ignorance of the fcripture, and the power of God, Matth. xxii. 29. Accordingly there are two things that will clear it.
1. God is able to raise the dead; the refurrection is within the compafs of the almighty arm. Man dying, his foul does not die; and though his body be diffolved, it is not reduced to nothing; if it were, God could make it over again. But the particles which make up the body, do remain. And,
(1.) Omanifcience knows what they are, and where they are. If the duft of a thoufand generations were jumbled together, omnifcience can feparate them. An expert gardener having a hundred different feeds in his hand, can diftinguish betwixt feed and feed; and why not an omnifcient God betwixt duft and duft?
(2.) Infinite power can join them all together which belong to one man's body, and fo make it up what it was, and join the foul again to the body raised up, Luke i. 37. He made the world of nothing, and he can reform man's body of pre-exiftent matter. As the watchmaker takes down the watch, and fets every piece in its proper place; fo can God man's body.
2. God has pontively told us, that he will do it, John v. 28. 29. & vi. 39. Acts iv. 2.