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heathens, Plato, Cicero, Hierocles, Plutarch, Antonine, Epictetus, and many others; but I miss in them the expressions of that holy and heavenly flame of mind and life, and that victory over the flesh and world, which Christianity containeth.
3. Christ is like the sun, whose beams give some light before it is seen itself at its rising, and after it is set. The light of Jews and heathens was as the dawning of the day before sun-rising. And the light among the Mahometans is like the light of the sun which leaveth it when it is set.
Doubtless, the same God who hath used Mahometans to be his dreadful scourge to wicked Christians, who abused the gospel by a false profession, hath also used them to do abundance of good against idolatry in the heathen world. Wherever they come, idolatry is destroyed. Yea, the corrupt Christians, Greeks, and especially papists, that worship images, angels, and bread, are rebuked, and condemned justly by Mahometans. But that they who have conquered so far
O by the sword, were conquered by the sacred word of truth, and truly understood the mystery of redemption, and the doctrine of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
Obj. But they think us idolaters for saying that Christ is God, and believing the Trinity.
1. As to the trinity: it is no contradiction that one fire or sun should have essentially a virtue or power to move, light, and heat ; nor that one soul should have a power of vegetation, sense,
and reason; nor as rational, to have a peculiar power or vitality, intellection, and free-will. Why then should the Trinity seem incredible?
2. We do not believe that the Godhead hath any change, or is made flesh, or the manhood made God, but that the Godhead is incomprehensibly united to the human nature by assumption, so as he is united to no other creature, by and for those peculiar operations on the humanity of Christ, which make him our Redeemer.
They that well think that God is all in all things, more than a soul to all the world, and as near to us as our souls to our bodies, in whom we live, and move, and have our being, will find that it is more difficult to apprehend, how God is further from any soul, than that he is so much one with Christ: save that different operations of God on his creatures are apparent to us.
By all this we see that every sanctified Christian hath the certain witness in himself that Christ is true. He is truly a physician that healeth, and a Savior that saveth all that seriously believe and obey him. The Spirit of God in a new, and holy, and heavenly nature of spiritual life, and light, and love, is the witness.
VI. The sixth article in my text is 'Received up into glory.'
That Christ after forty days' continuance on earth, was taken up into heaven, in the sight of his disciples, is a matter of fact of which we have all the forementioned infallible proof, which I must not here again repeat.
And, 1. If Christ were not glorified now in heaven, he could not send down his Spirit with his word on earth, nor have enabled the first witnesses to speak with all tongues, and heal the sick, and raise the dead, and do all the miracles which they did. A dead man cannot send down the holy Spirit in likeness of fiery cloven tongues, nor enable thousands to do such works; nor could he do what is done on the souls of serious believers in all ages and nations to this day. He is sure alive that makes men live ; and in heaven, that draws up hearts to heaven.
2. And this is our hope and joy: heaven and earth are in his power. The suffering and work which he performed for us on earth was short, but his heavenly intercession and reign is everlasting. Guilty souls can have no immediate access to God. All is by a Mediator : all our receivings from God are by him, and all our services are returned by him, and accepted for his sake. And as he is the Mediator between his Father and us, his Spirit intercedeth between him and us. By his Spirit he giveth us holy desires, and every grace. And by his Spirit we exercise them in returns to him.
And our glorified Savior hath Satan, and all our enemies, in his power : life and death are at his command : all judgment is committed to him. He that hath redeemed us is preparing us for heaven, and it for us, and receiveth our departing souls to his own joy and glory. He hath promised us that we shall be with him where he is, and shall see his glory. He that is our Savior, will be our Judge. He will come with thousands of his angels to the confusion of wicked unbelievers, and to be glorified in his saints. He will Vol. II.
make a new heaven and a new earth, in which righteousness shall dwell. Angels and glorified saints shall, with Christ our head, make one city of God, or holy society and choir, in perfect love and joy, to praise the blessed God forever.
The differences between this world, and that which I am going to.
1. This world is God's footstool. That is his throne.
II. Here are his works of inferior nature and of grace. There he shineth forth in perfect glory.
III. Here is gross, receptive matter moved by invisible powers. There are the noblest efficient communicative powers moving all.
IV. This is the inferior, subject, governed world. That is the superior, regent world.
V. This is a world of trial, where the soul is his that can win its consent. That is a world where the will is perfectly determined and fixed.
VI. Satan winning men's consent hath here a large dominion of fools. There he is cast out, and hath no possession.
VII. Here he is a tempter and troubler of the best. There he hath neither power to tempt nor trouble.
VIII. This world is as the dark womb where we are regenerated. That is the world of glorious light into which we are born.
IX. Here we dwell on a world of sordid earth. There we shall dwell in a world of celestial light and glory.
X. Here we dwell in a troublesome, tempting, perishing body. There we are delivered from this burden and prison into glorious liberty.
XI. Here we are under a troublesome cure of our maladies. There we are perfectly healed, rejoicing in our Physician's praise.
XII. Here we are using the means in weariness and hope. There we obtain the end in full fruition.
XIII. Here sin maketh us loathsome to ourselves, and our own annoyance. There we shall love God in ourselves, and our perfect selves in God.
XIV. Here all our duties are defiled with sinful imperfection. There perfect souls will perfectly love and praise their God.
XV. Here Satan's temptations are a continual danger and molestation. There perfect victory hath ended our temptations.
XVI. Here still there is a remnant of the curse and punishment of sin. Pardon and deliverance are perfected there.
XVII. Repenting, shaine, sorrow, and fear, are here part of my necessary work. There all the troublesome part is past, and utterly excluded.
XVIII. Here we see darkly, as in a glass, the invisible world of spirits. There we shall see them as face to face.
XIX. Here faith, alas ! too weak, must serve instead of sight. There presence and sight suspend the use of such believing.
XX. Desire and hope are here our very life and work. But there it will be full felicity in fruition.
XXI. Our hopes are here oft mixed with grievous doubts and fears. But there full possession ends them all.
XXII. Our holy affections are here corrupted with carnal mixtures. But there all are purely holy and divine.
XXIII. The coldness of our divine love is here our sin and misery. The perfection of it will be there our persect holiness and joy.
XXIV. Here, though the will itself be imperfect, we cannot be and do what we would. There will, and deed, and attainment, will all be fully perfect.
XXV. Here, by ignorance and self-love, I have desires which God denieth. There perfect desires shall be perfectly fulfilled.
XXVI. Here pinching wants of something or other, and troublesome cares, are daily burdens. Nothing is there wanting, and God hath ended all their cares.
XXVII. Sense here rebelleth against faith, and reason, and oft overcometh. Sense there shall be only holy, and no discord be in our faculties or acts. XXVIII. Pleasures and contents here are short, narrow,
and twisted with their contraries. There they are objectively pure and boundless, and subjectively total and absolute.
XXIX. Vanity and vexation are here the titles of transitory things. Reality, perfection, and glory, are the titles of the things above.
XXX. This world is a point of God's creation, a narrow place for a few passengers. Above are the vast, capacious regions, sufficient for all saints, and angels.
XXXI. This world is as Newgate, and hell as Tyburn; some are hence saved, and some condemned. The other world is the glorious kingdom of Jehovah with the blessed.
XXXII. It was here that Christ was tempted, scorned, and crucified. It is there where he reigneth in glory over all.
XXXIII. The spiritual life is here as a spark or seed. It is there a glorious flame of love, and joy, and the perfect fruit and flower.
XXXIV. We have here but the first-fruits, earnest, and pledge. There is the full and glorious harvest and perfection.
XXXV. We are here children in minority, litile differing from servants. There we shall have full possession of the inheritance.
XXXVI. The prospect of pain, death, grave, and rottenness, blasteth all the pleasures here. There is no death, or any fear of the ending of felicity.
XXXVII. Here, even God's word is imperfectly understood, and errors swarm, even in the best. All mysteries of nature and grace are there unveiled in the world of light.
XXXVIII. Many of God's promises are here unfulfilled, and our prayers unanswered. There truth shineth in the full performance of them all.
XXXIX. Our grace is here so weak, and hearts so dark, that our sincerity is oft doubted of. There the flames of love and joy leave no place for such a doubt.
XL. By our inconstancy, here one day is joyful and another sad. But there our joys have no interruption.
XLI. We dwell here with sinful companions, like ourselves, in fesh. There holy angels and souls, with Christ, are all our company.
XLII. Our best friends and helpers are here, in part, our hinderers by sin. There all concur in the harmony of active love.