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fountain and spring of your happiness, and is still the foundation of your truest comfort.
Let your souls, and all that is within you, be stirred up to bless your gracious Redeemer, who hath ransomed you by his blood, and who, amid the exaltation of heaven, the splendour of his Father's right hand, still kindly remembers his humble followers, whose ears are ever open to their prayers, whose mouth is ever ready to plead their cause, and, as if it were not love enough to die for them, who also lives and reigns for them, yea, and even glories in being made head over all things to the church. Alas! our praises are so feeble and low, that we may blush and be ashamed to offer them.
But do you not long for heaven, that with a more elevated song than this dull state can admit, you may join in praising this object of your love? Continue yet a little longer-have patience for a while, give some farther testimonies of your faith here, and he who intercedes for you will receive you to himself; and that you may not doubt of this, read and ponder these gracious verses with which I conclude, John xvii. 24. "Father, I will, that they also whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am, that they may behold the glory which thou hast given me; for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world."
To Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, one God, be glory and honour, dominion and power, for ever. Amen.
HEBREWS xii. 28, 29.
Wherefore we, receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve GOD acceptably with reverence and godly fear: for our GoD is a consuming fire.
THE gospel of our salvation, which contains the
wholesome words of our Lord Jesus Christ, is expressly styled the doctrine which is according to godliness. It manifests the grace of God to sinners of mankind; but all who receive that grace are thereby taught effectually to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, and righteously, and godly, in this present world. It abounds with great and precious promises; but all these promises have a practical tendency, that by the belief and improvement of them, we may be made partakers of the divine nature; having escaped the pollution that is in the world through lust. Hence that exhortation, 2 Cor. vii. 1. "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let VOL. III. R
us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." If we look through the whole of divine revelation, we shall find in every part, privilege and duty inseparably connected, and the latter uniformly inferred from the former. This connection is clearly established in the passage I have read to you, which contains,
I. The distinguishing privilege of believers in Christ. "We," saith the Apostle, in name of all true Christians, "receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved."
II. An exhortation to duty, founded upon this privilege, and the motives with which it is enforced: "Let us have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear : for our God is a consuming fire."
BOTH these subjects are so extensive, that each of them might furnish materials for many discourses. All I can at present propose is, to give some assistance to your minds when you meditate upon them in private, by weighing the import of the words in which they are expressed; every one of which appears to be strongly emphatical, and full of the most instructive and comfortable meaning.
I begin with the privilege of believers in Christ Jesus, expressed in these words, "We receiving
a kingdom that cannot be moved." Where you will observe,
1st, The designation that is given to their portion. It is styled a kingdom, which, among earthly possessions is universally admitted to hold the first rank; but what is the highest dignity, and the greatest affluence that this earth can afford, when compared with the kingdom whereof my text speaks? Would you know the extent of it? you may learn it from 1 Cor. iii. 21, &c. "All things are yours." And it must be so, for God himself is the portion of his saints; for as many as receive Christ, "to them gives he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name;-and if sons, then are they also heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ Jesus." Accordingly they are said, by the apostle Peter," to be begotten again to the lively hope of an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away." Which last expression agrees with the description here given by the apostle, where he calls it a kingdom that cannot be moved; and the stability of it is explained by Peter, in the passage I just now alluded to, where he not only informs us, that this inheritance is reserved in heaven, beyond the reach of every adverse power; but likewise, that all who are begotten again to the hope of it," are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation."
You will further observe, that believers are
said to receive this kingdom. They have no natural right to it; on the contrary, by the fatal apostasy, they are children of wrath and heirs of destruction. They have no price to give for it; for they are not only wretched and miserable, but poor, and blind, and naked. It is a gift altogether free and unmerited on their part. "It is your Father's good pleasure," said Christ to his disciples, "to give you the kingdom;" and eternal life is expressly said to be "the gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Once more, you will observe, that this inheritance is not altogether future. The apostle speaks of it as a present possession. He doth not say, We looking for a kingdom that cannot be moved; but, we receiving it in the mean time. This is perfectly agreeable to what he had said, ver. 22. "Ye are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first born, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel." Believers have not only a title to the glory that shall afterwards be revealed, but they possess the earnest and first fruits of it in the mean time. Heaven is already begun in their hearts; the kingdom of