Obrazy na stronie

on the Son, hath everlasting life; he that believeth not the Son, shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him." It is faith which unites us to the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the heir of all things; for, "to as many as receive him, to them gives he power to become the sons of God, even to them who believe on his name;"--and if once we are made sons, then are we likewise heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ, and may confidently expect that inheritance which he hath purchased. By nature we are all children of wrath, and can look for nothing but judgment and fiery indignation, to devour us as adversaries; but immediately upon our believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, the great Mediator between God and man, we pass from death to life, God receives us into favour, adopts us into his family, and invests us with a title to all the privileges of children, of which this is the greatest and the best, that we shall dwell with him for ever in the building here spoken of, this house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

2dly, Another qualification by which the heirs of glory are distinguished, is this, that they are new creatures, born from above, born again of the Spirit of God. "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away, behold all things are become new." Whereas, "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."-" Except a man be born again,”


said the faithful and true Witness," he cannot see the kingdom of God," John iii. 3. and verse 5. Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." None but such as are born anew shall find access into this building of God, when death pulls down these earthly tabernacles. Heaven therefore is styled the inheritance of the saints in light. Nothing that is unclean can enter into that holy place. There must be a thorough change wrought in us before we can be admitted into the presence of God; for the Scriptures are peremptory on this head, that without holiness no man shall see God. Christ must be formed within us, before we can entertain the hope of glory. We only delude ourselves, if we look for happiness till our souls are renewed by the Spirit of God; for flesh and blood can never inherit the kingdom of heaven. A new heart must be given us, a new spirit must be put within us, before we can be fit for the sight and enjoyment of a holy God.

A partial reformation of manners will be of no avail-far less a mere abstinence from some grosser kinds of sin. The very frame and temper of our minds must be altered. Our corruptions must not only be restrained, but mortified. In a word, we must put off the whole old man, as the aposle beautifully expresses it," and put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness an true holiness."

3d, None shall dwell in this building of God, this house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens, but those who live as pilgrims and strangers upon earth. If we seek the things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God, then, and then only may we hope, that when he who is our life shall appear, we shall likewise appear with him in glory. It is one of the distinguishing characters of the wicked, that they mind earthly things. The children of God, on the other hand, have their conversation in heaven. They look upon that as their home, and view this world merely as a strange country, through which they must necessarily pass, before they can come to their Father's house. This heavenly temper is one of the most substantial evidences that they are born from above; for every thing tends to the place of its original. And as it proves their divine birth, so it is likewise a certain pledge of their future glory; for God will never abandon his own offspring:-" If the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in us, he that raised up Christ from the dead, shall also quicken our mortal bodies, by his Spirit that dwelleth in us." He will certainly rebuild his own temples, and not suffer them to continue always under the ruins of death. I shall only add, in the

4th place, That a constant readiness to do good to all, especially to those who are of the house

hold of faith, is another Scripture mark by which the heirs of glory are distinguished. This plainly appears from the account which our Saviour gives us of the process of the last judgment, Matt. xxv. 34. "Then shall the King say unto them upon his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat; thirsty, and ye gave me drink; 1 was a stranger, and ye took me in ; naked and ye clothed me; I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me." Which he afterwards explains thus: "in as much as ye did it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." Upon this account, Paul exhorts Timothy, to "charge them that are rich in this world, to do good, to be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate, laying up for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life." To the same purpose is that affectionate address of the apostle John, 1 John iii. 18, 19. " My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue only, but in deed and in truth; and hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him." Not that any thing done by us can merit a reward at the hand of God; for after we have done all, we are but unprofitable servants, we have done no more than was our duty; but these

acts of obedience prove the sincerity of our faith and love. They are the genuine fruits of the new nature, and may lawfully be considered as evidences of our union with Christ," who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption." Thus have I laid before you a few distinguishing characters of the heirs of glory. These are the persons for whom God hath prepared this glorious building whereof my text speaks, this house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. And what I have said upon this head, will very much facilitate the

II. INQUIRY proposed, namely, How, or by what means, the saints come to know that they shall certainly possess this glorious inheritance, when the earthly house of this tabernacle is dissolved.

Whatever proves our relation to Christ, at the same time proves our title to all the blessed fruits of his sufferings and death; for all the promises of God are in him, yea and amen. "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things." Whoever, then, can discover in himself those gracious qualifications which I formerly named, has a sufficient warrant to conclude that he is vitally united to the Lord Jesus Christ, and consequently an heir of that kingdom which he hath purchased. Thus Paul says of the pri

« PoprzedniaDalej »