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never be imposed upon by a forged note ; he will ever put due honour upon his Father's bills; he accepts them all, for all the promises in him are yea, and in him amen. In him they are all sure to the glory of the Father, 2 Cor. i. 20. It is for the Father's honour that his bills never fail of accept-. ance and payment.
If you apply to the blessed Jesus, and offer him a bill of the largest sum, a promise of the biggest blessings, he will never say,
“ I have not so much of my Father's treasure in my hand. For he has received all things,” John iï. 35. 6 The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.” And may I not venture to say, this whole treasure is made over to the saints, “ All things are yours," I Cor. iii. 22. And they are parcelled out into bills of promise, and notes under the Father's hand. So the whole treasure of a nation sometimes consists in credit, and in promissory notes, more than in present sums of gold and silver.
Some of these divine bills are payable at sight, and we receive the sum as soon as we offer the bill; (viz.) those that must supply our present wants ; such as,
upon me IN THE DAY of trouble, and I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me,” Psalm l. 15.; and there have been many examples of such speedy payment. Psalm cxxxviii. 3. “IN THE DAY when I cried, thou answeredst me ; and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul.”
Some are only payable in general at a distant time, and that is left to the discretion, of Christ the Treasurer, (viz.) " As thy day is, so thy strength shall be,” Deut. xxxiii. 25. And we need never fear trusting him long; for this bank, in the hands of Christ, can never fail : “ For in him dwell.. eth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily," Col. ii. 9. and Ephes. iii. 8. we are told of the unsearchable riches of Christ.
Sometimes Christ may put us off with a general kind of answer, or give us a note under his hand payable on demand, in several parcels instead of a full payment all at once: thus. he dealt with his dear friend and servant Paul, in 2 Cor.
if it express
9. Doubtless Paul, in his seeking the Lord thrice for the removal of his thorn in the flesh, had pleaded several large promises of God, had offered those divine bills to Christ for acceptance and payment; but instead of this, our Lord gives him a note under his own hand, which ran in this language--" My grace is sufficient for thee.” And if we had but the faith which that blessed apostle had, we might live upon this hope ; this would be as good as present payment: for if he delay to give the full sum, it is only because he sees we have not need of it at present: he knows our necessities better than we ourselves ; he will not trust us with too much at once in our hands; but he pays us those bills when he sees the fittest time, and we have often found it so, and confessed his faithfulness.
At other times he pays us, but not in the same kind of mercy which is mentioned in the promise, yet in something more useful and valuable. If the promise mentions a tem. poral blessing, he may give us a spiritual one ; ease, he may give patience : and thus his Father's bills are always honoured, and we have no reason to complain. So the banker may discharge a bill of a hundred pounds, not with money, but with such goods and merchandize as may yield us two hundred, and we gladly confess the bill is well paid.
Some of these promises, these bills of heavenly treasure, are not made payable till the hour of our death, as,
« Blessed are those servants whom, when the Lord comes, he shall find watching, &c. Luke xii. 37. He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved, Matth. xxiv. 13. Be thou faithful to the death, and I will give thee a crown of life," Rev. ii. 10.
Others are not due till the day of the resurrection; as, " Them who sleep in Jesus will God bring with him, 1 Thess. iv. 14. I will redeem them from death, Hos. xiii. 14. Col. iii. 4. When Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Phil. iii. 20. 21. He shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body. I Peter v. I. 4. And
when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away."
Now when the great day shall come, in which our Lord Jesus Christ shall give up his mediatorial kingdom to the Father, and render an account of all his stewardship, how fair will his books appear! how just a balance will stand at the foot of all his accounts! Then shall he shew in what manner he has fulfilled the promises to the saints, and present to the Father all the bills that he has received and discharged; while all the saints shall with one voice attest it, to the honour of the High-treasurer of heaven, that he has not failed in payment even to the smallest farthing.
XVI. The SAINTS unknown in this world. Our
ut of the millions of mankind that spread over the earth, in every age, the great God has been pleased to take some into his own family, has given them a heavenly and divine nature, and made them his sons and his daughters. But he has set no outward mark of glory upon them ; there is nothing in their figure or in their countenance to distinguish them from the rabble of mankind. And it is fit that they should be in some measure unknown among their fellow mortals: their character and dignity is too sacred and sublime to be made public here on earth, where the circumstances that attend them are generally so mean and despicable. Divine wisdom has appointed the other world for the place of their full discovery ; there they shall appear like themselves, in state, equipage, and array, becoming the children of God and heirs of heaven.
Their blessed Lord himself, who is God's first-born Son, was a mere stranger, and unknown amongst men ; Ire laid aside the rays of divinity, and the form of a God, when he came down to dwell with men, and he took
him the form of a servant. He wore no divine majesty on his faces no sparks of Godhead beaming from his eyes, no glaring evidence of his high dignity in all his outward appearance. Therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him
not. But he shall be known and adored when he comes in the glory of his Father, with legions of angels; and we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him. The life of the saints is hidden with Christ in God: but when Christ, who is their life, shall appear, they also shall appear with him in glory. John iii. 1. 2. Col. iii. 3. 4. In that day they shall stand forth before the whole creation in fair evidence, they shall shine in distinguished light, and appear vested in their own undoubted honours. But here it seems proper there should be something of a cloud upon them, both upon the account of the men of this world, and
their own account too, as well as in conformity to Christ Jesus their Lord.
First, Upon their own account, because the present state of a Christian is a state of trial. We are not to walk by sight, as the saints above and angels do; they know they are possessed of life and blessedness, for they see God himself near them ; Christ in the midst of them, and glory. all around them. Our work is to live by faith ; and therefore God has not made either his love to us, or his grace so obvious and apparent to ourselves, as that every Chris. tian, even the weak and the unwatchful, should be fully assured of his salvation. He has not appointed the principle of life within us to sparkle in so divine a manner, as to be always self-evident to the best of Christians, much less to the lukewarm and the backslider. It is fit that it should not be too sensibly manifests because it is so sensibly imperfect, that we might examine ourselves whether we are in the faith, and prove ourselves, whether Christ, as a principle of life, dwell in us or not. 2 Cor. xiii. 5. While so many snares, and sins, and dangers attend us, and mingle with our spiritual life, there will be something of darkness ready to rise and obscure it, that so we may maintain a holy jealousy and solicitude about our own state, that we may search with diligence to find whether we have divine life or not, and be called and urged often to look inwards. This degree of remaining darkness, and the doubtful state
of a slothful Christian, is sometimes of great use to spur him onward in his race of holiness, and quicken him to aspire after the highest measures of the spiritual life ; that when its acts are more vigorous, it may shine with the brightest evidence, and give the soul of the believer full satisfaction and joy. It serves also to awaken the drowsy Christian to keep a holy watch over his heart and practice, lest sin and temptation make a foul inroad upon his divine life, spread still a thicker cloud over his best hopes, and break the peace of his conscience. Though the principle of grace be not always self-evident, yet we are required to give diligence, to make and to keep it sure, 2 Pet. i. 10!
And as it was proper that every little seed of grace should not shine with self-sufficient and constant evidence, on the account of the Christian himself, so, secondly, it was fit that their state and dignity should not be too obvious to the men of the world, that they might neither adore nor destroy the saints. A principle of superstition might tempt 'some weaker souls to pay extravagant honours to the Christian, if he carried heaven in his face, and it were visible in his countenance that he was a son of God. On the other hand, the malicious and perverse part of mankind might imitate the rage of Satan, and attempt the sooner to destroy the saint.
This was the case of the blessed Paul. When he had wrought a miracle at Lystra, and appeared with something divine about him, when he had healed the cripple by a mere word of command, the people cried out with exalted voices, the gods are come down to us in the likeness of men. Immediately they made a Mercury of St Paul, they turned Barnabas into Jupiter, and the priest brought oxen and garlands to the gates to have done sacrifice to them: This was the humour of the superstitious Gentiles. But in several of the Jews, their malice and envy wrought a very different effect; for they persuaded the people into fury, so that they stoned the blessed apostle, and drew him out of the city for dead, Acts xiv.