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xxi. 4: What kingdom is like unto chis? Death makes its way now into a palace, as easily as into a cottage: forrow fills the heart of one who wears a crown on his head, royal robes are no fence against pain, and crying by reason of pain. But in this kingdom no misery can have place. All reproaches shall be wiped off; and never Mall a tear drop any more froin their eyes. They shall not complain of defertions again; the Lord will never hide his face from them : but the Sun of righteousness thining upon them in his meridian-brightness, will dispel all clouds, and give them an everlasting day, without the least mixture of darknels. A deluge of wrath, after a fearful thunder-clap from the throne, will sweep away the wicked from before the judgment- seat, into the lake of fire: but they are, in the first place, like Noah brought into the ark, and out of harm's way.
Secondly, White raiment hath been a token of purity, Therefore the Lamb's wife is arrayed in fine linen, clean and white, Rev. xix. 8. And those who stood before the throne washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamh, chap. vii. 14: The saints shall then put on the robes of perfect purity, and shine in fpotless holinets, like the fun in his strength, without the least cloud to intercept his light. Absolute innocence (hall then be restored, and every appear. auce of sin banished far from his kingdom. The guilt of sin, and reigning power of it, are now taken away in the saints; nevertheless sin dwelleth in them, Rom. vii. 20. But then it shall be no more in them: the corrupt nature will be quite removed, that root of bitterness will be plucked up, and no vestiges of it left in their souls : their natura hall be altogether pure and linless. There shall be no darkness in their minds; but the understanding of every saint, when he is come to his kingdom, will be as a globe of pure and unmixed light. There shall not be the least averfion to good, or inclination to evil, in their wills: but they will be brought to a perfect conformity to the will of God; bleft with angelical purity, and fixed therein Their affections shall not be liable to the least disorder or irregularity: it will cost them no trouble to keep them right: they will get such a set of purity, as they can never lose. They will be so refined from all earthly drofs, as never to favour more of any thing but heaven. Were it possible they Thould be ser again amidst the entiaring objects of an evil world, they thould walk among then without the least defilement; as the sun thines on the dunghill, yet untainted, and as the angels preserved their purity in the midst of Sodlom. Their gruces thall then be perfected; and all the imperfections now cleaving to them, done away. There will be no more ground of complaints of weakness of grace : none in that lingdon ihull complain of an ill leart, or a corrupt nature. It doch not y t appear what we Jhall be, but--- when he Mall appear, we Mall be like liin, 1 John i. 2.
Thirali, Anoug the Jews, these who desired to be admitred into the privilly office, being tried, and found to be of the priest's line, and without blemilli, were clothed in white, and enrolled anong the
priests. This seems to be alluded to, Rev. iii. 5. “He that over: o cometh-the saints shall be clothed in white raiment, and I will « not blot out his name out of the book of life." So the saints-thall not be kings only, but priests withal; for they are a Royal Priesthood, i Pec ii. 9. They will be priests' upon their chrones. They are judi. cially found descended from the great High-Priest of their profeilion,' begotten of him by his Spirit, of the incorruprible feed of the word, and without blemish: so the trial being over, they are admitted to be priests in the temple above, that they may dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. There is nothing upon earth more glorious than a kingdom, nothing more venerable than the prielihood: and both meet 'together in the glorified state of the faints. The general allembly of the first-born, (Heb. xii. 23.) whose is the priesthood and the doubl portion, appearing in their white robes of glory, will be a reverend and glori. Cous company. That day will thew them to be the perfons, whom the Lord has chosen out of all the tribes of the earth, to be near unto him, and to enter into his temple, even into his holy place. Their priesthood, begun on earth, shall be brought to its perfection, while they ihall be employed in offering the sacrifice of praise to God and the Lamb, for ever and ever. They got not their portion, in the earth, 'with the rest of the tribes: but the Lord himself was their portion, and will be their double portion, through the ages of eternity..
Fourthly, They were wont to wear white raiment, in a time of trimmph; to the which also there seems to be an allusion, Rev. iii. 5... " He that overcometh, the same thall be clothed in white raiment." And what is heaven but an everlasting triumph! None get thither, but such as fight, and overcome too. Though Canaan was given to - the Israelites, an inheritance: they behoved to conquer it, ere they
could be possessors of it. The saints, in this world, are in the field of battle; ofren in red garments, garments rolled in blood : but the day approacheth, in which they shall stand hefore the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands, (Rev. vii.9.) having obtained a compleat victory over all their enemies. The palm was used as a sign of victory; because that tree, oppressed with weights, yieldeth not, but rather shootech upwards. And palm-trees, were carved on the doors of the most holy place, (1 Kings vi, 32.) which was a special type of heaven; for heaven is the place, which the saints are received into, as conquerors.
Behold the joy and peace of the saints in their, white robes. The joys arising from the view of past dangers, and of riches and honours gained at the very door of death, do ntoft fenfibly touch one's heart; and this will be an ingredient in the everlasting happiness of the saints, which could have had no place, in the heaven of innocent Adam, and his finless offspring, supposing him to have stood. Surely the glorified saints will not forget the entertainment they met with in the world a it will be for the glory of God to remember it, and also for the heightening of their joy. The Sicilian king, by birth the son of a potter, : ::" Pp
acted a wise part, in that he would be served at his table, with earthen vellels: the which could not but put an additional sweetness in his meals, not to be relished by one born heir to the crown. Can ever meat be so sweet to any, as to the hungry man! Or can any have such a relish of plenty, as he who has been under pinching straits : The more difficulties the faints have passed through, in their way to heaven, the place will be the sweeter to thein, when they came at it. Every happy stroke, struck in the spiritual warfare, will be a jewel in
their crown of glory. Each viciory obtained against sin, Satan, and - the world, will raise their triumphant joy the higher. The remem
brance of the cross will sweeteu the crown: and the memory of their travel through the wilderness, will put an additional verdure on the fields of glory; while they walk through them, minding the day, when they went mourning without the fur.
And now that tliey appear triumphing in white robes, it is a sign they have obtained an honourable peace; such a peace as their enemies can disturb no more. So every thing peculiarly adapted to their mili- tant condition is laid aside. The sword is laid down; and they betake theinfelves to the pen of a ready writer, to commemorate the praises of hin,' by whom they overcame. Public ordinances, preaching, facraments, thall be honourably laid alide; there is no temple there, Rev. sixi: 22. Sometimes these were sweet to them: but the travellers being all got home, the inns, appointed for their entertainment by the way, are shut up; the candles are put out, when the sun is risen; and the tabernacle used in the wilderness is folded up, when the temple of glory is corne in its room. Many of the saints duties will then be laid alide; as one gives his staff out of his hand, when he is come to the end of his journey. Praying thall then be turned to praising: and, there being no fin to confess, no wants to seek the supply of; confef. fion and petition shall be swallowed up in 'everlasting thanksgiving. There will be no mourning, in heaven; they have fown in tears, the reaping time of joy is come, and God Shall wipe away all tears from their cyes, Rev. xxi. 4. No need of mortification there; and self-exaniination is then at an end. They will not need to watch any more; the danger is over. Patience has had its perfect work, and there is no use for it there. Faith is turned into light, and hope is swallowed up in the ocean of fersible and full enjoyment. All the rebels are subdued, the faints quietly let on their throne; and fo the forces, needful in the tame of the spiritual warfure, are disbanded; and they carry on their triumph in profoundest peace. !
Lastly, White garments were worn, on festival days, in token of joy. "And so thall the saints be clothed in white raiment; for they shall keep ** everlasting fabbath to the Lord, Heb. iv. 9. There remaineth therefore a reft (or keeping of a fabbath) to the people of God. Thesabbath, in the esteem of faints, is the queen of days: and they shall have an endless Jabbatism in the kingdom of heaven; so shall their garments be always 'white. They will have an eternal reft, with an uninterrupted joy:
for heaven is not à resting place, where men may sleep out an eternity ; (there they rest not day nor night) but their work is their rest and continual recreation, and toil and weariness have no place there. They rest there in God, who is the centre of their souls. Here they find the complement, or satisfaction of all their defiress having the full enjoyment of God, and uninterrupted communion with him. This is the point, unto the which till the foul come, it will always be restless : but, that point reached, it refts; for he is the laft end, and the soul can go no farther. It cannot understand, will, nor defire more; but in him it has what is commenfurable to its boundless desires. This is the happy end of all the labours of the saints; their toil and forrows iffue in a joyful rest. The Chaldeans measuring the natural day, put the day first, and the night laft: but the Jews counted the night first, and the day last. Even so, the wicked begin with a day of rest and pleasure, but end with a night of everlasting toil and forrow: ; but God's people have their gloomy night first, and then comes their day of eternal rest. The which Abraham, in the parable, observed to the rich man in hell, Luke xvi. 25. " Son, remember that thou in " thy life-time receivedít thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil " things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.”
III. If one enquires where che kingdom of the saints lies. It is Bor in this world; it lies in a better country, that is, an heavenly, (Heb. xi. 16.) a country better than the best of this world; namely, the heavenly Canaan, Immanuel's land, where nothing is want, ing to complete the happiness of the inhabitants. This is the happy country, bleft with a perpetual spring, and which yieldeih all things for neceflicy, conveniency, and delight. There men ihall eat angels food; they shall be entertained with the hidden manna, (Rev.ji. 17.) without being set to the painful gathering of it: they will be fed to the full, with the product of the land falling into their mouchs, without the least coil to them. That land enjoys an everlasting day, for there is no night there; Rev. xxi. 25. An eternal fun.shine beautifies this better country, but there is no scorching heat there. No clouds shall be seen there for ever: yet it is not a land of drought; the crees of the Lord's planting are set by the rivers of *** water, and shall never want moisture, for they will have an eternal supply of the Spirit, by Jesus Christ, from his Father. This is the couutry from whence our Lord came, and whither he is gone again: the country which all che holy patriarchs and pro. phers had their eye upon, while on earth; and which all che saints, who have gone before us, have fought their way to; and unto which, the martyrs bave joyfully [wimmed, throngh a fta of blood. This earth is the place of the saints pilgrimage; that is, their country, where chey find their everlasting rest.
TV. The royal city is that great city, the holy Jerufalen, described, at large, Rev? xxi. 10. to the end of the chapter. (It is crue, lomp learned divines place this city in the earch: but the particulars on
the description seem to ine ro favour those most, who point us to the other world for it.) The saints shall reign in that city, whose wall is of jasper, (ver. 16.) and the foundations of the wall garnished with all manner of precious stones, (ver. 19.) and the streets of pure gold, (ver. 21.) to thac cheif feet shall be set on that, which the men of this world set their hearis upon. This is the city God hath prepared for them, Heb. xi. 16. À city that hath foundations, (ver. 10:) A continuing city, (chap. xiii. 14.) which thall hand and flourish, when all the cities of the world are laid in alhes; and which thall rot be moved, when the foundations of the world are overturned. It is a city that never changeth its inhabitants: none of them hall ever be removed out of it: for lite and immortality reign there, and no death can enter into it. It is blessed with a perfect and perpetual peace, and can never be in the least disturbed. Nothing from without can annoy it; the gates therefore are not fut at all by day, and there is no night chere, Rev. xxi. 25. There can nothing from witbin trouble it. No want of provision there; no scarcity; no discord among the inhabitants. Whatever cententigas are amongst the saints now; no vestige of their former jarrings fall remain there. Love to God, and to one another, Mall be per- ! fected: and these of them, who stood at greater distance here, will joyfully enbrace and delight in one another there..
y. The royal palace is Christ's Father's house, in which are many manjions, John xiv. 2. There all the saints dwell for ever. That is the house prepared for all the heirs of glory, even these of them who dwell in the meanest cottage now, or have not where to lay their heads. As our Lord calls his faints to a kingdom, he will provide them a house. Suitable to the dignity he puts upon them. Heaven will be a convenient, spacious, and glorious house, for those whom the King delightech to honour. Never was a house purchaled, at so dear a rate as this, being the purchase of the Me. diator's blood; and op less could it be afforded for to them: never; was chere so much ado, to fit inhabitants for a house. The saints · were, by nature, utierly unfit for this house, and human art and industry could not make them meet for it. But the Father gives the designed inhabitants to his Son, to be by him redeemed: the Son pays the price of their redemption, even his own precious blood; thai, with the allowance of justice, they may have access to the house: and the holy Spirit fančtifies them by bis grace; that they inay be mect to come in thither, where no unclean thing can enter. And no marvel, for it is the King's palace, they enter into, (Pral. xlv, 15.) The house of the kingdom, where the great King keeps his court, where he has bis throne, and shews forth his glory,
in a singular inanner beyond what mortals can conceive. I . VI. Paracile is their Palace-garden. This day shalt thou be with
me in piradise, said our Saviour co the penitent chief on the cross, Luke xxiii. 43. Heaven is a paradife for pleasure and delighe,