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“ rit,” they shall have fellowship together, not ans. ly in love to God for what he is, and hath done, but in fervent love toward all his children, and hearty concern that sianers, by genuine conversion, may speedily be numbered with them.
Gentile finners, under the influence of this promise, shall come to beaven itself. They shall come, by a scriptural perseverance in the gracious state, temper, and practice condescended upon, until their connections with mortality be loosed. That they foould persevere, appears from the exhortation to be “ stedfast and unmoveable, always abouvd“ ing in the work of the Lord,” i Cor. xv. 58.I hat they may persevere, is evident from the example of those who drew not " back to perdition, “but” believed “ to the saving of the soul,” Heb. X. 39.-That they musi persevere, or come short of eternal life, cannot be disputed, “ if he," only, " that endureth to the end, shall be saved,” Matth. X. 22.-Nay, that they fall persevere, is put beyond doubt by the promise in our text; provision being made for their accession to the kingdom, eve. ry intermediate pre-requisite must necessarily be included.
They shall come by progress and advancement. The life of grace is progressive in its own nature;
those who are animated with it fit not still, as if they “had attained, or were already perfect;" Philip. iii. 12.- they advance really, though they should not always be sensible of it, toward “the " measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ," · Eph. iv. 13. in which their conviction, conversion, and Christian fellowship, shall finally issue.-The propriety of aspiring after such holy progress, is ascertained by the exhortation to “grow io grace," 2 Pet. iii. 18. The polibility of it is fully vouch. ed by the expericnce of Paul and the believing Ro
mans, whose “ falvation,” at every after period, was proportionally “nearer than when” they first “ believed,” Rom. xiii. 11.-And the certainty of it manifestly declared in the words of grace under consideration ;--where a term expressive of progress, is emphatically made use of ;-they shall come, i.e. from one stage to another, until they arrive at the kingdom...
They shall come, not only by perseverance and progrels in the paths of righteousness, but by the traplation of their pardoned, ransomed fouls, at the hour of death, into the palaces of falvation. They will be escorted “ by angels, into Abraham's “ bofom ;" Luke xvi. 22.-"an entrance shall be “ ministred unto" them “ abundantly into the e" verlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Je" fus Christ :” 2 Pet, i. 11. And the very “ day” that the taper of life is extinguished, their souls Thall be with him “ in paradise,” Luke xxiii. 43. .
In a word, they Thall come, by the translation of their bodies, also, at the resurrection of the just.
All, -all, without exception, who, in this life, have come to themselves, to Christ, and to a vital communion with his ransomed church; all who have persevered and advanced in these steps until death; and, all whose fouls reached the kingdom, upon the dissolution of their clay-tabernacles ;-all such, --soul and body both, hall come to the king.. dom of heaven, as foon as the business of the resurrection, and grand affair of judgment are intirely over.- In the spirited language of prophecy, " The ransomed of the Lord ihall return, and “ come to Zion, with songs, and everlasting joy “ upon their heads: they fall obtain joy and “ gladness, and forrow and sighing shall Aly away,” 11. xxxv. 19. And in the words of our apostle,
" They * Elousi.
. happinewege, ward chion, and equally the arguar
• They who sleep in Jesus, will God bring with « him; the dead in Christ shall rise first, and so “ Tall they ever be with the Lord,” i Theff. iv. 14, 16, 17.
Besides the designs of grace which God has upon the Gentiles, and the leading blessings wherewith they are pregnant to the heirs of promise,-from the first dawn of conversion, to the full meridian. of glory,-- there is still another part of the argument to be illustrated, which is equally calculated “ to rouse your ambition, and invigorate your " endeavours toward the propagation of Christi" an knowlege," namely, “ the qualites of that “ happiness to which the subjects of this grace shall “ be raised,” emphatically expressed by sitting down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and, according to the parallel pasfage, all the prophets, in the kingdom of heaven, or of God, as the other evangelist expresseth it, Luke. xiii. 28.
What! A kingdom? - The kingdom?--The kingdom of heaven?—The kingdom of God?Are not these terms emphatical beyond the powers, of language to express of the more eloquent pencil to describe, - or the still more fertile imagination to conceive?
If the glory reserved for Gentile sinners be a kingdom,—they will not only be intrusted with the services, and interested in the privileges of it; but,--how amazing the thought !-how transporting the view !- they, as heirs, shall be put in possession of the kingdom itself, and presented with all the ensigns of royalty, as-not only priests, but kings unto God.. * Their right to the kingdom is recorded by inspired writers with the utmost precision.-" I ap« point unto you•a kingdom, (said the Heir of all “ ihings,) as my Father hath appointed unto me,”
Luke xxi. 29. and “if children, (faid the apostle " to Gentile converts) then heirs, and joint heirs “ with Christ,” Rom. viii. 17. With respect to the regalia, which shall be presented to them on the threshold of glory, the sacred writings are no. less explicit.—They tell us of a crown prepared, 2 Tim. iv. 8. a throne erected, Matth. xix. 28. a robe of state finished, Rev. vi. 11. of royal apartments fitted up, John xiv. 2. of ministers in waiting ; Heb. i. 14. and what can we say more?
In our Lord's description of future bliss, it is not only called a kingdom, but, to point out the peculiar excellency of it,--the kingdom. Kingdoms, upon earth, deserve not the name ; and the regal office is meanness itself, compared with this.-It is the kingdom, in which all that can be enjoyed is comprehended, to which no acquisition can be made, from which nothing can be taken by fraud or force,--upon which no revolution can pass : And the kingdom, because the enjoyment and administration of it will be attended with no fatigue or anxiety, po distress or danger, for ever.
The blessedness in reserve for Gentile finners, is farther distinguished by our Lord's calling it sv the kingdom of heaven;" the “ third heavens," to which Paul was “ caught up,” 2 Cor. xii, 2, 4. the “paradise” of God, Luke xxiii. 43. to which the penitent thief was translated ; “the fanctuary “ and true tabernacle," Heb. viii. 1, 2. into which Christ hath entered, " where neither moth nor “ rust doth corrupt, nor thieves break through and « steal,” Matth. vi. 20.-Mall be the seat of their happiness, the theatre of their triumph.
. The glory under view will be altogether pure and spiritual, that it may suit the taste and capacities of such holy ones. This feems to be chiefly intended by giving their kingdom the cpithet of
heavenly ; heavenly ;-a heavenly country, Heb. xi, 16. and heavenly places, Eph. i. 20. divested of all that is grofs and perishing, inriched with all that is divine and incorruptible. According to this view, God himself, as an expression of his essential holiness, is frequently called, heavenly Father, Matth. xv. 13. Luke xi. 13. The angels of light, to distinguish them from the powers of darkness, are called the heavenly hoft, Luke ïi. 13. The Lord Jesus, to point out his pre-eminence, compared with the first Adam, is called the heavenly man; 1 Cor. xv. 49. and the gracious change, which makes the difference between faints and sinners, is denominated their heavenly calling, Heb. iii. 1.
Agreeable, however, to the parallel passage, the glory promised to Gentile converts, is the kingdom of God, Luke xix. 28. It bears that denomination with undoubted propriety, as the heirs “ were “ chofen,” Eph. i. 4. and the “ kingdon prepar. “ ed,” by him “ before the foundation of the “ world;" Matth. xxv. 34.-as they are kept by his almighty power, through faith unto this falvation; 1 Pet. i. 5.-as he, having the whole admi. nistration delivered up to him by the Mediator, 1 Cor. xv. 24. will be the everlasting guarantee of their happiness; and as, in the inimitable laøguage of scripture, “Every good gift, and every perfect,” the crowning gift of heaven by no means excepted, " cometh from the Father of lights,” Jam. i. 17.
But the view of future glory, which this epithet. exhibits to us, will rise, and greatly swell, in our eye, if it is added, that God himself will be the fum and substance, the “ all in all” of their inhe. ritance. The apostle of the Gentiles, who learo. ed his divinity immediately at the feet of Christ, is very bold, when he faith, that the children of grace are heirs-of what!«of pardon ?-holiness?