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This, therefore, is to be duly weighed and deeply | that we should be to the praise of his glory.' Ep. considered by us. It is not a saint, nor a minister, i. 11, 12. So that this throne is a throne of glory. nor a prophet, nor an angel that speaks, for all A glorious high throne, from the beginning is the these are but servants, but inferiors; no, it is a place of our sanctuary.' Je. xvii. 12. Now what folvoice from the throne, from authority, from the lows from this, but that they that accept of this highest authority; it is the Lord from heaven. grace give glory to God, to his grace, and to the This grace proceeds from the throne, and, there- word of his grace; such, I say, 'glorify God for fore, men must stand and fall by what shall come his mercy.' Ro. xv. 9. They glorify God for your from hence. He that comes not hither to drink professed subjection to the gospel of Christ.' 2 Co. shall die for thirst. He that refuses this water ix. 13, which is the gospel or good tidings of the now, shall not have so much as will hang upon the grace of God.' Ac. xx. 24. They, with Abraham, tip of his finger, if it would save his soul, here- believe, and give glory to God. Ro. iv. 20. And with after. How shall we escape, if we neglect so great the Gentiles they glorify the word of the Lord. Ac. salvation.' He. ii. 3.
Apostates will, therefore, from hence find griping pangs and burning coals, for they have turned themselves away from this throne, and from the grace that proceeds therefrom; nor is it to any purpose whatever they plead for themselves. They are fallen from grace, and what can help them? Christ is become of none effect unto such, whosoever is, that is, seeks to be, justified by the law; they are fallen from grace.' Ga. v. 4.
Fourth. The throne is the seat of glory, When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him; then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory.' Mat. xxv. 31. And if the throne of judgment is the seat of glory, much more the throne of grace. We will venture then to say that the throne of grace is the throne of God's glory, as the throne of judgment will be the throne of Christ's glory, and that grace proceedeth from his throne, that both it and he might have glory; glory in a way of mercy.
1. That it might have glory; therefore has he designed that grace shall be effectual in, and to the salvation of some, even to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in his Beloved.' Ep. i. 6. He has designed, not the glory of man's works, but the glory of his own grace; and, therefore, has put man's works, as to justification before God, under his feet, and counts them as filthy rags; but has set his grace up above, has made it a king, given it authority to reign, has provided for it a throne, and called that throne the throne of grace, from whence it also proceeds to its own praise and glory, in and by the effectual salvation of those that receive it, and receive it not in vain.
But to slight grace, to do despite to the Spirit of grace, to prefer our own works to the derogating from grace, what is it but to contemn God? to contemn him when he is on the throne, when he is on the throne of his glory? I say, it is to spit in his face, even then when he commands thee to bow before him, to subject unto him, and to glorify the grace of his glory, that proceeds from the throne of his glory. If men in old time were damned because they glorified him not as God, shall not they be more than damned, if more tlran damned can be, who glorify him not for his grace? And, to be sure, none glorify him for his grace but those that close in therewith, and submit themselves thereto. Talkers of grace are but mockers of God, but flatterers of God. Those that only talk highly of grace, and submit not themselves unto it, are but like to those that praise a look, or flatter him in his own conceits. Grace God has exalted, has set it upon the throne, and so made it a king, and given it authority to reign; and thou goest by, and hearest thereof, but wilt not submit thyself thereto, neither thy soul nor thy life; why, what is this more than to flatter God with thy lips, and than to lie unto him with thy tongue? what is this but to count him less wise than thyself? while he seeks glory by that by which thou wilt not glorify him; while he displays his grace before thee in the world from the throne, and as thou goest by, with a nod thou callest it a fine thing, but followest that which leadeth therefrom? Tremble, tremble, ye sinners, that have despised the richness of his goodness; the day is coming when ye shall behold, and wonder, and perish, if grace prevaileth not with you to be content to be saved by it to the praise of its glory, and to the glory of him who hath set it upon the throne. Ac. xiii. 38-41.
2. As grace is exalted, and made to proceed out of the throne, to its own praise, to its own glory; so is it also thus exalted and made flow to us like Fifth. The throne is the seat of wisdom. Hence, a river, that we should be the praise of the glory he is called the Ancient of Days,' that sits on this of him that hath exalted it. We that receive it, throne, the throne of God. Da. vii. 9. Infinite in wisand submit unto the throne whence it proceeds, dom, whose garments were white as snow, and the have thereby obtained an inheritance, being pre-hair of his head like pure wool. By Ancient of destinated according to the purpose of him who Days, and in that it is said the hair of his head is worketh all things after the counsel of his own will, like the pure wool, his wisdom is set forth unto us.
Wherefore, when we read that out of the throne | Greeks, to the wise, is foolishness, and the preachproceeds a river of grace; when we read this pro-ing of it a foolish thing to them; but it will appear ceedeth out of the throne of God, it is as much as even then, when the conclusion of all things is come, to say the wise God, who most perfectly knoweth and when these wise ones, by their wisdom, have all ways, counteth, in his wisdom, that to save men fooled themselves to hell, that this foolishness of by grace is the best, most safe, and sure way: God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace, is stronger than men.' 1 Co. i. 21–25. to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed.' Ro. iv. 16. And, again, forgiveness is according to the riches of his grace, wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence. Ep. i. 7, 8.Wherefore, to set grace upon the throne, to let grace proceed out of the throne as a river, is by the wise God, the only wise God, counted the best way, the safest way, the way that doth best suit the condition of a sinful man, and that tends most to the utter disappointment of the devil, and death, and hell. Grace can justify freely, when it will, who it will, from what it will. Grace can continue to pardon, favour, and save from falls, in falls, out of falls. Grace can comfort, relieve, and help those that have hurt themselves. And grace can bringing of the wisdom of God. the unworthy to glory. This the law cannot do, this man cannot do, this angels cannot do, this God cannot do, but only by the riches of his grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ. Wherefore, seeing God has set grace on the throne, and ordered that it should proceed from this throne to the world; yca, seeing he has made it king, and granted to it, to it only, the authority and sovereignty of saving souls, he has magnified not only his love, but his wisdom and his prudence before the sons of men. This, then, is his great device, the master-piece of all his witty inventions; and, therefore, it is said, as was hinted before, in this thing he hath proceeded towards us in ALL wisdom and prudence. 2 Sa. xiv. 14. Pr. viii. 11, 12.
So then, he that comes to, and drinks of this water, glorifies God for his wisdom, praises God for his wisdom. Such an one saith that God is only wise, and, bowing his head, saith again, to God only wise, be glory both now and for ever. Amen.' But he that shall contemn this grace, confronts the highest wisdom, even wisdom upon the throne; he saith to himself, I am wiser than ́Daniel, than the judgment of God. I could have found out a more safe way to heaven myself; and had I been of God's council, I would have told him All this, so horrible blasphemy, naturally proceeds from him that liketh not that grace should be king on the throne, and should proceed out of the throne to the world; but 'shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him?' He that reproveth God, let him answer it. Job xl. 2.
The text says, that this very doctrine to the
1 By the text,' in this and other places, is meant the text of sacred Scripture; not the particular passage, or text, on which this treatise is founded.--(ED.)
Christ Jesus, because he was low in the world, is trampled upon by some, but he is a glorious throne to his Father's house for since his humility was the lowest of all, now he is exalted to be the throne of God, yea, is made the fountain whence grace continually flows, like the rivers, and comes down to us like a mighty stream. Wherefore, I will conclude this with both comfort and caution: with comfort, and that because of the security that they are under that indeed have submitted themselves to grace; sin shall not have dominion over you; for ye are not under the law, but under grace.' And let it be a caution to those that despise. Take heed, it is dangerous affrontNow here is the wisdom of God, even wisdom upon the throne. It pleased God, for the glory of his wisdom, to make this the way to wit, to set up grace to reign. I have often thought, and sometimes said, if God will be pleased with any way, surely he will be pleased with his own. Now this is the way of his own devising, the fruit and effect of his own wisdom; wherefore, sinner, please him, please him in that wherein he is well pleased. Come to the waters, cast thyself into them, and fear not drowning; let God alone to cause them to carry thee into his paradise, that thou mayest see his throne.
Sixth. The throne is the seat of faithfulness, the place of performing of engagements and promises. When I shall receive the congregation,' saith Christ, I will judge uprightly,' that is faithfully. Ps. lxxv. 2. And now he has received it, and is made head over all things to it. Ep. i. 22, 23. And for this cause is he upon the throne, yea, is the throne, from whence proceeds all this grace, that like a river doth flow, and glide from heaven into the world. This river, then, is nothing else but the fulfilling of promises; the faithful fulfilling of promises. If I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.' Ju. xvi. 7. This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh,' &c. Ac. ii. 16-18. Now this river is the Spirit, the Spirit and grace of God, which was promised by the Father and the Son, and now it comes running from the throne of God and of the Lamb. For being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the pro mise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this which ye now see and hear.' Ac. ii. 33,
Behold, then, how mindful, how careful, how faithful our Father and the Lamb of God is! It is not exaltation, nor glory, nor a crown, nor a kingdom, nor a throne, that shall make him neglect his poor ones on earth. Yea, therefore, even because he is exalted and on the throne, therefore it is that such a river, with its golden streams, proceeds from the throne to come unto us. And it shall proceed to be far higher than ever was the swellings of Jordan. True, it runs not so high now as in former days, because of the curse of God upon Antichrist, by whose means the land of God's people is full of briers and thorns. Is. xxxii. 13-17. But when the tide is at the lowest, then it is nearest the rising; and this river will rise, and in little time be no more so low as but ancle-deep; it will be up to the knees, to the loins, and be a broad river to swim in. Eze. xlvii. For 'there the glorious Lord will be unto us a place of broad rivers and streams.' Is. xxxiii. 21. 'And there shall be no more curse' in the church, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and his servants shall serve him' without molestation. Re. xxii. 3–6.
a throne, grace and goodness should follow us in the wilderness from thence so long as here we abide. Wherefore David, considering this, said, Surely goodness and mercy shall FOLLOW me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.' Ps. xxiii. 6.
But whence must this come? The text says from the throne; from the throne, the seat of justice; for from thence, by reason of what HE hath found in Christ for us, he, in a way of righteousness and justice, lets out to us rivers of his pleasures; whose original is that great and wide sea of mercy that flows in his infinite heart beyond thought.
All is paid for both US and grace. Jn. vii. 39. We are bought with a price. 1 Co. vi. 20. He has obtained eternal redemption for us. He. ix. 12. Yea, and as we are made his, and heaven made ours thus, so this river of grace has been also obtained by him for us. Ja. vii. 38. Wherefore, all comes to us in a way of justice and righteousness. Hence we are said to obtain 'faith through the righteousness of God,' 2 Pe. i. 1; that is, through the justice of God, These sayings are faithful and true,' and in and of Jesus our Lord. Mark, here is the justice faithfulness shall they, from the throne of God and of God, and the justice of Jesus our Lord; and we of the Lamb, be performed to the church. Faith-have our faith from the justice of God, because of fulness in him that rules, is that which makes Sion the righteousness of Jesus our Lord; that is, Jesus rejoice; because thereby the promises yield milk answered with works of justice the demands of and honey. For now the faithful God, that keep-justice; and therefore, in a way of justice, grace eth covenant, performs to his church that which he told her he would. Wherefore, our rivers shall run, and our brooks yield honey and butter. Job xx. 17. Let this teach all God's people to expect, to look, and wait for good things from the throne. But, O! methinks this throne, out of which good comes like a river! who would not be a subject to it? who would not but worship before it? But,
Seventh. A throne is the seat of justice.' Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne.' Ps. lxxxix. 14. And it is also from justice that this river of grace flows to us: justice to Christ, and justice to those that are found in him. Ro. iii. 24. God declares that he can justly justify, and justly forgive. 1 Jn. i. 9. Now, if he can justly justify and justly forgive, then can he give grace, and cause that it should proceed to, yea, flow after us as a river. 1 Co. x. 4. The river that gushed out of the rock in the wilderness ran after the people there, wherefore they wandered therein. They drank of the rock that followed them; the rock was not removed out of his place, but the flood followed them whither they went. He opened the rock and the waters gushed out; they ran in the dry places like a river.' Ps. cv. 41. This rock, saith he, was Christ, that is, figuratively: and this throne is Christ really: and the water gushing out of the rock, and following of them in the wilderness, was to show how, when Christ became
reigns, and comes to us like a river, as is signified, for that it is said to come to us out of the throne.
Again, grace is said to reign through righteousness unto eternal life.' Ro. v. 21. Through what righteousness? the righteousness or justice of God by Jesus Christ our Lord. By Jesus Christ, or for his sake. For for his sake, as I said, we are forgiven; and for his sake have all things pertaining to life and godliness. Which all things come to us, through, or down, the stream of this river in a way of justice; and, therefore, it is said to come from the throne.
Eighth. This throne is the seat of grace and mercy; and, therefore, it is called the mercy-seat and throne of grace. This throne turns all into grace, all into mercy. This throne makes all things work together for good. It is said of Saul's sons, they were not buried after they were hanged, until water dropped upon them out of heaven. 2 Sa. xxi. 10, 14. And it may be said of us there is nothing suffered to come near us, until it is washed in that water that proceeds from the throne of grace. Hence afflictions flow from grace, Ps. cxix. 67; persecutions flow from grace; poverty, sickness, yea, death itself is now made ours by the grace of God through Christ. 1 Co. iii. 22; Re. iii. 19; He. xii. 5—7. O grace, O happy church of God! all things that happen to thee are, for Christ's sake, turned into grace. They talk of the philosopher's stone, and
how, if one had it, it would turn all things into | in heaven; and the first voice which I heard was, gold. O! but can it turn all things into grace? as it were, of a trumpet talking with me, which can it make all things work together for good? said, Come up hither, and I will show thee things No, no, this quality, virtue, excellency, what shall which must be hereafter. And immediately I was I call it, nothing has in it, but the grace that in the Spirit, and behold a THRONE WAS SET IN reigns on the throne of grace, the river that pro- HEAVEN, and one sat upon the throne.' ceeds from the throne of God. This, this turns majesty, authority, the highest authority, glory, wisdom, faithfulness, justice, and all into grace. IIere is a throne ! God let us see it. John had the honour to see it, and to see the streams proceeding from it. O sweet sight! O heart-ravishing sight! 'He showed me a pure river of water of life proceeding out of the throne of God.'
Indeed, as was hinted before, in the days of the reign of Antichrist there are not those visions of this throne, nor of the river that proceedeth therefrom. Now he holdeth back the face of his throne, and spreadeth a cloud upon it; but the preserving, saving benefits thereof we have, as also have all the saints, in the most cloudy and dark day. And since we can see so little, we must believe the more; and by believing, give glory to God. We must also labour for more clear Scripture knowledge of this throne; for the holy Word of God is the perspective glass by which we may, and the magnifying glass that will cause us to behold, 'with open face, the glory of the Lord.' 2 Co. iii. 18. But, methinks, I have yet said nothing of this throne, which is indeed none other but the spotless and glorified humanity of the Son of God. This throne is the Lord Jesus, this grace comes from the Divine Majesty, as dwelling bodily in the Lord Jesus. Wherefore let us fall down before the throne, and cast our crowns at the foot of the throne, and give thanks to him that sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb for ever and ever. O how should Jesus be esteemed of! The throne of the king is a royal seat: it is said of Solomon's, 'there was not the like made in any kingdom.' 1 Ki. x. 20. But of this it may be said there is not its like in heaven and earth. At the setting up of this throne, the angels flocked round about it, and the beasts and the elders gathered together to see it. Re. iv. When this throne was set in heaven, there was silence, all the heavenly host had no leisure to talk; they were surprised with sight and wonder. When this throne was set in heaven, what talk there was! it was as the music of the trumpet.1
'And behold,' says Jolin, a door was opened
The solemn silence, and the sound of the trumpet, took place in quick succession when the medium of prayer and praise, from fallen man, was first exhibited in heaven. When Christ was revealed to John, as the throne upon which God received the prayers of all his saints, awe, and wonder, and silence, was felt in heaven for the space of half an hour; then came the sound of the trumpet with dire events to those who had refused to pray in the name of Christ.—(ED.)
This throne was Jesus Christ exalted, SET, that is, lifted up, not as upon the cross to the contempt. and scorn of his person, but, as I said, to the wonderment of the four beasts, and the elders, and all the angels in heaven. A throne was set in heaven, and one sat upon the throne;' that is, God. And this intimates his desirable rest for ever; for to sit is to rest, and Christ is his rest for ever. Was it not, therefore, well worth the seeing? Yea, if John had taken the pains to go up thither upon his hands and knees, I say, to see the Lord Jesus as a throne set in heaven, and the glory of God resting and abiding upon him, and giving out by him all things, not only his Word, but all his dispensations and providences, to the end of the world; and this blessed thing among the rest, even a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal,' [how richly would he have been rewarded for his pains.]
[THE NATURE AND QUALITY OF THIS WATER.] [FOURTH.] But I leave this, and proceed to the fourth and last thing, namely, to the nature and quality of this water. It is said to be pure and clear; pure and clear as crystal. 'And ho showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal.' I know that there is a two-fold quality in a thing, one with respect to its nature, and the other with respect to its operation. The first of these is inherent, and remaineth in the subject being as such, and so for the most part useless. The other is put forth then when it meetęth with fit matter on which it may freely work. As to instance aquæ vitæ, the very metaphor here made use of, hath a quality inherent in it, but keep it stopped up in a bottle, and then who will may faint notwithstanding; but apply it, apply it fitly, and to such as have need thereof, and then you may see its quality by the operation. This water, or river of grace, is called, I say, the water of life, and so, consequently, has a most blessed inherent quality; but its operation is seen by its working, the which it doth only then when it is administered and received for those ends for which it is administered. For then it revives where life is, and gives life where it is not. And thus far, in the general, have we spoken to it already. We will, therefore, in this place more particularly, though briefly, speak a few words unto it.
[The operative quality of this water.] FIRST. Then this water of life is the very ground
work of life in us, though not the groundwork of life | the Spirit, by which the soul is made capable of understanding what God and himself is.
for us. The groundwork of life for us is the passion and merits of Christ, this is that for the sake of which grace is given unto us, as it is intimated by the text; it proceeds from the throne of God, who is Christ. Christ then having obtained grace for us, must needs be precedent, as to his merit, to that grace he hath so obtained. Besides, it is clear that the Spirit and grace come from God through him; therefore, as to the communications of grace to us, it is the fruit of his merit and purchase. But, I say, in us grace is the groundwork of life; for though we may be said before to live virtually in the person of Christ before God, yet we are dead in ourselves, and so must be until the Spirit be poured upon us from on high; for the Spirit is life, and its graces are life, and when that is infused by God from the throne, then we live, and not till then. And hence it is called, as before, living water, the water of life springing up in us to everlasting life. The Spirit, then, and graces of the Spirit, which is the river here spoken of, is that, and that only, which can cause us to live; that being life to the soul, as the soul is life to the body. All men, therefore, as was said before, though elect, though purchased by the blood of Christ, are dead, and must be dead, until the Spirit of life from God and his throne shall enter into them; until they shall drink it in by vehement thirst, as the parched ground drinks in the rain.1
Now when this living water is received, it takes up its seat in the heart, whence it spreads itself to the awakening of all the powers of the soul. For, as in the first creation, the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters, in order to putting of that creature into that excellent fashion and harmony which now we behold with our eyes; even so the new creation, to wit, the making of us new to God, is done by the overspreading of the same Spirit also. For the Spirit, as I may so say, sitteth and broodeth upon the powers of the soul, as the hen doth on cold eggs, till they wax warm and receive life. The Spirit, then, warmeth us, and bringeth the dead and benumbed soul-for so it is before conversion-to a godly sense and understanding of states, of states both natural and spiritual; and this is the beginning of the work of
Thus the Spirit of God in regeneration produces light out
of darkness, makes the barren heart fruitful, and from confusion, discord, and eninity, brings order, harmony, and tranquillity. The renewed man is actuated by new hopes and fears; his judgment is enlightened, his will rectified, and his heart transformed; his eyes being divinely opened he sees into eternity; he has a hope full of immortality; spiritual appetites are excited in his soul; his affections are raised to God and heaven; his soul thirsteth for God, for the living God! Thus the Spirit giveth life to the dead, eyes to the blind, speech to the dumb, feet to the lame, and the hand of faith to lay hold on Christ for complete salvation.—(Mason.)
And this drinking in of the Spirit is rather as the ground drinks in rain, than as a rational soul does through sense of the want thereof.
The Spirit also garnisheth the soul with such things as are proper for it, to the making of it live that life that by the Word of God is called for.
It implanteth light, repentance, faith, fear, love, desires after God, hope, sincerity, and what else is necessary for the making the man a saint; these things, I say, are the fruits and effects of this Spirit which, as a river of water of life, proceedeth forth of the throne of God and of the Lamb. Hence the Spirit is called the Spirit of faith, the Spirit of love, and the Spirit of a sound mind; for that the Spirit is the root and original of all these things, by his operations in, and upon, the face of the soul. 2 Co. iv. 13. Ga. v. 22. 2 Ti. i. 7.
But, again, as this living water, this Spirit and the grace thereof, doth thus, so it also maintains these things once planted in the soul, by its continual waterings of them in the soul. Hence he saith, I will water it every moment;' water IT— his vineyard, the soul of the church, the graces of the church; and so the soul and graces of every godly man. Is. xxvil, 3.
And because it so happeneth sometimes, that some of those things wherewith the Holy Ghost has beautified the soul may languish to a being, if not quite dead, yet ready to die,' Re. iii. 2, therefore he doth not only refresh and water our souls, but renews the face thereof, by either quickening to life that which remains, or by supplying of us with that which is new, to our godly perseverance and everlasting life. Thus thou visitest the earth, and waterest it; thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God.' Ps. lxv. 9.
For this must be remembered, that as the herb that is planted, or seed sown, needs watering with continual showers of the mountains, so our graces, implanted in us by the Spirit of grace, must also be watered by the rain of heaven. Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly: thou settlest the furrows thereof: thou makest it soft with showers: thou blessest the springing thereof.' Pa. lxv. 10. Hence he says that our graces shall grow. But how? I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall
grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Leb
His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon. They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon.' Ho. xiv. 5–7. Or, as he saith in another place, The Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden,