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11. I would hope that some penitents are here: some, in whom that gracious word has had its accomplishment, They shall come with 'weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters, in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble; for I am a Father to Israel, and Ephraim is my first-born (a). Come, then, to the Son of God, for the merit that saves. Look to the Spirit of grace, for the influence that sanctifies. The lower you fall at the feet of Christ crucified, the louder praises are angels singing for you above. Be glad therefore, and of good courage. God will never be exceeded by angels, in loving kindness, and in tender mercies. He will be very gracious to thee at the voice of thy cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer thee (6).
12. Are any backsliders hearing me to-day? any, who having formerly known the good ways of God, are now become careless and forgetful of the things belonging to their peace? May this be the set time for your revival and return. God your Redeemer says, Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, i. e. come out from among your evil companions, renounce your sinful connections, revert to the people and to the ordinances of God! and Christ shall give thee light (c): he will restore to thee comforts of bis Spirit, and the joy of his salvation, and thou shalt again sing in the ways of the Lord, that great is the glory of the Lord (d). Stay, O stay no longer, from thy happiness! he who received thee once, will receive thee anew, and angels shall rejoice over thee afresh, if the cry of thy heart be this, I will go and return to my first husband, for then it was better with me than now (e).
(a) Jer. xxxi. 9.
(6) Isa. xxx. 19.
(c) Eph. v. 14.
13, As joy is in heaven, on account of one sinner that is born again, by spiritual regeneration, into the kingdom of grace below; great must be the joy, when a regenerated soul, loosed from the pains and dishonours of its earthly prison, is born at death, into the kingdom of glory above. Every saint, at his departure out of the body, is carried off, and carried up, by angels, into Abraham's bosom (a): admitted to the sight of Christ, and introduced to the fellowship and familiarity of spirits that never fell, and of spirits completely restored from their fall. Who can describe the joy, which obtains in heaven, on such felicitating occasions as these? The glorified soul himself rejoices, that the imaginary bitterness of death is past, and that he is safely arrived at the house not made with hands. Saints who were antecedently landed on the shores of immortality, welcome their blood-bought brother to his throne. Angels, who had been spectators of his conversion upon earth, and who lately acted as vehicles to convey him to glory, congratulate hiş admission into the mansions of bliss.
With profoundest reverence be it added, that all the three Persons in the Godhead rejoice, when the infallible designs of eternal love are glorified in the actual and ultimate salvation of a chosen sinner. As the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so will the Lord thy God rejoice over thee. Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hands of the Lord; and a royal diadem in the hands of thy God (). The Lord hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thy enemy: the king of Israel, even the Lord is in the midst of thee; thou shalt not see evil any more. The Lord thy God, in the midst of thee, is mighty. He will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy: he will rest in his love. He will joy over thee with singing (c).
(6) Isa. Ixii. 3. 5.
(c) Zeph. iii. 15. 17.
14. Still higher will be the joy in heaven, when the whole assembly of the elect, without one absentee, shall meet, and reign, and shine, and sing together, and
« walk with God,
But I must let the curtain drop. Who can paint what eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor bath entered into the heart of man to conceive? May free grace give us at last to know, by triumphant experience, what this blessedness means !
15. In order to that most desirable end, let those of us who have not yet repented, beg of God to grant us, and to work in us, the exceeding great and precious grace of effectual calling. Let those in whom repentance is wrought, beseech the Holy Ghost to deepen it, day by day; and enable us in every part of our lives and conversations, to bring forth fruits suitable to repentance (a). In this case, angels will rejoice over us whilst we live, and when we die. Happy prelude, to our endless rejoicing with them in the heaven of heavens !
Thither, O Saviour of sinners, may thy blood and righteousness bring us. Thither may thy holy Spirit guide us, and thy intercession keep us. Even unto Mount Sion, and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and the innumerable company of angels : to the general assembly, and church of the first-born, who were written in heaven ; and to God, the judge of all; and to the souls of just men, made perfect; and to thyself, the mediator of the new covenant (6). In the hour of death, smile and shine upon us. Revive us with an application of those comfortable words,
(a) Mat. iii. 8.
(6) Heb. xii. 22. 24.
The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness, shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be thy everlasting light, and thy God thy glory (a). Yea, seal us to that place, prepared for us before the foundations of the world; and concerning which, thou hast told us (6), The glory of God doth lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.