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within ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. And since we are pilgrims and strangers, who would not desire to be at home in his native country ? For here we walk in absence, and in faith, but not in sight. For now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face, as he saith, 1 Cor. xiii. 12. Who would not long after this sight, since we see that the holy men of God have craved after it ? As we read in Psalm xlii. “ As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God! My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God; when shall I come and appear before God ? My tears have been my meat, day and night, while they continually say unto me, where is thy God ?” This unutterable glorious sight of God is so great (as the prophet saith) Isa. Ixiv. 4. 1 Cor. ii. 9. That eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. Again David saith, that a day in the courts of the Lord, is better than a thousand; yea I had rather be a door-keeper in the house of God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. Psa. Ixxxiv. 10. How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts ! blessed are they that dwell in thy house : they will be still praising thee. Psa. Ixxxiv. 1, and 4. And they shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures. For with thee is the fountain of life, in thy light shall we see light : Psa. xxxvi. 8, and 9. This is the delightful mansion, of which Christ spake by John, In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I . would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also; John xiv. 2, and 3. Nainely
in the new Jerusalem, which has no need of the sun, neither of the moon, for the glory of God lightens it, and the lamb is the light thereof. Rev. xvi. 23. There God will wipe away all tears from our eyes, and death shall be no more: which is the last enemy that God will trample under his feet. There God hath prepared a glorious wedding, where we shall sit at the table of the Lord, together with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; and blessed are they who are called to this wedding or supper.
We cannot come to this supper by any other means than through death, therefore Paul saith, Phil. i. 21. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. And as soon as the faithful depart from hence, they enter into eternal rest, as Christ saith, John xii. 26. Where I am, there shall also my servants be : Again, He that heareth my word and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life. John v. 14. Which is also plainly to be observed in the malefactor, when he prayed and said, Lord remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. Luke xxiii. verse 42, 43.
Upon which Christ answered him, To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise. Therefore Paul justly said (agreeably to this, I desire to depart and to be with Christ. Phil. i. 23. Solomon likewise saith, Eccl. xii. 7. That dust must return to the earth as it was, and the spirit unto God who gave it.-Which also evidently appears in the example of Enoch and Elias, who were both taken up into heaven, where our freedom and conversation are; Phil. iii. 20, 21, from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body. And we cannot arrive to this state of glory, unless through much tribulation, of which Jesus Sirach elegantly speaks; My Sorr, (saith he) if thou come to serve the Lord prepare thy soul for temptation : In which thou shalt also rejoice, thou who hast for a short time mourned with much temptation. And Peter saith, But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, will make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. 1 Pet. v. 10. Again Paul saith, If so be that we suffer with Christ, we shall also be glorified together. Rom. vii. 17, 18. For the sufferings of this present time, are not to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us. 2 Cor. iv. 17. For our affliction is temporal and light, but worketh an eternal and exceeding weight of glory. And David said, Psa. xxx. 5. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. Therefore rejoice, that when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 1 Pet. iv. 13. Christ hath also suffered without the gate, therefore let us also go forth unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For herein hath Christ left us an example, that we should follow his steps. Heb. xiii. 12, 13. Again Peter saith, Forasmuch then, as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind. For he that suffers in the flesh ceaseth from sin. 1 Pet. iv. 1. Moreover the apostle James also saith, my beloved brethren, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations. Jam. i. 2. and Paul likewise saith, Rom. v. 3, 4, and 5. We glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation worketh natience, and patience, experience, and experience hope, and hope maketh us not ashamed.
For which reason we must not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when we are rebuked of him ; for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and he scourgeth every son whom he receiveth ; which may be seen at large in the 12th chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews: be therefore patient, and stablish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. Jam. v. 8, 10, and 11. Take also the prophets for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience; we count them happy which endure, for we have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord, who have left us an example of perseverance. For we see that Christ for the suffering of death, hath been crowned with never fading honour. Heb. ii. 9. Therefore Christ also saith, he that endureth to the end shall be saved : Mat. x. 22. And the "apostle Paul saith, 2 Tim. iv. 7, and 8, I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, 'I have kept the faith, henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord shall give me ; and not only to me, but unto all them that love his appearing. Likewise James saith, i. 12. blessed is the man that endureth temptation, for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
To obtain this crown of righteousness, we must manfully fight against all our enemies, who attack us on all sides : particularly against the wiles of the devil, against which put on the whole armour of God, with which you will be able to withstand the devil and all his might. Peter speaking of this fight, saith, that the devil walketh about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour: 1 Pet. v. 8, 9. whom resist stedfast in the faith, and he will flee from you. This victory and resistance we have of God through Christ, who tramples the devil under our feet, in whose power and bonds we are bound. He is the prince of this world whom Christ hath cast out; and we have likewise through him obtained the victory, and are also through faith made partakers of him. He is the old serpent who seeks to devour us, who did devour our first parents, and who still bites us on the heel, wherefore he is called a murderer from
'the beginning. Therefore we must be diligent in our guard against his wiles, as Peter saith, be sober and watch unto prayer, 1 Pet. iv. 7. For as Christ saith, we know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Lord will come. Mat. xxv. 13. But this ye know, that if the good man of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched. Luke xii. 39, 40, 45, and 46. Be ye ready therefore also, for the son of man will coine at an hour when we watch not, but begin to beat our fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards ; then the Lord will come, and cut us in sunder, and our portion will be with the hypocrites : Mark ix. 24. there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, there the worm never -dieth, and the fire is not quenched. For we certainly know that the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; when we shall say, peace and safety, then sudden destruction will come upon us, as travail upon a woman with child, 2 Pet. ij. 10. Therefore take heed to yourselves lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and ciruokenness and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares, Luke xxi. 34. For as a snare, or as lightning which comes suddenly, shall it come on us all, Luke xxi. 35, and 36. Watch therefore and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things, that shall come to pass, and to stand undaunted before the Son of Man. But this worthiness to stand before the Son of Man consists in a pure, undefiled, and immoveable faith, which worketh through love, by which we receive and embrace Cbrist with all his merits and benefits. Which faith we must shew by a pure life. As James saith, and of this purity Christ speaks by Matthew, blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God, Mat. v. 8. And the principal purity lies in the heart; for as Christ saith, out of the heart proceed evil