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For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundant,
ly, into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Sa. viour Jesus Christ.
MY Brethren, among the various motives with which Revelation abounds, there are none more folemn and impressive than those which are de. rived from-DEATH. Hence the sacred writers of ten refer to it. They remind us of the suddenness of its arrival. They forewarn us of the nearness of its approach. They also intimate the importance of its consequences as terminating this state of trial, sealing up our characters, and tranfmitting them to the judgment of the great day, to be opened and published before an assembled world.
The apostle Peter urges the MANNER of our dying. He would have us die well, not only in a state of salvation but of peace and triumph ; “ So an entrance « shall be ministered unto you abundantly, into the & everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus
" Christ.” To do justice to this subject, it will be necessary to consider three things, I. The state to which the Christian looks forward, “ the everlasting “ kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” IĮ. The mode of his admission, “ an entrance minis“ tered abundantly.” III. The condition on which the privilege depends, it is the consequence of something clearly implied ; “ So, So AN ENTRANCE “ SHALL BE MINISTERED UNTO YOU ABUNDANTLY, " INTO THE EVERLASTING KINGDOM OF OUR LORD
I. Christians, we know very little of “ the hope " which is laid up for us in heaven;" it is “ the glory “ which shall be revealed in us." While we are in this weak state of flesh and blood, the full disclosure would be too dazzling for the feeble eye. It would also, by making too strong an impression, operate inju. riously, unhinging us from our present connections, and depriving those concerns which demand a subor. dinate share of attention, of all power to strike and engage our minds. “ We walk by faith, not by sight;". but “ we know in part.” We have some representations of our future blessedness accommodated to our faculties, and derived from scenes with which we are familiar.
It is a KINGDOM, a state of royal empire, expanding over a better, a heavenly country, where there is no curse ; whose laws are equity and perfection; whose riches and honours and resources are infinite ; whose subjects are all wife and good ; living together as friends, all princes themselves, all happy, escaped
from the troubles of life, the infirmities and diseases of body, the distresses and accusations of conscience, the remains of ignorance and of fin, and innumerable vexations, which now make us groan, and long to emigrate thither. Two things are spoken of this kingdom, which deserve remark.
The first concerns its permanency and duration. It is “ the EVERLASTING kingdom of our Lord and “ Saviour.” Every thing here is perishable and transitory. We tremble to look at our possessions and enjoyments, lest we should see them in motion, spreading their wings to flee away. Many already in talking of their comforts are compelled to go back ; “I HAD a husband, children, health, affluence, and I « faid, I shall die in my nest.”
As it is with individuals and families, so it is with communities. « The fashion of this world pafseth « away." Where now is the city whose top was to reach to heaven and defy a fecond flood? What have become of the kingdoms of the earth, whose fame fills the page of history ? The Assyrian, Persian, Grecian, Roman empires arose, astonished mankind for a seafon, and disappeared. And not only the most magnificent and durable productions of human power and skill, but even the established frame of nature shall be demolished; “ The heavens shall pass away with a “ great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent “ heat, the earth also, and the works that are therein « shall be burnt up. Nevertheless, we according to « his promise look for new heavens and a new earth, « wherein dwelleth righteousness." Then follows a kingdom not marred by sin, not liable to declension or change ; a kingdom which cannot be shaken, sea cure from internal decay and external violence ; a kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world, and which shall survive its dissolution, and having seen the fun turned into darkness and the moon into blood, shall flow on through eternal ages.
The greater any good is which we possess, the more does it awaken our concern, and the more anxious are we to inquire after security and tenure. But here is no room for apprehension ; the happiness is as certain as it is excellent, as durable as it is vast ; and the Scripture never overlooks this important confideration. Is it “ meat ?" It “ endureth to everlasting “ life.” Is it a “ treasure ?” “ Moth and rust can“ not corrupt, nor thieves break through and steal." Is it " a crown of glory?" It “ fadeth not away." Is it a " house?” It is “ a building of God, not made 6 with hands, eternal in the heavens.” Is it a “city?" It is " a city which hath foundations, whose builder “and whose maker is God.” Is it a “ kingdom ?” It is “ everlasting.”
Behold the second circumstance with regard to this blessed state. It is “ the everlasting kingdom OF OUR " LORD AND Saviour JESUS CHRIST." And what means this relation? It is surely designed to distinguish him from a mere possessor, and to intimate peculiar prerogative, residence, administration. It is his by claim. As the Son of God he is “ Heir of all " things : being made so much better than the angels, " as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excel“ lent name than they.' For unto which of the angels " said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have “ I begotten thee ? And again, I will be to him a « Father, and he shall be to me a Son ? And again, " when he bringeth in the first-begotten into the 66 world, he faith, And let all the angels of God wor“ ship him. And of the angels he saith, Who mak" eth his angels fpirits, and his ministers a flame of “ fire. But unto the Son he faith, Thy throne, O 6 God, is for ever and ever; a sceptre of righteous“ ness is the sceptre of thy kingdom :" thou hast loved “ righteousness, and hated iniquity, therefore God 6 even thy God hath anointed thee with the oil of 6 gladness above thy fellows.” For under another view he acquired it as the reward of his obedience and sufferings. “ For unto the angels hath he not “ put in subjection the world to come, of which we 6 speak? But we fee Jesus, who was made a little « lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, “ crowned with glory and honour.” “ Who, being “ in the form of God, thought it no robbery to be “ equal with God ; but made himself of no reputa“ tion, and took upon himself the form of a fervant, C and was made in the likeness of men; and being 6 found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and 66 became obedient unto death, even the death of the “ cross.. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted “ him, and given him a name which is above every “ name ; that at the name of Jesus every knee should “bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and “ things under the earth; and that every tongue should o confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of 6 God the Father.” He has now the disposal of the offices and privileges of the empire among his faithful