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grace upon us, in effectual calling, and the last accomplishment of it, in eternal glory. Who hath called us to his eternal glory.
For that calling, I conceive, doth not simply mean the design of the gospel in its general publication, wherein the outward call lies, that it holds forth and sets before us eternal glory as the result of grace. But the calling here spoken of, is the real bringing of a Christian to, and uniting him with, Christ, and so giving him a real and firm title to glory. Such a call is here intended, as powerfully works grace in the soul, and secures glory to the soul; gives it right to that inheritance, and fits it for it; and sometimes gives it even the evident and sweet assurance of it. This assurance, indeed, all the heirs of glory have not ordinarily within them, and scarce any at all, times equally clear. Some travel on in a covert cloudy day, and get home by it; having so much light as to know their way, and yet do not at all clearly see the bright and full sunshine of assurance; others have it breaking forth at some times, and anon under a cloud, and some more constantly. But as all meet in the end, so all agree in this in the beginning, that is, the reality of the thing; they are made unalterably sure heirs of it, in their effectual calling.
And by this the Apostle advances his petition for their support, and establishment, and advancement, in the way of grace. The way of our calling to so high and happy an estate, did we apply our thoughts more to it, would work on us, and persuade us to a more suitable temper of mind, and course of life; would give us more noble sublime thoughts and ways above the world; and the stronger were our persuasion of it, the more strongly should we be thus persuaded by it. And as it would thus prevail with us, so might we use it to prevail with God for all need
All you that hear the gospel, are in the general called to this glory. It is told you where and how you may lay hold on it. You are told, that if you will let go your sins and embrace Jesus Christ, this glory shall be yours. It is his purchase, and the right of it lies in him, and not elsewhere; and right to him is the receiving him for a Saviour, and at the same time for Lord and King; to become his subjects, and so be made kings. This is our message to you, but you will not receive it. You give it a hearing, it may be, but do not indeed hearken to the motion: And this must of necessity, proceed from unbelief. Were
Were you indeed persuaded, that in coming unto Christ, you were presently not only set free from a sentence of death, which is still standing over your head while
you are out of him, but withal entitled to a crown, made heirs of a kingdom, an eternal kingdom, I say, if this were believed, were it possible to slight him as the most do, and turn back the bargain, and bestow their money elsewhere upon trifles of no value, children's commodities, rattles, and painted toys ? Such are your greatest projects, were it even for earthly kingdoms, in respect of Christ, and this glory provided in him. What a wonder is it, that where this happiness is daily proclaimed, and you are not only informed of it but entreated to receive it, where it is not only offered you, but pressed and urged upon you, and you say, you believe the matter; yet still the false glory and other vanities of this world amuse and entangle you, that you close not with this rich offer of eternal glory!
But where any do close with it, it is indeed by a call that goes deeper than the ear; a word spoken home to within, a touch of the Spirit of God upon the heart, which hath a magnetic virtue to draw it, so that it cannot chuse but follow; and yet chooses it most freely and sweetly: Doth most gladly open to let in Jesus Christ and his sweet government upon his own terms, takes him and all the reproaches and troubles that can come with him.
And well it may, seeing, beyond a little passing trouble, abiding eternal glory.
The state, to which a Christian is called, is not a poor and sad estate, as the world judges; it is to no less than eternal glory. The world thinks strange to see the believer abridge himself in the delights of sin, their common pursuits and eager graspings after gains or honours, or pleasures of sense; but they know not the infinite gain that he hath made, in that he hath exchanged this dross for down-weight of pure gold. The world sees what the Christian leaves, but they see not what he comes to; what his new purchase is, in another place; they see what he suffers, but not what he expects, and shall attain as the end of these sufferings, which shall shortly end. But he knowing well upon what conditions all these things run, may well say,
“How small is what I forsake, how great that which I follow after!”
It is glory, eternal glory, his eternal glory. Glory, true real glory. All that is here so named, is no more but a name, a shadow of glory, cannot endure the balance, but is found too light: As was said of a great Monarch“, and so many principalities and provinces put into the scale one after another, still added no weight; yea, possibly, as a late politic writer wittily observes of a certain monarch, “ The more kingdoms you cast in, the scale is still the lighter.” Men are naturally desirous of glory, and gape after it; but they are naturally ignorant of the true nature and place of it; they seek it where it is not, and, as Solomon says of riches, set their hearts on that which is not, hath no subsistence nor reality. But the glory above is true real glory, and bears weight; and so bears aright the name of glory, which in the Hebrew Kebud signifies weight; and the Apostle's expression seems to allude to that sense: speaking of this same glory to come, he calls it a far more excellent weight of glory'. It weighs down all labour and sufferings in the way, so far, that they are not once worth the speaking of in respect of it. It is the hyperbole, 28-imepBonjo sis útepßonin
, other glory is overspoke, but this glory, over-glorious * Non magna relinquo, magna sequor. * Prov. xxiii. 5.
y 2 Cor. iv. 17.
u Dan. v.
to be duly spoke, it exceeds and rises above all that can be spoke of it.
Eternal. Oh! that adds much! Men would have some more reason so to affect and pursue the glory of the present world, such as it is, if it were lasting, if it stayed with them when they have caught it, and they stayed with it to enjoy it. But how soon do they part! they pass away, and the glory passes away, both as smoke, as a vapour. Our life, and all the pomp and magnificence of those that have the greatest outward glory, and make the fairest shew, it is but a shew, a pageant, fæpárys, which goes through the street, and is seen no more. But this hath length of days with it, eternal glory. Oh! a thought of that swallows up all the grandeur of the world, and the noise of reckoning years and ages. Had one man continued from the creation to the end of the world, in the top of earthly dignity and glory, admired by all; yet, at the end, everlasting oblivion being the close, what nothing were it to eternal glory! But, alas! we cannot be brought to believe, and deeply take the impression of eternity; and that is our undoing.
By Jesus Christ.] Your portion out of him was eternal shame and misery; but by him, it is even all glory. And this hath likewise an evidence of the greatness of this glory; it can be no small estate; which the blood of the Son of God was let out to purchase.
His glory.] It is that which he gives, and gives as his choice of all, to his chosen, his children: and if there be any thing here that hath delight or worth in the things which he gives in common even to his enemies; if there be such a world and variety of good things for them that hate him, oh! how excellent must those things be he hath reserved for his friends, for those he loves, and causes to love him!
As it is his gift, it is indeed himself; the beholding and enjoying of himself. This we cannot now conceive. But, oh! that blessed day, when the soul shall be full of God, shall be satisfied and ravished with full vision! should we not admire that such a condition is provided for man, wretched sinful man: Lord, what is man, that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man, that thou visitest him?? And is it provided for me, as wretched as any that are left, and fallen short of this glory! a base worm taken out of the mire, and washed in the blood of Christ, and within a while set to shine in glory without sin ! Oh! the wonder of this ! how should it excite us to praise, when we think of such an one there, who will bring us up in the way to this crown, how will this hope sweeten the short sufferings of this life! and death itself, which is otherwise the bitterst in itself, is most of all sweetened by this, as being nearest it, and setting us into it. What though thou art poor, diseased, and despised here. Oh! consider what is there, how worthy the affection, worthy the earnest eye and fixed look of an heir of this glory! What can be either desire or fear, whose heart is thus deeply fixed? Who would refuse this other clause, to suffer a while, a little while, any thing outward, or inward, he thinks fit? how soon shall all this be overpast, and then overpaid in the very entry, at the beginning of this glory that shall never end !
Ver. 11. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.
They know little of their own wants and emptiness, that are not much in prayer; and they know little of the greatness and goodness of God, that are not much in praises. The humble Christian hath a heart in some measure framed to both. He hath within him the best schoolmaster, that teaches him how to pray, and how to praise, and makes him delight in the exercise of them both. The apostle having added prayer to his doctrine,
z Psal. viii. 3. Vol. II.