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grace implanted. The Lord, who commanded light to shine out of darkness, shines into their hearts; and all the objects which they saw before, appear now in a very different and new light. Important objects, formerly unknown, are now discovered, and occupy their minds. The eye of faith is opened, and they look at the things within the vail. They are born again, and as really introduced into a new world as the new-born babe. Old things are passed away, and all things become new. They experience desires which they never felt before. This is the day when the Lord's purpose of grace has the first actual influence and saving effect upon them, and in which he begins to make them up.
2. He makes them up in the day of gradual sanctification. This day from regeneration is of equal length with their natural lives; and through the whole of it he is gradually meetening them for being pillars in his temple above. Every thing that passes over them is overruled for promoting the work of grace, and day by day the Lord enables them to “ put off the old man with his deeds, and put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” Now they lay aside one lust, then another: now they flourish in this grace, then in that; and every day they die unto sin and live unto righteousness. Regeneration is the beginning of our sanctification; that is the growth and progress of the new birth; and glory is the perfection of both. Though the saint may appear to decline, when recovered, his declensions will issue in the advancement of his holiness and sanctification.
3. He makes them up at death. Then in a particu. lar manner the Lord makes up his jewels. Then the soul of the believer is fully delivered from every thing sinful, noxious, or unholy; and is made perfect in every thing that is valuable and excellent. The gracious dispositions implanted and promoted in this life, are brought to the highest pitch of perfection and beauty. Then they are perfectly conformed to him, who is infinitely holy in himself, and the source of all that holiness which is to be found among the creatures. At death God takes the soul to himself. As a great man, when all the operations about polishing his jewels are over, lays them safely up in his cabinet; so at death God takes the better part of the believer to himself, and houses it up in glory. Then it is beyond the reach of sin, Satan, and every enemy. Introduced into the temple above, it shall no more go out. There, there is no more curse, no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, nor any more pain.” At death, too, the Lord makes up the body. It is lodged in the place where the weary are at rest, beyond the reach of all sufferings and pain, and is no longer pinched by any of its former wants. It is consigned to the dust, in union to the person of Christ, and as a part of his purchase; and the members for ever cease to be the instruments of sin. It is deposited in the grave in sure and certain hopes of a blessed resurrection, and till that momentous period is ever under the watchful eye of the great Head. Thus, both the parts are disposed of, and the jewel made up by the Lord; as you have long been taught, “ The souls of believers are, at their death, made perfect in holiness,
and do immediately pass into glory; and their bodies, being still united to Christ, do rest in their
till the resurrection."
4. Once more, the Lord makes up his jewels at the final judgment. Then the soul, already happy in the enjoyment of the God of grace, will receive additional happiness, when the body, her former partner, shall jointly share in her celestial bliss. Soul and body will be reunited never more to part, and will enjoy ineffable felicity to all eternity. The resurrection of the body is an article of our creed, to which the believer gives his cordial assent. The glorious manner in which it will be accomplished, is beyond our conception. We have a lofty description of it in 1 Cor. xv. 52–54, “ For the trumpet shall sound, and in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality; so when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.”
To qualify the body for inconceivable and endless happiness, it will undergo a wonderful change. It will be raised spiritual and incorruptible, and will neither be liable to suffering, nor tend to dissolution. According to our present ideas, it will resemble a spirit more than a body. As it will increase the susserings of the souls of the wicked, already consigned to everlasting punishment, to be again reunited to their bodies, and the whole man sent to
hell; a reunion will increase the happiness of the redeemed. The souls and bodies of the ungodly shudder at the thought of meeting. With wrathful and jealous eye they look on each other in the odious and infamous light of a seducer, tempter, informer, and tormentor, which has exposed each the other to endless ignominy and misery beyond all conception. The very thought of suffering together, and undergoing joint punishment, aggravates their torment, and adds fuel to the fire. They would almost rather associate with the old Serpent than with one another. The very sight of each other reminds them of their former opportunities, and the cause of their present irremediable situation. Opposite beyond expression is the case of the redeemed. Their souls and bodies look with wishful and longing eye the one for the other. In this world they mutually shared in sorrow and consolation. They joined together in divine service, and excited and assisted one another. Here they had a sympathetic feeling under all outward fightings and inward fears. They jointly fought in the great warfare, and opposed all their foes. To all eternity they shall jointly enjoy the palm of victory, and reward of grace. Then they shall be so framed as to be no hinderances the one to the other, for the spirit will always be willing, and the flesh never weak. Like old friends long separated, and brought together in the happiest circumstances, a recollection of all their former scenes, in which each bore his share, and acted his part, will be remembered with unutterable satisfaction, and be the ground-work of unceasing pleasure.
This is the day chiefly meant in the text, when Jehovah says about his jewels, “ they shall be mine." As to real interest or propriety, they will be no more his than in the day of regeneration; but his propriety in them will be better known. When he says, They shall be mine, the meaning is, he would then give the most indubitable evidence that they were his peculiar treasure,--he would own and confess them before an assembled world. Accordingly you have been taught that “ at the resurrection, believers, being raised up in glory, shall be openly acknowledged and acquitted in the day of judgment, and made perfectly blessed in the full enjoying of God to all eternity."
When Malachi wrote, it was a time of prevailing wickedness. They that feared the Lord were few and despised; they had trials of cruel mockings, and were exposed to all the severity of persecution. They were treated as the offscouring of all things; but, says Jehovah, they shall be mine in the day when I make up my jewels. As if he had said, In the day of the Church's trial they shall be set as a seal on mine heart and arm; in the day of her partial deliverance, I will so care for them as to make it evident to themselves that they are mine; and in the day of her complete deliverance, all the world shall know that they are my jewels. Now they are heirs in minority; then they shall be put in full possession of the inheritance which is incorruptible, undefiled, and fadeth not away. Now they are princes in disguise; then their royal dignity will be conspicuous and illustrious in the highest degree. In one word, in that day, that solemn and important day, they shall be the jewels of