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very gates of heaven. The souls of just men, already made perfect, and in possession of the mansions in their Father's house, hail his happy arrival. He is publicly crowned in the other world. Sometimes a degree of publicity about the coronation of the saint reaches even this world. There is often something about the death of the saints, which attracts the attention of all around, and testifies whom they have served, and what will be their reward. The everlasting arms are underneath them, and they are supported. Amidst their severest sufferings, and waiting the Lord's time, they are endowed with astonishing patience. They have communications of light and power superior to what is usually enjoyed by Christians in the smoother steps of prosperity and peace. These dispel the gloom which might otherwise hang over their dying hours. Contemplating the approach of death, a new world opens upon them. They seem to stand upon the threshold of heaven. Instead of shrinking at the king of terrors, they look out for his approach. They long for the coming of their Lord, and ery, why tarry his chariot wheels. High in faith and hopes, like the sun, they seem larger at their setting.
And all their prospects brightening to the last,
But though the exercise of dying saints should not be so visible to others, Christ has made the nature of their exit out of this world, and their entrance into the other, public in his word. Whether it be credited or not, he has assured us where they are
going, and called us carefully to mark their latter end. In reference to the church at large, nothing can be more public than bringing forth the headstone. The Lord Jesus will come in the clouds. The trumpet sounds before him, and thousands of angels are in his train. The quick and the dead shall be judged. The universe shall stand before him. The sheep shall be placed on his right-hand, and the goats on the left. A sentence, full of condescension, and public in the highest degree, shall be pronounced in the ears of the redeemed, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
The conclusion will be triumphant. Christ is opposed in every part of his work, and in every part he conquers and triumphs. He triumphs over Satan. He conquered in the wilderness, and triumphed on the cross. He spoiled principalities, and made a show of them openly. Grace overcomes corruption, and rejoices over it. How triumphant must the Redeemer and his people appear when all their enemies are finally defeated! In the most exalted strains they will then sing, "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory ?" If there is now joy in heaven over one repenting sinner, how will it resound with acclamations when every mansion in glory will be occupied by its rightful possessor! Then all the Redeemer's enemies without exception will be made his footstool, and death and hell will be cast into the lake of fire. If Israel sung the song of Moses after their celebrated passage through the Red Sea; sure, the heirs of glory when safely wafted
over Jordan, and introduced into their Father's house, will sing the song of the Lamb in the most elevated strains, and with raptures of joy far above our present conceptions. Then the redeemed of the Lord will give thanks unto him because he is good, and because his mercy endureth for ever. Then will be sung in the highest perfection that triumphant song, "Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever."
5. The acceptance of the Redeemer's work. There seems to be an allusion in the text to a custom of laying the foundation, and putting on the top-stone in the presence of the proprietors or some peculiarly interested in the work. Christ is God's honorary servant. He chose him for the great work. He gave him Zion and every saint. He invested him with all authority and power. He rejoiced in him from eternity as the surety and substitute of sin ners. The Father declared his infinite satisfaction when Christ was laid as the foundation stone in Zion, in the promises and types. When he appeared in person, he bare honourable testimony to him at his incarnation and baptism. He gave the highest evidence when Christ was on the cross, that the work of redemption, then finished, was most acceptable to him. When he raised him from the dead, and poured out the Spirit at Pentecost, he gave incontestable proof of his infinite satisfaction. He affords a permanent proof in the daily acceptance of believers, and their final reception to glory. But when the work shall be finished,
and all the given number introduced into the palace of the King, the head-stone brought forth, and the kingdom delivered up to the Father; the joyful declaration of acceptance, and the many evidences of it, infinitely surpass our conceptions. Justly do the angels reckon themselves interested in the Redeemer's work and the acceptance of it. Made and preserved by him, and unceasingly employed in adoring him, they are enflamed with love to his person and zeal for his interest. They rejoice in the conversion of one sinner; and will join with ineffable joy in the universal chorus, when all the saints to whom they have been ministering spirits are safely brought home to glory. The redeemed are still more interested. The success and acceptance of Christ's work was their chief concern in this world. With infinite joy will they participate in the acclamations of praise, when the work is finished, and the acceptance publicly announced before an assembled world.
6. These words imply the joyful ascription of praise in loud and exalted acclamations for the whole of the work, and especially as concluded. Christ will receive a revenue of glory for every part of his work, and is infinitely worthy of it. He deserves to be praised for undertaking it, and it is ground of lamentation that the church militant is frequently too sparing in ascribing to him the glory that is due. His continued presence and care, while the work is going on, should be constantly celebrated; but often Zion's songs are marred through unbelief and opposition. In a foreign land she hangs her harps on the willows. When a glorious work has met with continued opposition, and
is finished in spite of every enemy, the conclusion naturally makes all who were friendly to and engaged in it, break forth with bursts of joy, and give full vent to the pleasing sensations of their hearts. It must be so with the Redeemer's work. There is an obvious difference between his work and every other. As it goes on, it both qualifies his friends for praising him, and inclines them to the exercise. The completion of it removes every hinderance, and fits them for praising in the most perfect manner. It enlarges their capacities, and makes them as holy as extensive. As Divine grace is the matter of the song, it likewise opens their mouths, and enables them to sing.
7. That while all the Divine perfections are celebrated, GRACE is praised in a peculiar and distinguished manner. When the head-stone is brought forth, one sound only is heard-Grace, grace unto it. All God's perfections are celebrated. One cannot be praised without the rest. In the plan of redemption they sweetly harmonize. Mercy and truth met together; righteousness and peace kissed each other." God's great and ultimate end in the salvation of sinners was his own glory and the manifestation of all his perfections. His power is displayed. His. wisdom shines illustriously. His holiness is magnified, and his justice honoured. Christ and his Gospel are called the power and the wisdom of God. His grace is celebrated in a peculiar manner. When exhorted, in Psal. xcviii. to sing a new song to the Lord, it is a leading part of the subject, that he has been mindful of his grace and truth. These are two