Sermon XXXIV

Preached OH. ai, 1764.

\v .... Hebrews XL 16.

But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly; "wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for he bath prepared for them a cits.

^inHE apoftle begins this chapter, with a definition of faith, which he deJt scribes, as the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen : and illustrates this definition, by instances and examples, in the patriarchs, both before and after the flood ; and he first instances mAbel, the immediate offspring of the first man, who by faith offered up a more excellent sacrifice, than his brother Cain: he then proceeds toEnccb, who by faithjwas translated, that he should not see death ; and received a testimony from God, that he pleased him by his faith, he next goes on to Noah, the heir and preacher of the righteousness of faith : who being warned of God, of unseen things, by faith prepared an ark, for the saving of himself and family, from a flood threatened to drown the whole world. Abraham and his posterity are next taken notice of, on which instance, the apostle enlarges, and observes, that God called this good man from his na.tive country, to go to another, he was afterwards to possess ; and that he by faith obeyed and went forth, not knowing whither he went; and that he, with Isaac and Jacob, dwelt in tabernacles in it,, and confessed themselves pilgrims and strangers •, and though they had an opportunity of returning to the country from whence they came, were unmindful of icl Abraham never returned to it; and when he sent his servant to take from thence awifefor his son Isaac, he charged him not to lay himself under any obligation to bring his son thither, for both he and they had another and better country in view -, but now they desire a better country* &V. which refers, not to the time of the apostle's writing ; for then they were in heaven, in this better country, but to the time when they dwelt in tabernacles in a strange land ; when they contested themselves strangers and pilgrims there, and shewed no regard to the country they came out of, their hearts being intent upon another and better country.

• This Sermon was preached by the Doctor, the first time of his appearing in public, after the decease of his beloved wife, Mrs Elizabeth Gill, who departed this Life, October 10, 1764, in the 68th Year of her Age.

All this may be applied to any and every believer, in any and every period ©f time •, they, as Abraham, are called from their native country, out of the world, and from the men of it, among whom they were born, and had their conversation in time past, and are bid to be separate from them, and have no fellowship with them ; are exhorted and encouraged to forsake their own people, and their father's house; and under the influence of divine grace, do leave all, and follow Christ, as the apostles did. And as the patriarchs dwelt in tabernacles on earth, so they dwell in bodies, called houses of clay, which have their foundation in the dust; earthly houses of this tabernacle; which are easily unpinned, and soon taken down and dissolved. The apostle Peter makes use of this metaphor, with respect: to his own body : / think it meet, fays he, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up, by putting you in remembrance; knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle; z Peter i. 13,14. and as the patriarchs confessed themselves strangers and pilgrims on earth, so do those who are effectually called by the grace of God. They own themselves to be strangers and sojourners here as all their fathers were; that their state on earth is a state of pilgrimage, and their time in it, a time of sojourning, which they pass in fear: and hence the apostle Peter addresses such, and exhorts them, as pilgrims and strangers^, to abstain from fleshly lusts, 1 Peter ii. 11. And these, though they have an opportunity of returning to their former state and manner of life; nor are temptations to it wanting from their carnal and unbelieving hearts, like the Israelites, who in a fit of unbelief, were for making themselves a captain, and returning toEgypt, and their carnal appetites, hankering after the provisions there ; and from Satan, who endeavours to draw them back, by the snares and allurements of the world ; yet notwithstanding such are the impressions and influences of divine grace upon them, that they mind and savour spiritual and heavenly things, and are unmindful of their former country, and earthly things; and such is the power of divine grace, by which they are kept, that they are not of them who draw hack unto perdition, but of them that believe to the saving of the soul, Heb. x. 39. but they desire, seek after, and look for, abetter, even an heavenly country 5 this world is not their home, their place of rest; here they have no continuing city, but they seek one to come, their citizenship is in heaven, and their hearts are there.

What I shall further do with these words, will be to observe the following things.

I. The saints future state of happiness, as described by a country, a better

country, a heavenly one, and by a city prepared for them.

II. Their particular regard unto it, they desire it, seek after it, and look for

it; all which are expressed in the text and context.

III. The notice God takes of such persons, and what is said of him with re

spect to them ; he is not ashamed to be called their God•, and that for this reason, because he has prepared for them a city.

I. The saints future happiness, is described by a country., a better country, an heavenly one, and by a city prepared. And on this I shall chiefly dwell, only say some few things to the other two observations.

i. The saints future happiness is described by a country^ for so it is expressed without an epithet, in ver. 14. they that fay such things, declare plainly, that they seek a country. And so it may be called, both with respect to a country in general, and to the country and land of Canaan in particular.

(1.) To a country in general, which is large, ample, and spacious. It is indeed sometimes only called an house, which is eternal in the heavens, 2 Cor. v. 1. But then it is such an house, which consists of divers apartments, of many mansions, or dwelling-places, John xiv. 2. Enow, for the many that are ordained to eternal life ; for the many Christ came to give his life a ransom for; for the many for the remission of whose fins his blood was shed -, for the many that are justified by his righteousness; and for the many sons that are adopted into the family of God, and are brought to glory. It is also called a city, as in the text, and in ver. 10. which is an assemblage of houses, and which are sit for men of business, and of figure, and of fashion, and worth and dignity to dwell in ; and such the saints are. And at other times, It is called a country, as here and ia ver. 14. And frequently a kingdom, as being large and capacious, sufficient to contain all the saints that have been from the beginning of the world, and will be to the end of it. It is sometimes represented as a far country ; a certain nobleman went into a far country, to receive for himself a kingdom, and return, Luke xix. 12. the nobleman is Christ, the far country he went into, is heaven; his going thither respects his ascension to heaven; his end in going, was to receive his mediatorial kingdom, more visibly and gloriously •, for at his ascension he was made and declared Lord and Christ. And his return, designs his second coming, when he will call his servants to an account for the talents he has entrusted them with in his absence. Now heaven is called asar country; not only with respect to wicked men, to whom indeed, it is, and ever will be a far country ; the rich man list up his eyes in hell, and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom, Luke xvi. 23 but it is so, with respect to the saints, in their present state, which is a state of distance, and absence, and with respect to the views and prospects, pects, which they have of this country here, and which are very distant ones: tbine eyesJhallsee the king in bis beauty ; they Jhall behold the land that is very far off, Isai. xxxiii. 17. But they will not always be in a state of distance from ir, they will be brought nearer it, and it is what they desire to be led into. Thy spirit is good, says David; good in his nature, person and offices, and a good guide; and therefore he adds, lead me into the land of uprightness, Psal. cxliii. 10. So called because none but upright persons dwell there, such who are upright in heart and life, and have the uprightness of Christ, even his righteousness imputed to them. So in the new heavens and in the new earth, dwelleth righteousness, or righteous persons; and none but they -, as no defiled persons shall enter into the new Jerusalem : so neither shall the unrighteous inherit the kingdom of God, the ultimate glory : fee 2 Peter iii. 13. Rev. xxi. 27. 1 Cor. vi. 9.

(2.) The future happiness of the saints, may be called a country, with respect to the land of Canaan, which was a type of ir, that was a land of promise, as in ver. 9. being promised to Abraham, and to his feed. And so eternal life is the promise of God; and it is spoken of as if it was the only promise, being the grand and principal one -, this is the promise that be bath promised us, eternal life, 1 John ii. 25. see James i. 12. And a very antient promise it is; it was very early on the heart of God to bestow it, and he made promise of it as early, in hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised, before the world began, Titus i. 2. The land of Canaan, was a land of rest, it is sometimes called, the Lord's rest, because he gave it; and sometimes the rest of the children of Israel, because they enjoyed it, Heb. iii. 11, 18. Deut. xii. 11. A rest from their travels in the wilderness, and from all their enemies about them, when entered into, and possessed by them; and there remains a reft for the people of God; a sabbatism, a spiritual rest here, and an eternal one hereafter; a rest from all toil and labours, sin and sorrow, diseases, distresses, afflictions and troubles of whatsoever sort. The land of Canaan, is said to be a good land, abounding with good things •, a land flowing with milk and honey, a pleasant and desirable one, Exod. iii. S. Deut. iii. 25. Psalm cvi. 4. Heaven is a country where great goodness is laid up, not to be expressed •, such good things that eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, norijath it entered into the heart of man to conceive os; where there is p'enty and satiety, no hunger nor thirst, neither in a literal or spiritual sense; where there are fulness of joy, and pleasures for evermore. The land of Canaan •was ready prepared for the Israelites, was furnished with the accommodations and conveniences of life, without any pains, labour, or industry of theirs; cities they built not, houses they silled not, wells they dug not, and vineyards and olive trees they planted not, Deut. vi. 10, 11. Heaven is replete with all good things, and ready prepared for the saints, without any toil and labour of theirs; it is Vol. I. 4 D not not obtained and possessed, by any works of righteousness done by them ; not they that are of the law are heirs of this heavenly country: It is by promise and of grace; eternal life, is the free gift of God through Christ.

Once more, the land of Canaan, was divided by lot to the children of Israel,, which was done by Joshui, when subdued by him, according to the commandment of God -, and so is the heavenly inheritance ; in whom, that is, in Christ, fays the apostle, we have obtained an inheritance by lot, as the word used signifies, Ephes.'i. Ii. Not that the heavenly inheritance is casual, uncertain and precarious, who shall enjoy it; for the elect of God, are most certainly predestinated to it, and mall possess it: nor that it is divided into certain parts and portions ; for the whole inheritance lies among the saints in light, and is enjoyed by them all; but the fense is, that it is not at their option, or according to any merit of theirs, but according to the election of God, and his free, rich, sovereign grace in Christ.

idly, The saints state of future happiness, is described, by abetter country * better than Mesopotamia, or Chaldea, from whence Abraham came •, better than the land of Canaan, promised to him and his feed •, and beiter than any country on the globe of the earth, or than the whole world itself.

(i.) The goodness of a country lies much in its salubrious air, and temperate climate •> in heaven, the better country, no noxious pestiltntious vapours arise to infect the air; no hurtful lusts, that indanger and destroy the fouls of men •, no evil communications which corrupt good manners ; no fi-lthiness, nor foolish talking, nor any corrupt communications, proceed out of the mouths of the inhabitants of this better country; no filthy conversation of the wicked, to vex the souls of the righteous ; every thing here breathes unspotted purity, and perfect holiness. No mists, nor fogs, nor clouds darkening the air, to interrupt the sight of pleasing objects, are here. Saints in their present state, it is sometimes with them, a dark and cloudy day, the evidences of the truth of grace in them, and of their hope of eternal life and happiness, are much obscured ; such mists arise, which intercept the sight of their beloved; he is withdrawn and is gone ; they can neither fee his face* nor hear his voice;, clouds of sin interpose, and separate between God and them : with respect to sensible communion, they walk in darkness, and fee no light: but so it is not in the better country; it is all pure æther, an unbeclouded sky, it is as the morning, when the fun rifeth; a morning without clouds ; as clear shining after rain ; the sun goes no more down by day, nor does the moon withdraw itself; the Lord is their everlasting light, and the days of their mourning are ended ; no more darkness, but one bright, clear, perfect and everlasting day: no storms, no blustering winds, no hurricanes are heard or known in this better country: In the present life, Saints are tossed with tempests, and not comforted. Christ is

indeed

indeed an hiding-place from the wind, and a covert from the storm of divine wrath and vengeance; he is a rock, on which their fouls are built; so that when rains descend, floods come, and winds blow, and beat upon them, they stand safe and secure, because built upon the rock of ages; but though they are fase, yet those beating waves, and bellowing winds, of sin's rage, and Satan's temptations, and the world's persecutions, with other afflictions, give them great disturbance and distress : but in the better country all is smooth, serene and calm; no excessive heat, or pinching cold, are here, as in some climates, where the air is extremely hot, or severely cold ; but here no pain is felt from the influence of a fiery law, working wrath, nor from the fiery darts of Satan, nor from the flaming sword of justice. The sun of persecution looks not on the saints here, they serve the Lord day and night without molestation, and neither sun nor heat smite them ; but they are led continually by the pure cooling springs of grace, and purling streams of love, and all tears are wiped from their eyes. Here no damps arise, from the prevalence of sin, nor from the cares of life, nor from too great a regard to earthly and worldly things, to chill their affections and devotions; no such thing is known here as coldness, lukewarmneis and indifference in religious worship. Love, that abiding and permanent grace, glows with a divine warmth in every breast, and is at its height, in its vigour and full perfection.

(2.) The goodness of a country lies, as in the salubrity of its air, so in the fruitfulness of its foil: the better cpuntry is all a garden, a perfect paradise, it is called so 2 Cor. xii. 4. and vastly exceeds the earthly paradise, or Eden's garden, that was undoubtedly a most fertile and delightful spot, set all around with fruit-trees, and odoriferous plants ; there were no thorns nor briars in it; these are the fruit of sin, and the effect of the curse pronounced on the earth for Adam's transgression ; cursed is the ground for thy fake, thorns and thistles shall it bring forth unto thee, Gen. iii. 17, 18. Nor are there any thorns and briars, in a figurative fense, in the heavenly paradise, in the better country; there is no pricking briar, nor grieving thorn to the saints, in all that land of glory, Ezek. xxviii. 24/ whether by these are meant, profane sinners, children of Belial, who are like thorns and briars, useless and unprofitable, noxious and hurtful, and only fit fuel for everlasting burnings : or carnal professors, hypocrites in Zion; neither the one nor the other of thtiejhallstand in judgment, nor have a place in the congregation of the righteous, to give them any annoyance ; or whether internal corruptions, which are like the Canaanites, left in the land to be pricks in the eyes and thorns in the sides of the Israelites, ihese are not in that land'; or the temptations of Satan, since the thorn in the flesh, and a messenger of Satan, are put together. Neither he, nor these, have any place in the heavenly country; . ■.' . 4 D 2 that, that, as before observed, is all a paradise, where nothing grows that is hurtfuland pernicious; if the church below is an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits, camphire with spikenard, spikenard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense ; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices, Cant. iv. 13,14. with what fruit-bearing trees, and aromatic plants, must the heavenly paradise be filled, in the midst of which, we are allured, stands the tree of life, bearing, twelve manner of fruits, and yielding its fruit every month ? Rev. ii. 7. and. chap.. xxii. 2.

(3.) The goodness of a country lies in its riches, and, generally speaking, when a country is fruitful, it is rich.; the fruitfulness of its soil makes the inhabitants of it rich ; as we read of riches of Grace, so of riches of Glory ; which far surpasses all earthly riches; the riches of this world are uncertain riches, here to-day, and gone to-morrow, they make themselves wings and flee away; but the riches of the better country axe certain and sure, solid and substantial, lasting and durable ; a treasure which moth.cannot corrupt, nor thieves break through and steal away ; they are unsearchable riches, it cannot be said how much and how great they are; however, saints know in themselves that they have in heaven a better, and a more enduring substance than what can be enjoyed on earth, Heb. x. 34.

(4.) What gives the heavenly country the preference to all others is, the peaceableness of it; Cod makes peace in his high places, in the highest heavens, where his saints and angels dwell, Johnxxv. 2. which may, with great propriety, be called the land of peace, as the phrase is in Jer. xii. 5. In this world there is seldom peace long, war is commonly in one part of it or another; and as soon as peace is made, we quickly hear of rumours of war again -, and with respect to the state of men on earth, in a moral and spiritual sense, this life is a warfare: Is there not a warfare to man on earth ? as the words may be rendered in Job vii. 1. There is, and especially to the saints, and people of God ; they have many enemies to war with, the world, the flesh and the devil: without are fightings and within are fears, 2 Cor. vii. 5. yea, they have fightings both within and without; without, with the world and the devil; and within with the cor. ruptions of their nature, their worst enemies; there is nothing to be seen in the Shulamite, the most perfect, and the most peaceable believer, as the word may signify, but as it were the company of two armies, set in battle array, and combating each other, Cant. vi. 13. even the flesh lusting against the spirit, and the spirit against the flejb ; the law in the members, warring against the law in the mind ; but when this life is ended, the warfare is accomplished; no more war, all peace ; the end of the perfect and upright man is peace ; he enters in-. to peace, eternal peace, which will never be interrupted.

(5.) Another

(5.) Another, superior excellency of this heavenly country, and which makes k better than any other, is the safety of it; there is nothing hurts nor destroys in all this, holy mountain, this holy land ; there is no danger from any quarter, not from thieves and robbers, nor from beasts of prey, there is no insidious serpent, nor roaring lion here; there was a serpent in Eden's garden, and a subtil one, which seduced our first parents to their ruin; and by whom the saints in this life are in danger of being beguiled, when permitted ; and by whom the nations of the world are deceived ; but he has no place in the better country; the Old Serpent the devil is cast out of heaven, and fell like lightening from thence ; and his place will be found no more there; on the earth he goes about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour; he is permitted to take his walks to and fro, in the world below, but he is not admitted to take any in that above ; no lionjhallbe there, nor any ravenous beast pall go up thereon; it [hall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there, Isai. xxxv. 9. that is, shall walk in the greatest safety, having nothing to fear from any quarter whatever.

(6.) What infinitely adds to the preference of this country to all others is the better company in it; here are not only the spirits of just men mndeperfeSf, who converse with each other in the most heavenly and spiritual manner and join in songs of praise, and hallelujahs to the Lamb, and an innumerable company of angels, those seining forms, attending and waiting on them, and joining with them, in social acts of worship -, but what is ten thousand times more than all the rest, there is had an uninterrupted communion with God, Father, Son and Spirit; here God is all and in all; here saints behold God in Christ as he is • behold his glory, appear in glory, with him, fee him as he is, become like him, and are for ever with him,

3. The saints future state of; happiness, is described by its being a country, which is explained an heavenly one, a country which lies in heaven ; as we fay of such, a country, it is. in £«n?/>0 •, of another, that it is Asia-, and of a third, that it is in Africa; and so of a fourth, that it is in America; but of this country, it must be said, that it is in heaven; when it is spoken of as an house, it is an bouse not made with bands, eternal in the heavens, 2 Cor. v. 11. when as a city, a city in heaven-, our citizenship is in heaven, Phil. iii. 20. and so of course the city we are citizens of must be there ; when said to be an inheritance, it is an inheritance reserved in heaven, 1 Peter i. 4. when it goes by the name of a country, or a kingdom, it is called the kingdom os heaven, Matt. v. 20. and indeed this country is no other than heaven itself, and in which all desirable persons and things are; here is our covenant-God and Father, whom we are directed to address, saying, Our father which art in heaven ; and of whom it may be truly said, with the Psalmist, whom have I in heaven but thee ? and there is none en earth that I

desire *?&t i^dtt the*, Psai. brxui- zr-. here aila J*srai htarthe right hand of his divine Father, oar head, nod auibanc. arnrrwr, mend, redeemer and saviour: Here it our rreafure, porcow and .oherrsnee. and where aur hearts (hould be; add r» wonder it a, char cnis i«far omno-r tbouid be defired, and especially, since x it or an heaweniy nature, and lauunsi ca heaven-born Cauls -, as is the heavenly, to am :hey that are heaweniy ; anc :ney ate luch, chat are A«nr «?«x«, or born frm> abates as che phraie may rje rendered in jfatia iii. 3. they are partakers *X -he divine nature, chat is, or an heavenly anc, chat bears tome resemblance to- the .nature ot God in heaven -, riiey ace partakers of me heavenly calling, and are called to. enjoy on kearjaily joaxiry, which is agreeable Cq their nature, as spir.c>ai i an earthly country is not, they cannot breath in it, at least not freely.

4. The happinets of the uuiti in another wcricL, is described by a city, both m ttiit verse and in vertc 10. where it is laid to fae a city which bath foundations; ,r .t expressed in the plural number, form teems it ha* more foundations than one ^ there w civ; everlasting lowe of God, the source and spring both of grace and glory, and the electing grace of God in Christ, the foundation of God, which stands sure, icaled with this teal, The Lord knaves them that are his -, and the covenant of grace, which is ordered i*all things, and jure; and there is Christ, the sure foundation of God's laying ; and who is also the foundation of the apostles and freshets; of their laying ministerially 5 wherefore the new Jerusalem is said to have twelve foundations, because Christ, che one and only foundation, is laid by his twelve apostles. The plural expressed in the text referred to, is opposed to fentt and tabernacles, which had no foundations, but were easily taken down, and moved from place to place •, and denotes the firmness and stability of this continuing city, Heb. xiii. 14. And let it not be thought that this is a diminutive and lowering expression ; that afer the apostle had called the future state of the saints happiness a country, a better, and an heavenly one, that he calls it a city; for as in every kingdom and country there is a chief city, the metropolis of the country, the residence of the king of ic, where he has his palace, keeps his court, and his nobles dwell : such is this city, not only whose builder and maker is God, who built all things-, and is made, not with the hands of men, but of God himself i but also the city of the great King, and is fit for kings and princes to dwell in, ss all the saints are. What theAssyrian monarch boastingly said, Are not my primes altogether kings? Isai. x. 8. is true of all Jehovah's princes, his faints, they arc all made kings, as well as priests unto God, by Christ-, and

10 have a city prepared for them to dwell in, according to their high birth, (jualuy and dignity t and what a city that is, may be learnt, in some measure, from the grand description given of the new Jerusalem, by its being, even the

11 reels ol ir, of pure gold ; and by its walls and gates of pearl -, and yet these brilliant views fall abundantly short of setting forth the real grandeur of it,

Rev. Rev. xxi. 10. Thus I have gone through the description of the saints future happiness; I (hall only fay a few things to the ocher two remaining observations, as I proposed.

II. The regard the saints in their present state have to their future happiness; . .they now desire it, seek after it, and look for it.

1. They desire it, which supposes they have some knowledge of it, for there is no desire after what is unknown j and a person may have some knowledge of a country he has never been in, by the relations of persons that have been there, by feeing it described in a map, and by having some of the produce and fruits of it brought unto him ; by which he can in some measure form a judgment of it •, so the Israelites knew before they entered into the land of Canaan, what sort of a country it was, partly by the description God had given of it, as a land flowing with milk and honey ; and partly, by the report of the spies that went to view it, as well as by the cluster of grapes, figs and pomegranates, they brought with them from thence; thus the people of God know somewhat ©f the heavenly country, not only by the ministry of the word, and by the description of it in the map of the scriptures, but by their own experience, by the foretastes they have of the fruit of that land, and by the prospects, though distant ones, they have of it; their hope entering within the vail, and their faith looking to and being the evidence of things not seen. Hence they have ardent desires after it; the word here used, signifies a very vehement desire, such an one as that they are willing to be absent from the body, that they may be present with the Lord in this country ; they choose rather to depart out of this world, the country they now dwell in, that they may be with Christ in the better country

2. They seek after this country, so it is expressed in ver. 14. they that say such things, declare plainly, that they seek a country, and_ so in chap. xiii. 14. we seek one to come, a continuing city; they seek for it, in the first place, as soon as ever they are called and converted ; and they seek it earnestly, diligently, and with all their hearts : and they seek it in a right way; not to obtain it by works of righteousness done by them; such as leek it in this way find it not. The Jews sought, but did not obtain, because they sought not by faith, but, as it were, by the works of the law : for except a man's righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and pharifees, he shall in no wife enter into the kingdom of heaven, or that

better country, the heavenly one : those that seek right, seek not only the kingdom of God in the first place, but his righteousness also; or seek for the kingdom of God, the heavenly glory, in and by the righteousness of Christ, which only entitles to it. Such as are justified freely through the grace of God, by the righteousness of Christ* become heirs, according to the hope of eternal life, Matt. v. 20. Titus iii. 7.

3- The

3. The saints look for this better country and heavenly city, as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob did, ver. 10. they looked for it by faith. Faith is often expressed by looking, not only when it has Christ for its object, but also eternal happiness, then it is called, looking for a city which hath foundations, looking for the blessed hope, and looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, unto eternal life. Saints not only believe there is such a state of happiness, but that it is for them ; and therefore they expect it, and wait for it: we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith, Gal. v. 5.

III. The notice God takes of such persons, that desire, seek, and look for a future state of happiness, He is not ashamed to be called their God: For God to be called the God of his people, is the great blessing of the covenant; which runs thus, I will be their God, and they shall be my people, Jer. xxxii. 38. and hap. py arc the people that are in such a relation to God, their happiness is not to be expressed; other persons may be happy in a temporal fense, who enjoy much of the things of this world, but thrice happy, infinitely so, are they whofeGod is the Lord. I shall not enter into the consideration of this wonderful blessing of grace, this would open a large field of discourse. I shall only take notice of the phrase used of God, that he is not ashamed to be called the God of his people; it is a very remarkable and unusual one; it stands between two clauses in the text, and has an aspect upon, and is in connection with them both, with the words that go before, but now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly ; wherefore God, &c. because the patriarchs spoken of were so very desirous of, so earnestly seeking after, and so wishfully looking for a state of happiness in another world ; therefore God was not ashamed to own them, even in so near a relation to him as they to be his people, and he to be their God: had they been the grovelings of this world, had they minded only earth, and earthly things, and sought for and desired nothing else but the land of Canaan, and the temporal blessings of it; God, speaking after the manner of men, would have been ashamed to be called the God of such persons; he would not have owned, but have disclaimed the relation j but now, since their heaven-born souls were breathing after a future state of immortality and bliss, and aspirinar to the heavenly regions, where they hoped to enjoy God to all eternity; therefore he was not ashamed to be called their God; but calls himself so, as to Moses, at the bush •, / am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, Exod. iii. 6. A like phrase is used of Christ in this epistle, chap. ii. 11. for both he that santlifieth, and they that aresanclified, are all of one: of one nature, in one covenant, partakers of the fame grace, though not to the fame degree; and particularly, the one being thesanctifier, and the other the sanctified, and though both, holy : For which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, thren, as it is intimated he would be, had they not been one with him, and sanctified by him. In like manner, though God is the high and lofty One, whose throne is in.the heaven, and the earth his footstool, yet he disdains not to look unto, and to dwell with, the ho/y, humble, and contrite soul, Isai.lvii. 15. and chap. Ixvi. 1, 2. moreover these words stand in connection with the following; for hehatb prepared for them a city; which is a reason proving, that he is not ashamed to be. called their God ; and it is suggested, had he not done this, humanly (peaking, he should have been ashamed of being called, and accounted their God ; as particularly, the God of Abraham. This good man God called out of his native country, and his father's house, to go and dwell in a strange land, and as a pilgrim and a traveller in it: it is true, indeed, he promised to give it to him, and his posterity, for an inheritance •, but to him, personally, he did not give so much as a foot of ground in it, as Stephen fays, Acts vii. 5. Now if God had made no better provision for Abraham than this, he would have been ashamed to have been called his God ; but he prepared a city, and provided a better country ihinCanaan for him : and this Abraham knew, believed, looked for, and expected, and died in the faith of; and therefore God was not ashamed to be called his God ; and how many poor saints are there, whom God has called effectually by his grace from among the men of the world, who have scarce clothes to cover their naked bodies, scanty provisions of food, and that mean and coarse, to satisfy their craving appetites, and mean habitations to dwell in : now if God made no better provision for these persons, whom he thus calls, he would, speaking after the manner of men, be ashamed to be called their God : but lo ! though they are the poor of this world, yet they are rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom : for these poor ragged saints, that fare hard, and dwell in lowly cottages here, he has prepared a city, fit for kings and princes to dwell in, with plenty of all things, grand and pleasing, suitable thereunto: He takes these beggars from the dunghil, and sets them among princes, and causes them to inherit the throne of glory; and therefore he is nor ashamed to be called their God : but on the contrary exults, rejoices, glories in it, that he is their God ; and shows himself to be glorious as their covenant-God, by making such a munificent preparation and provision for his covenant-people: for the words are what Rhetoricians call a Mimesis, by which less is expressed than is designed. The city prepared, is the fame with the better country, as before explained, even the future happiness of the saints in heaven ; and this is of God's preparing, and of his only, and is given to none but those, for whom, says Christ, // is prepared of my Father. And it is a kingdom prepared by him in his eternal purposes and decrees, from the foundation of the world; fee Matt. xx. 23. and chap. xxv. 34. And the chosen vessels of mercy are afore prepared for this glory \ and in time are made meet and ready for it, through the righteousness of Christ Vol. I. 4 E put put upon them, and by his Spirit and grace in them ; and Christ he is gone ta prepare a place in this city, in this better country, by his presence and prevalent intercession, for every one of his people, and will come again and take them to himself, that where be i/, they may be also, John xiv. 2, 3.

I shall close all with a word or two : what has been said may serve to wean us from this world, and draw off our hearts from it, and cause us to fit loose unto k, and all things in it-, since this is not our rest, our house, our home, our native place; that is in another country; and this may be of use to quicken our desires after another world, to seek a better country, and look for it •, and thismay also point out to us the happiness of those that are gone before us, they are in this better country, and are in better company. —But I forbear saying

any more— *.

SERMON

• The following character was wrote by the Doctor and sound among his papers, though notdelivered from the pu pit.

It pleased God to call her by his grace in the eatly time of life, and in a place ofgreat darkless and ignorance; where there were scarce any, or very few proseslbrs of religion; so that when (he took up a profession of it, (lie appeared very singular, and became the object of the scoffs and jeers of her neighbours and former acquaintance ; but this did not deter her from pursuing the good ways of God (he had entered into, and from persisting in them. She soon drank in the doctrines of the free grace of God in the salvation of men by Christ, of which she had a comfortable experience.

In the after-time of her life, her afflictions and troubles were many, but under al) (he was favoured with divine supports, and was frequently indulged wiih gracious words of promise on different occasions, and yet often doubting and fearing: for none could have meaner and more humble thoughts of themselves than (he always had, looking upon heifelf as left than the haft of all saints.

Lord's days were usually delightful to her ; she often met with refreshings from the presence of God in them; which made her earnestly desire the return of them ; and when the day drew nigh, longed until the morning was, and the time came to attend public woilhip. The loss of these precious opportunities, through her long confinement, was greatly lamented by her.

She was one that truly feared God, and was ever desirous of having a conscience void of offense both cowards God and man, and of doing her duty to both ; careful as much as in her lay to give no offence by word or deed, to the world or to the church of God ; studying the things which make for peace among all with whom she was concerned; as her whole deportment, for the. space of between forty and fifty years, has abundantly (hewn, of which many here are witnesses.

Her last affliction, though long, tedious and painful, was bore with the greatest patience; that passage of scripture was truly verified in her, Tribulation ixorks patience-, and though she was not tirriei out, as her expression was, which she observed some were on their dying bed;, in raptures of joy and strong expressions of faith, yet it pleased Gcd to drop comforts into her soul at certain times; and sometimes she would be longing to be at home in her Father's house, faying, *• Lit nu '• go, O let mt go to my Father*! bouse:'" repeating it over and over again.

The scripture which has now been discoursed on, was expressed by her as it had been at times before, with great pleasure and delight; and also those words, them that sleep injesuitoill God bring-with him. In a view of her own soul-affairs, and those of her family, those words appeared to be ofconfideraWe use, and were quieting and comfortable to her, casting all your care upon him, for be carttb for you.

But a few Lord's days ago, as her surviving relative was taking his leave of her, coming hither to {reach, she expressed the following words with strong application to herself, having made peace through the blood os ha eras,: and with the greatest vehemency and eagerness added, And For Mi Too ; and repeated it, And For Me Too.

One morning, being asked how stie did, (he declared (he had much comfort that night in her meditations on the sufferings of Christ for her, in comparison of which her affliction?, though heavy, >vere bat light.—At another time, those words were very staying, supporting and satisfying to her, nevertheless the foundation of God Jiandisurt \ and very often declared (lie had comfort, but had not strength to express it; and indeed the enemy of souls was kept off from her through the whole, and «eas not suffered, as far as could be discerned, to disturb and distress her in the least ; the last words of any moment sliat were heard from her. were, when asked whether (he had comfort, (he said, (he had, bat not always alike; and added, the covenant is sure j quickly after this (he grew delirious, and stept much, till death seized her; of which (he seemed to be sensible by the motion* os lifting np her hands, and by the words (he uttered, which were Lord, Lord!—When something followed not understood by those that stood by, and then drawing her breath quicker, immediately, without a sigh or groan, fell asleep in the arms of Jfisus.