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ginal design and final accomplishment, JEHOVAH, Father, Son and Spirit, the all-wise and omnipotent architect or builder, hath described it as an exact mathematical square, and the fulness of its inhabitants by a perfect and square number, which admits neither the least defect nor redundancy. It is also called a mountain* to denote its firmness and stability. Thither the tribes go up from generation to generation, even the tribes of Jehovah, to give thanks unto his holy name, and to praise him for ever and ever.† They have a nail, "a constant and sure abode," in his holy place; and a wall, an appointed and measured line of building and defence, in this true Judah, and most holy Jerusalem. It is built all of pure and precious stones, capable of freely receiving light, and of finely reflecting it, though in distinct variety when received: and this light is neither from the sun, nor the moon, nor from any creatures; but the glory of God doth lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. No night can be there; and the glory and honor of the nations, even the redeemed among men, however despised below, as diamonds in the mine by an ignorant eye, are brought into it, and rejoice with thanksgiving throughout eternity.
Thus it appears, that the people of God are citizens of no mean city, which they at once inhabit and compose; but are the companions of angels, kings and priests in a beautiful temple, joint-heirs with Christ's human nature of an exceeding and eternal weight of
Isa. xxv. 6. ii. 2.
Ps. lxviii. 15, 16.
glory, and the friends and delight of JEHOVAH himself world without end.
It is not possible, we are often told, to express or conceive the joys of this heavenly city, or union of the faithful in an inseparable life and love; or to describe the privileges of its innumerable citizens, its distinct and individual members; and therefore we must rest upon what the Lord hath graciously revealed concerning them. Of this, however, we may be sure, that our faculties, whatever forms they may bear in that heavenly world, shall all be pure, perfect, and sublime; and that the pure, perfect, and sublime exercise of those faculties, upon the objects fitted and appointed for them, will constitute much of our happiness. For though labour is the effect of sin, and consequently toilsome and painful to the weak and unequal powers of a sinner; yet the most energetic employment of perfect beings, like the passage of the heavenly bodies in their orbits, may blissfully unite the most constant velocity of motion or duty, with the most entire possession of tranquillity or rest. We shall, in a word, be partakers of as much felicity, as God can bestow, and we receive. The fulness, which filleth all in all, will fill every one, according to his measure, with joy unspeakable and transcendent glory.
O my soul, what hath God wrought, and wrought for thee! Who could believe, if the evidence was not clear in the word of the faithful Jehovah, and in the truth of a living experience granted by his power, that a weak dying wanderer upon earth, despicable and despised among men, poor without any thing of his own, and
and worthless without power or right to obtain; should be held so dear in the sight of a holy and just God, through the merit and mediation of his Son, as to be made a denizen of heaven, to be endowed with the privileges of eternal royalty among thrones and principalities and powers; to be lifted up high above falling; and to be made incessantly happy without cloying; and all freely, fully, and everlastingly, by the arm of Omnipotence, and by the harmonious exercise of the wonderful attributes of the Godhead!-O the height and depth of this love of God! Who can utter the mighty acts of JEHOVAH? Who can show forth all his praise?
Contemplate, my soul, this thy blessed citizenship from day to day; go on, in heart, according to it, with faithful comfort and confidence; and, in life, pray, watch, and zealously strive to adorn and walk worthy of it; till thou be removed, from this state of exile and absence, to thy own appointed portion in that glad world, where thou shalt see thy Redeemer face to face, and be like unto him and to thy brethren with him, throughout the eternity ever before thee,
BODY OF CHRIST.
THIS is a figure employed by the Holy Spirit, in the
New Testament, to express the most perfect and inseparable union, which subsists between Christ and his people. It is also employed to denote the intimate communion of saints; partially in this life, because of their sinful bodies; but entirely hereafter, when they are complete in glory. It is a union which doth not destroy personal identity, but which consists in having a sameness of life, by immediate derivation from the Godhead through and with Christ Jesus, who is head over all to distribute this life unto those, who are in spíritual conjunction with him. The tabernacle, under the Old Testament, exhibited in figure, nearly, if not quite, a similar purpose and instruction.
The apostle considers this important subject, with its proper inferences, in his epistle to the Corinthians. By one Spirit (says he) are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.* That is, being baptized into Christ, we have put on Christ; so that he is now our new life, through participation of the same Spirit: and yet our personal character is not destroyed, any more than the hand, because of
* 1 Cor. xii. 13.
its conjunction with the body, ceases not to be a hand; for the body is not one member, or one undistinguishable mass, but many members, and every one of these (as the apostle speaks in another place) members one of another. Believers, from age to age, are aggregately one body, as composing the church of Christ; and they are members of that body, or members of Christ who is the head of it, when considered individually in themselves.†
Many noble uses are to be made of this great truth for the comfort and edification of the children of God. The figure, which represents it, was chosen by the wisdom of the Holy Ghost for this very purpose. It was not employed to delude us with a speculative fancy, but to describe, as much as earthly things may describe, a blessed and experimental reality.
In the book of God, or his covenant, were all the members of Christ written from before the foundation of the world, which in continuance were fashioned, or, what days they should be fashioned, when as yet there was none
Eph. iv. 25.
+ To this purpose is the observation of a great champion for the Church of England. "They, who belong to the mystical body of our Saviour Christ, and are in number as the stars of heaven, divided successively by reason of their mortal condition into many generations, are notwithstanding coupled every one to Christ their Head, and all unto every particular person amongst themselves; inasmuch as the same SPIRIT, which anointed the blessed soul of our Saviour Christ, doth so formalize, unite, and actuate his whole race, as if both he and they were so many limbs compacted into one body, by being quickened all with one and the same soul." Eccl. Pol. B. v. § 56.
Eph. i. 5. Rev. xvii. 8.