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That is to be brought; not that is brought or that shall be brought, butif we will render it strictly, it is, that is bringing to you. That blessedness, that consummation of grace the saints are hastening forward to'; and as they are bastening to it, it is hastening to them in the course of time ; every day brings it nearer to them than before, and notwithstanding all difficulties and dangers in the way, they who have their eye and hopes upon it, shall arrive at it, and it shall be brought safe to their hand. All the malice of men and devils shall not be able to cut them short of this grace that is bringing to them against the day of the revelation of Jesus Christ. * At the revelation of Jesus Christ. This is repeated from the 7th verse; and it is termed a day of revelation, a revelation of the just judgment of God, Rom. ii, 5. And thus it would be to all, were it not that it is withal the revelation of Jesus Christ; therefore is it a day of grace, all light and blessedness to them who are in him, because they shall appear in him, and if he be glorious, they shall not be inglorious and ashamed. Indeed were our secret sins then to be set before eyes in their most affrightful visage, and to be 'set
open to the view of angels and men and to the eye of divine justice, and we left alone so revealed, who is there that could gather any comfort, and would not rather have their thoughts filled with horror at the remembrance and expectation of that day? And thus indeed all unbelieving and 'ungodly men may look upon it, and find it terrible; but to those who are shadowed under the robe of righteous Jesus, yea, who are made one with him and shall partake of his glory in his appear. ing, it is the sweetest, the most comfortable thought that their souls can be entertained and possessed with, to remember this glorious revelation of their Redeemer. 3 » It is their great grief here, not that they themselves are hated and vilified, but that their Lord Jesus is so little known, and therefore so much despised in the world. He is vailed and hid from the world. Many nation's acknowledge him not at all, and many of those that do in word confess, yet in deed deny him. Many that have a form of godliness do not only want, but mock and scoff at the power of it; and to such Christ is not known, his
excellencies are bid from their eyes. Now the glory of their Lord being precious to them that love him, they rejoice much in the consideration of this, that there is a day at band, wherein he shall appear in his brightness and full of glory to all nations, and all shall be forced to acknowledge him.
And as it is the day of his revelation, it is also the revelation of all the adopted sops of God in him. See Rom. viii, 19. They are now accounted the refuse of the world, exposed to all kinds of contempt; but then the beams of Christ's glory sball beautify them, and they shall be known for his. See 1 John iii, 2; Col. iii, 4.
II. There is next the exhortation, by which the apostle excites them to the right apprehension and confident expectation of this grace, Hope to the end. The difference of these two graces, faith and hope, is so small, that the one is often taken for the other in scripture; it is but a different aspect of the same confidence, faith apprebending the infallible truth of those divine promises of which hope doth assuredly expect the accomplishment; so that this immediately results from the other. This is the anchor fixed within the vail, which keeps the soul firm against all the tossings of these swelling seas, and the winds and tempests that arise upon them. The firmest thing in this inferior world is a believing soul. Faith establishes the heart on Jesus Christ, and hope lifts it up, being on that rock, over the head of all intervenient dangers, crosses, and temptations, and sees the glory and happiness that follow after them.
To the end, or perfectly; and therefore the Christian seeks most earnestly, and yet waits most patiently; Psal. cxxx, 6. Indeed bis hope is perfect in continuance, it is a hope unto the end, because it is perfect in its nature, although imperfect in degree. Sometimes doubtings are intermixed with it in the souls of Christians, yet this is their infirmity, as the psalmist speaks, not the infirmity and insufficiency of the object of their hope. Worldly hopes are in their own nature imperfect; they do imply, in their very being, doubtfulness and wavering, because the things whereon they are built are inconstant, and uncertain, and full of deceit and disappointments. How can
that hope be inmoveable, which is built upon moving sands or quagmires ? That which is itself unfixed cannot give stability to any other thing resting upon it. But because the truth and goodness of the immutable God are the foundation of spiritual hope, therefore it is assured, and like mount Zion that cannot be removed ; and this is its perfection.
Now the apostle exhorts his brethren to endeavour to have their hearts possessed with as high a measure and degree of this hope as may be ; seeing in itself it is so perfect and firm, so assured an hope, he would have them aspire to all the assurance and perfection of it they can attain.
This exercise of hope, as I can conceive, is not only to have the habit of it strong in the soul, but to act it often, to be often turning that way, to view that approaching day of liberty, to lift up your heads for the day of your redemption draweth nigh. Where this hope is often acted, it will grow strong, as all habits do: and where it is strong, it will work much, and delight to act often, and will control both the doubtings and the other many impertinent thoughts of the mind, and force them to yield the place to it. Certainly they who long much for the coming of Christ, will often look out to it.
We are usually hoping after other things, which do but offer themselves to draw us after them, and to scorn us. What are the breasts of most of us, but so many nests of foolish hopes and fears internsixed, which entertain us day and night, and steal away our precious hours from us, that might be laid out so gainfully upon the wise and sweet thoughts of eternity, and upon the blessed and assured hope of the coming of our beloved Saviour ?
If you would have much of this looking for Christ, call off your affections from other things, that they may be capable of much of it. The same eye cannot both look up to heaven, and down to earth at the same time. The more your affections are disentangled from the world, the more active will they be in this hope; the more sober they are, the less will they fill themselves with the coarse delights of earth, the more room will there be in them, and the more they will be filled with this hope. It is great folly, in our spiritual warfare, to charge ourselves super
Agously. The fulness of one thing binders the receiving and admittance of any other, especially of things so opposite, as these fulnesses are.
Be sober or routch. The same word signifies both, and with good reason; for you know the ansober cannot watch. Now though one main part of sobriety, and that wbich more properly and particularly bears this name, temperance in meat and drink, is here intended ; and though against the opposite to this, not only the purity and spirituality of religion, but even moral virtue inveighs as its special enemy, yea nature itself, and they that only naturally consider the body and its interest of life and health, find reason enough to cry down this base intemperance, which is so hateful by its own deformity, and withal carries its punishment along with it-although this sobriety is indeed most necessary for the preservation of grace and of the spiritual temper of the soul, and is here intended, yet, I conceive, it is not all that is here meant: the word is more general, comprehending the moderate and sober use of all things worldly. As the apostle says, Gird up the loins of your mind, so it is to be understood, let your minds be sober, all your affections inwardly attempered to your spiritual condition, not glutting yourselves with fleshly and perishing delights of any kind; for the
take in of these, the less you will have of spiritual comfort and of this perfect hope. They that pour out themselves upon present delights, look not like strangers here, and hopeful expectants of another life and bet-' ter pleasures. And certainly, the Captain of our salvation will not own them for his followers, who lie down to drink of these waters, but only such as in passing take of them with their hand. As excessive eating or drinking both makes the body sickly and lazy, fit for nothing but sleep, and besots the mind, thus doth all immoderate use of the world and its delights wrong the soul in its spiritual condition, and make it sickly and feeble, full of spiritual distempers and inactivity ; benumb the graces of the Spirit, and fill the soul with sleepy vapors ; make it grow secure and heavy in spiritual exercises, and obstruct the way and motion of the Spirit of God within it. Therefore, if you would be spiritual, healthful, and vigorous,
and enjoy much of the consolations of heaven, be sparing and sober in those of the earth ; and what you abate of the one, shall be certainly made up in the other. Health is a more constant permanent pleasure, than that of excess and a momentary pleasing of the palate; thus the confort of this hope, is a more refined and more abiding contentment, than any that is to be found in the passing enjoyments of this world; and it is a foolish bargain, to exchange a dram of the one for many pounds of the other. Consider how pressingly the apostle St. Paul reasons, 1 Cor. ix, 25, Every man that striveth for the mastery, is temperate in all things. And take withal our Saviour's exhortation ; Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
Gird up the loins of your minds. The custom of those countries was, that wearing long garments, they trussed them up for work or a journey. Gird up the loins of your minds. Gather up your affections that they hang not down to binder you in your race, and so in your hopes of obtaining; and do not only gather them up, but tie them up, that they fall not down again, or if they do, be sure to gird them straiter than before. Thus be as men prepared for a journey, tending to another place. This is not our home, nor the place of rest; therefore our loins must be still girt up, our affections kept from training and dragging down upon the eartb.
Men who are altogether earthly and profane are so far from girding up the loins of their mind, that they set them wholly downwards. The very highest part of their soul is glued to the earth, and they are daily partakers of the serpent's curse, they go on their belly and eat the dust; they mind earthly things. Now this disposition is inconsistent with grace'; but they that are in some measure truly godly, though they grovel not so, yet may be somewhat guilty of suffering their affections to fall too low, that is, to be too much conversant with vanity, and further engaged than is meet to some things that are worldly; and by this means they may abate of their hea. venly hopes, and render them less perfect, less clear and sensible to their souls. And because ibey are most sub