A Funeral Sermon ON MORDECAI ABBOTT Esq Preach'd at Lorimers Hall, April the 7th, 1700.


Psal. 89.48.

What Man is he that liveth, and shall not see Death? Shall he deliver his Soul from the hand of the Grave?

Mat. 24.46.

Blessed is that Servant, whom his Lord when he cometh, shall find so doing.

LONDON, Printed for D. Brown at the Black Swan and Bible without Temple-bar, and A. Bell at the Cross-keys and Bible in Cornhil. 1700.


PAge 7. line antepenult, put the Comma after little. P. 15. l. ult. for Servant, read Ser­vice. P. 18. l. ult. r. they may both themselve acknowledg. P. 19. l. 2. for but, r. and.

To the Sorrowful Widow of Mordecai Abbott Esq


THO I readily comply'd with Your desire in preaching the follow­ing Sermon, I could not with­out some reluctancy consent to the printing of it: But my great Obligations both to Your deceas'd Husband, and Your self, gave Your Request the force of a Command. I ra­ther chose to have my Pru­dence censur'd than my Gra­titude. [Page] I am sensible that I studied it under a great dis­advantage, both by reason of my bodily Indisposition, and those necessary Affairs that lay upon my hands; which made me the more unwilling to publish it. But if God, who is a Soveraign Agent, shall be pleas'd to make it use­ful to any that read it, I shall find no reason to repent its being brought upon the pub­lic Stage.

I hope, Madam, when you seriously consider how sutable those VVords w [...]ch I preach'd upon are to the Character of your departed Relative, it may [Page] be a means to support You un­der that severe Stroke which separated Him from You. He was a good and a faithful Ser­vant, and I question not but he is now enter'd into the Joy of his Lord. His Conversa­tion upon Earth gives You solid ground to hope that he is advanc'd to Heaven, where he is possest of a compleat Fe­licity: And that sweet Savour he has left behind him per­fumes his Family, now his Bo­dy is cloth'd with Corrupti­on. 'Tis an honour to You that You had such a Hus­band; to Your Children, that they had such a Father.

[Page]That the Lord would supply this Loss by the more eminent Vouchsafement of his Graci­ous Presence to You; that he would adopt Your Fatherless Children into his own Fa­mily; that the choicest of his Blessings may constantly de­scend upon You and Yours, is the unfeigned desire of,

Your humble Servant, THO. HARRISON.
April 15th, 1700.
Matth. xxv. 21.

His Lord said unto him, Well done good and faithful Servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee Ruler over many things: enter thou into the Joy of thy Lord.

THE great Apostle of our Profession, during the publick exercise of his Ministry upon Earth, spoke very much in Parables, according to the stile and manner of the Jewish Nation: Hereby spiritual things were brought down to the Capa­cities of his Hearers, being re­presented by those earthly ones which were most familiar to their [Page 2] Understandings. We have two Parables in this Chapter, my Text is a part of the latter, which be­gins with the 14th, and ends with the 30th Verse. The Scope of this Parable was to perswade Men to diligence in the Service of God, and to a faithful improve­ment of the Benefits which they receive from him.

In order to the Explication of my Text, I shall consider four things.

1st. The Speaker.

2dly. The Person spoken to.

3dly. The Speech it self.

4thly. The time when it was deliver'd. An account of these things will give you further light into the whole Parable.

1st. The Speaker; His Lord. Hereby our Lord intends himself, [Page 3] who was ready to travel into a far Country, to ascend to the Emperial Heaven, which is at a vast local distance from this low­ly Earth, wherein he then so­journed. He hath a double Lord­ship over all Countries, viz. Es­sential and Primitive, as the se­cond Person in the Trinity; and Derivative and Dispensatory, as Mediator. Tho many of the human Race refuse to serve and obey him, they are all his right­ful Servants and Subjects: His Dominion over them is not found­ed upon their Consent; he is ne­vertheless their Lord, tho they will not own him to be so. In short, they that slight his Autho­rity now, will find it exercis'd hereafter in the infliction of a deserved and severe Punishment upon them. The unprofitable Servant shall be cast into outer [Page 4] Darkness, where shall be weeping and gnashing of Teeth; as you may see in the 30th Verse of this Chapter.

2dly. The Person spoken to: His Lord said unto Him. We have an account of the Person in the preceding Verse, and that with respect to two things, viz. his Receipt, and his Improvement.

1. His Receipt. This Servant had receiv'd five Talents from his Master. All the Blessings that the Children of Men enjoy, flow from Jesus Christ: Temporal good things are dispensed by him as the Governor of the World; and spiritual, as the Head of the Church. His Favours are not communicated to all in an equal measure. We read of one Ser­vant that receiv'd but one Ta­lent, of another that receiv'd two Talents; but this Servant was [Page 5] intrusted with five. The supreme Lord makes a considerable diffe­rence between one and another by the distribution of his Favours. One hath no more than Food and Raiment, just enough to supply the Necessities of Nature; ano­ther abounds in Wealth, his Cup is so full that it runs over: one lives obscurely, and makes no fi­gure in the World; another is in an exalted Station: one is very weak in his Intellectuals, ano­ther is furnish'd with a conside­rable stock of Parts and Learning. And surely the Proprietor of Hea­ven and Earth may dispose of his own as he pleases. They that enjoy the least, have more than they deserve; they that en­joy the most, must acknowledg that it is not their Worthiness, but the soveraign Goodness of their Lord, that hath made them [Page 6] to differ from others.

2. His Improvement; He gained besides them five Talents more: he did not hide his five Talents, as his fellow Servant did his one Talent, but laid them out and improv'd them. He gain'd more by his five Talents than the other Man did by his two; his Improvement was pro­portionable to his Receipt. To whomsoever much is given, of him shall much he requir'd; Luke 12.48. The more God hath done for us, and bestow'd upon us, the more will he expect from us. All that we have receiv'd from him should be laid out in his Service, for the advancement of his Honour. I proceed,

3dly. To the Speech it self: Well done good and faithful Servant, thou hast been faithful in a few things, I will make thee Ruler over many [Page 7] things: enter thou into the Joy of thy Lord. Herein we have his Lord's Commendation of him, and the Happiness to which he adjudges him.

1. His Lord's Commenda­tion of him; Well done good and faithful Servant, thou hast been faith­ful in a few things. He approves of his Service, and commends him for it. I conceive the latter word faithful may be explicative of the former Epithet, good: the Goodness and Excellency of a Servant chiefly consisting in his Fidelity to his Master. The things wherein he had been faithful are call'd few, in comparison of what should be intrusted with him, and bestow'd upon him. The most that we receive from Christ at present, is very little compared with what we shall receive from him hereafter. There is a [Page 8] vast disproportion between what we have in hand, and what we have in hope. I may say of the Enjoyments, as the Apostle doth of the Sufferings, of the present time, that they are not worthy to be compared with the Glory which shall be reveal'd in us, Rom. 8.18. God will deal more bountifully with his own Children when they come to Heaven, than he ever doth while they remain upon Earth.

2. The Happiness to which he adjudges him: I will make thee Ruler over many things; enter thou into the Joy of thy Lord. We must not be solicitous to accommodate every word in a Parable to that spiritual Truth that is taught us by it. I will not determine whe­ther these words, I will make thee Ruler over many things, do purely serve for the setting off the Pa­rabolical Narration, or are to be [Page 9] taken in a spiritual sense. Accor­ding to the former Notion they are expressive of a kind Master's treatment of a faithful Servant; having experienc'd his Fidelity in smaller matters, he entrusts him with greater, and advances him to a higher Station. According to the latter Notion they are ex­pressive of that great Felicity which Christ will confer upon his faithful Servants in another World. This is further held forth in the following words, Enter thou into the Joy of thy Lord; whereby is certainly intended the Glory and Blessedness of the Heavenly State. This is exprest by Joy, because the fruition of it will produce a triumphant and unspeakable Joy in those that enter into it. Thus Psal. 16.11. In thy Presence is ful­ness of Joy, and at thy right-hand are Pleasures for evermore. 'Tis call'd [Page 10] the Joy of his Lord, and that pro­bably on a double account.

(1.) Because in the Vision and Enjoyment of Christ the greatest part of their Felicity will consist. Tho there be many Jewels in that never fading Crown of Glory which shall be set upon the Heads of Believers in another World, this is the brightest and most sparkling. When our Lord prays for the final Happiness of his Peo­ple, he thus expresses himself; Father, I will that they be with me where I am, that they may behold my Glory which thou hast given me, Joh. 17.24. The Apostle there­fore desir'd to depart, that he might be with Christ, Phil. 1.23.

(2.) Because his Glory in Hea­ven is the Exemplar and Pattern of that which his People shall en­joy. They shall enter into that Joy, which he as their Forerunner [Page 11] is already enter'd into: Not that they shall possess the same Glory in all respects that Christ hath; for his personal Glory as the Son of God, and as Mediator, are in­communicable; but they shall partake of his Glory according to their Capacity. We are told that they shall reign with him, 2 Tim. 2.12. and that when he shall appear they shall be like him, 1 Joh. 3.2. Their Souls shall be per­fectly conform'd to his human Soul, in Purity and Felicity, and their Bodies shall be fashion'd into the likeness of his glorious Body. An entering into this Joy may denote the plenitude and abundance of it: Here Joy enters into us, but hereafter we shall enter into Joy; we shall be swallow'd up in a fathomless Ocean of pure and unallay'd Pleasures. I proceed,

[Page 12] 4thly. To consider the Time when this Speech was deliver'd. If we look back into the 19th Verse, we shall find it was when the Lord came to reckon with his Servants. Hereby our Lord's se­cond Coming in visible Glory, to judg both Quick and Dead, is evidently intended: Of this we have a particular account in the latter part of the Chapter. The Heavens must contain our ascen­ded Lord till the times of the restitution of all things, and then he shall descend from thence in the Glory of his Father, with all his holy Angels, to convene the whole Race of Adam before his Judgment-seat, to call them to an account for the Deeds done in the Body, and to pass a definitive Sentence upon them according to their Works. 'Tis true, there is a particular Judgment which im­mediately [Page 13] follows after Death: When the Soul is separated from the Body, it appears before the Bar of the supreme Judg, to give an account of its Stewardship, and then receives an irreversible Sentence of Condemnation, or Absolution. But I conceive our Lord chiefly respects the General Judgment, when the Trial will be public, the Sentence pro­nounc'd with the most awful So­lemnity; and the Happiness or Misery of every Man compleated.

Having gone thro the words by way of Explication, I might raise several Observations from them. But that I may comply with my time, I shall only speak to this Proposition:

Doct. That they who are faithful Ser­vants of Christ in this Life, shall be possest of a very joyful and happy State in the next.

[Page 14]In prosecuting this Point, I shall,

  • I. Describe the faithful Ser­vants of Christ.
  • II. Give an account of that joyful and happy State of which they shall be here­after possest.
  • III. Show the certain Con­nexion between serving Christ faithfully in this Life, and the Possession of that blissful State in the next.
  • IV. Make some Application.

I. I am to describe the faithful Servants of Christ, who they are that shall be own'd as such by the Supreme Lord, when he comes to Judgment. They may be described, (1.) From their State. (2.) From their Actions. The former is necessarily pre­suppos'd [Page 15] to their serving Christ with Faithfulness and Acceptance. The Service which they do for Christ consists in the latter.

1. Their State may be describ'd [...]n two Particulars.

(1.) They are justified by the Righteousness of Christ. 'Tis impossible that any good Fruit should be brought forth by a Person till he be ingrafted into Christ, as is plainly taught us by our Lord himself; Joh. 15.4, 5. Now being found in Christ, and [...]aving on his Righteousness, are conjoin'd, because they are insepa­rable; Phil. 3.9. They who are mystically one with Christ, must [...]eeds be interested in his Media­tory Righteousness, and so per­fectly justified in the sight of God. Tho, according to the Tenor of the Covenant of Works, the Ser­vant was to be first accepted, and [Page 16] then the Person on that account; yet according to the Tenor of the Covenant of Grace, the Person must be first accepted, and then the Service. Nothing short of an Investiture with Christ's perfect Righteousness can render our Per­sons acceptable to the most High; and till they become so, our most splendid Services will be abomi­nable in his sight.

(2.) They are renew'd and sanctified by the Spirit of Christ: Every acceptable Service flows from a Principle of spiritual Life. A corrupt Tree cannot bring forth good Fruit, Mat. 7.18. We may as well suppose that Grapes should be the Product of Thorns, o [...] Figs of Thistles, as that an un­sanctified Person should bring forth Fruit unto God. They that are in the Flesh cannot please God; Rom. 8.8. Their Persons cannot [Page 17] therefore their Actions cannot; because they are the Products of a Nature at variance with him, a Nature that is not, nor cannot be subject to his Law. The faithful Servants of Christ are conform'd to his Image: The Law of God is first written in their Hearts, and then copied out in their Lives.

2. I shall describe them from their Actions: Only I would premise this, we are not to sup­pose that they are altogether free from Sin. The most faithful Ser­vants of Christ offend in many things; their Errors are so many and so great, that they cannot fully understand them: Their best Performances are imperfect, being tinctur'd with the remain­ing Corruption of their Natures. Should God be strict to mark the Iniquities of their holy things, [Page 18] they could not stand before him. But,

(1.) They design the Honour of Christ in that Service which they do for him. Many carnal Persons do several things that are agreeable to the Reveal'd Will of this glorious Lord, and have a proper tendency to serve his Interest; but they have no eye to his Glory in any of these Actions: they only aim at the advance­ment of their own Reputation, the promotion of some Secular Interest, or the quieting of their own Consciences. But they who sincerely serve the Blessed Jesus, fix upon his Glory as their ulti­mate end; and what Good they do is propos'd by them as a means subservient to it. The grand reason of their practical Holiness and Obedience is, that they themselves may not only [Page 19] acknowledg the Glory of their great Master, but likewise pro­claim it to others.

(2.) They have a regard to all his Commandments. The Cha­racter which Christ gives of his Friends, Joh. 15.14. agrees to his faithful Servants, they do whatso­ever he commands them: They do not slight any Precept on which they can discern the stamp of his Authority: They make conscience both of first and se­cond Table Duties, of those that are Personal and those that are Relative of the least as well as the greatest, of the most difficult as well as the most easy.

They will not say of any Di­vine Command, This is a hard saying, who can bear it? They are ready to do any sort of Work their Master sets them about, however toilsom and laborious, [Page 20] however mean and contemptible in the eyes of the World, how­ever costly or hazardous: They mind the Duties of every place and station wherein the Provi­dence of God hath set them, whether Civil, Domestic, or Ec­clesiastical▪ They discharge their Duty towards their Country, their Families, and the Church to which they are related, with Integrity and Diligence. And this they do, not by constraint, but willingly.

(1.) They lay out all the Ta­lents with which they are intrusted in his Service: As they are Stew­ards, they improve what he hath put into their hands to those Ends and Purposes for which they re­ceiv'd it.

Have they a plentiful Estate? they do not spend it in making provision for the Flesh; nor do [Page 21] they covetously hoard it up, but imploy a considerable part of it in supporting the Worship of God, propagating the Gospel of Christ, and relieving those that are in distress. They honour God with their Substance, and with the first-fruits of their Increase. Are they advanc'd to any Station wherein they are capable of ser­ving Christ or his People with their Interest? they improve it to the utmost for such a purpose. They serve the Lord with those Parts and Abilities, with those Gifts and Graces which he hath bestow'd upon them.

II. I proceed to give you an account of that joyful and happy State whereof those faithful Ser­vants shall be hereafter possest: And since it is exprest by Joy in my Text, I shall mention some [Page 22] things which render that State very joyful, or excite a trium­phant Joy in those that enter in­to it; and then give you the Pro­perties of that Joy which results from these Fruitions.

1st. I shall mention some things which render that State very joy­ful, or excite a triumphant Joy in those that enter into it.

1. A freedom from those In­felicities which attend a mortal State. As the privation of Good is cause of Sorrow, so a delive­rance from Evil gives a natural rise to Joy. Will not a Prisoner rejoice when reliev'd from that Dungeon to which he was con­fin'd, and freed from those Fet­ters wherewith he was shackled? How joyful is a Man when re­cover'd from a languishing Sick­ness, and eas'd of racking Pain? Surely our Mouths will be filled with [Page 23] Laughter, and our Tongues with singing when we shall be perfect­ly freed from that mighty train of Evils which Adam's Fall brought into this lower World. How will our Spirits exult when we shall be set at a vast distance from those things, which often made us sigh, groan and weep! When we enter into the other World, we shall be freed from all sor­rowful, and from all sinful Evils.

(1.) From all sorrowful Evils. There is no more Death, nor Sorrow, nor shall there be any more Pain; for former things are past away; Rev. 21.4. There is no Infirmity of Body, no Poverty, no Disgrace, no Treachery of pretended Friends, no Persecution of open Enemies; there are no perplexing Cares, or tormenting Fears, no Temptations from within or without, no Divine Withdrawings. How will the [Page 24] Soul rejoice when it can say, I felt abundance of Pain by reason of the disorder of my Body, but now I enjoy perfect Ease: I was rack'd and tortur'd with many Cares and Fears, but now they are all chas'd away as the Shadows of the Evening by the rising Sun: I was violently buffeted by the wicked one, but he is now bruised under my Feet, I have obtain'd a compleat and final Victory o­ver him; I am got out of the reach of his fiery Darts and ma­lignant Suggestions.

(2.) From all sinful Evils. These are most grievous to a re­newed Soul, when in a right frame; no Pressure so heavy as that Body of Death which he con­tinually carries about with him. Of this the Apostle Paul made a very doleful Complaint, Rom. 7.34. And from the fountain of in­dwelling [Page 25] Sin many actual Sins do frequently stream. But all vi­tious Habits are entirely rooted out of Believers when translated into another World. No unclean thing can enter into the holy place above. The rags of mortal De­filement drop from them, as Eli­jah's Mantle did from him when mounting up to that lofty Region. And none of those Sons that are brought to Glory, ever wander from God's Commandments: There is no more disconformity to the Divine Will in their Actions than there is in their Hearts. And how will the holy Soul exult when freed from those Fetters of Corruption which so often kept it at a distance from God, and hin­der'd it from doing his Will! To what an extasy of Joy will it be raised, when it finds it self with­out spot or wrinkle!

[Page 26]2. The moral Perfection of our Souls. The separate Spirits of just Men are made perfect, Heb. 12.23. As the old Man shall then be destroy'd, so the new Man shall come to its full growth, to its highest pitch. That moral Image of God which was imperfectly pourtray'd upon us at our Introduction into the King­dom of Grace, will be brought to its utmost Perfection upon our entrance into the Kingdom of Glory. Now we may consider this moral Perfection both as it respects the Understanding, and as it respects the Will, the two supreme Faculties of the human Soul.

(1.) As it respects the Under­standing; and so it consists in a Perfection of Knowledg. Now we see thro a Glass, darkly; but then face to face: now we know in part, [Page 27] but then shall we know even as also we are known; 1 Cor. 13.12. Then that which is perfect will come, and that which is in part shall be done away. Those things we have at present conceal'd from us, shall then be unfolded to us: Our Apprehen­sions of those things which we are now acquainted with, will be much clearer and more distinct than they are while we dwell in this cloudy Region, where so many Mists and Fogs arise to ob­scure our sight of Divine and Spi­ritual Objects, and our Souls are apt to make a judgment of them as represented by the Senses. What bright views shall we then have of the Nature and Perfecti­ons of the Deity, of the glori­ous Mysteries than are contain'd in the everlasting Gospel, of the eternal Counsel and Designs, of the beautiful and harmonious [Page 28] Providences of the Eternal King! Knowledg is so agreeable to the human Mind, that Men take a­bundance of Pains, and wade thro many Difficulties in the pur­suit of it, and are even transpor­ted with Joy when they have ob­tain'd it, tho in a trifling incon­siderable matter. What an ele­vation then will be given to our Joy, by the clearest view of the most excellent Objects? What Pleasure will result from those bright Idea's of God and Christ, wherewith our Minds shall be filled?

(2.) As it respects the Will; and so it chiefly consists in a Per­fection of Love, which is a Grace very sutable to the triumphant State. There is a vast difference between that Love which a mili­tant Saint bears to his Heavenly Father and his Glorious Redeemer, [Page 29] and that of a triumphant Saint. Our Love, when we come to Hea­ven, will bear a just proportion to our Knowledg. The Light wherewith our Minds shall be irradiated, will be accompanied with a sutable warmth of Affecti­on. And as a Perfection of Love to God will mightily ennoble our Wills, so it will produce solid and unspeakable Joy, forasmuch as it renders the fruition of God and Christ exceeding delightful. There can no satisfaction arise from the Presence of an unbe­loved Object: and the Pleasure that we take in the Enjoyment of any thing will be propor­tionate to its share in our Affecti­ons. In short, since Believers mourn at present to find their Love of the supreme Being but as smoking Flax, how will they rejoice hereafter when it shall [Page 30] becom a triumphant Flame?

3. The full enjoyment of God and Christ. Tho the Di­vine gracious Presence be afforded to Believers in their way to Hea­ven, yet the glorious Presence of God will not be enjoy'd by them till they enter into that blissful Habitation. Our Fellowship with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ, is but partial at present, hereafter it will be full. Since God is our chiefest Good, the su­preme Object of our Love, we must needs rejoice in the com­pleat fruition of him. What a triumphant Joy will spring up in our Souls, when we shall lie in the Embraces of such a glorious Person as our Emanuel, one who is the brightness of the Father's Glory, and the express Image of his Person: one who is very nearly related to us, being our elder Bro­ther, [Page 31] our Head, our Husband: one who hath laid the most endearing Obligations upon us by what he hath done for us. How pleasant will it be to dwell with Him, who from Eternity undertook for us as our Sponsor, who in the ful­ness of time took upon him our Nature, stood in our Law-place, redeem'd us from eternal Misery, and purchas'd everlasting Happi­ness for us by his Obedience and Sufferings; who lov'd us so as to give himself a Ransom for us; of whose fulness we have re­ceiv'd, and Grace for Grace; who hath succor'd us in our Tempta­tions, supported us under our Afflictions, and conducted us to the Heavenly Canaan.

4. The Society of glorious Angels and glorified Saints. How joyful will that State be, wherein we shall dwell and converse [Page 32] with the highest Order of cre­ated Beings, who have per­form'd many eminent Services for us in the house of our Pilgri­mage, being all ministring Spirits, sent forth to minister to them who shall be the Heirs of Salvation? How pleasant will it be to dwell and converse with the whole As­sembly of triumphant Saints, when free from all those Im­perfections which attended them in their mortal State, and very much abated the Comfort of their mutual Society? There will be no Divisions or Animosities among them, but perfect Unity, and a flaming Love shall reign in all their Hearts.

5. The glorious and blissful state of our Bodies. When our great Master shall come again as a quickning Spirit, he will raise the Bodies of his Members from [Page 33] their Beds of Dust, and reunite them unto their Souls: And tho for substance they will be the same that they were before their Dissolution, yet the Qualities will be greatly alter'd. The Bodies of Believers shall be re­form'd with all glorious Perfecti­ons sutable to their Nature, and partake with their Souls in con­summate Blessedness in a glo­rious Immortality; 1 Cor. 15. The Soul must needs have a great Affection for its Body, and when separate from it, desires a reunion. How will it exult then when the Marriage-knot shall be retied, and it shall find such a vast and happy change made in its dear Relative since the doleful Sepa­ration? How will it rejoyce to possess an incorruptible, a spiri­tual, a glorious and an immortal Body?

[Page 34] 2dly. I shall give you the Pro­perties of that Joy which results from these Fruitions, in two parti­culars: 'Tis endless, and 'tis un­decaying.

(1.) 'Tis endless. That ful­ness of Joy which is in God's immediate Presence, lasts for ever­more: It must needs be so, be­cause that Happiness whence it results will be of a perpetual duration. Those Evils from which the glorified Saints are freed, shall no more return upon them; they shall never be de­priv'd of the Beatific Vision of God, nor dislodg'd from the im­mediate Embraces of their dear Redeemer. Tho the first Adam was soon expell'd the Earthly Paradise, the Seed of the second Adam shall never be driven out of the heavenly: Their Souls shall no more be divorc'd from [Page 35] their Bodies. In short, when millions of millions of Ages are run out in the fruition of Hea­venly Pleasures, their Happiness will be no nearer to its Period than at the first moment of their admission into the Regions of Glory.

(2.) 'Tis undecaying. As they shall not cease to rejoice, so their Joy will never be impair'd or diminish'd: There shall be no Clouds to obscure the Splen­dor of that Eternal Day. Our Happiness will be always the same, and our Perception of it equal throughout an end­less Eternity. The long Enjoy­ment of Celestial Pleasures will not make us to grow weary of them. There is an infinite va­riety in God, and whatever is truly desirable is eminently in­joy'd in him. An infinite Good [Page 36] produces always the same pure equal compleat Joy, because it arises from its intrinsic Perfecti­on that wants no foil to commend it. In a word, this Joy is no ravishing Rapture, but a con­stant height of Affection. Thus I dismiss the second General Head. I must but touch upon the

III. To show the certain Con­nexion between serving Christ faithfully in this Life, and the possession of that blissful State in the next. There is no Con­nexion by way of Merit between the one and the other. Eternal Life is the free Gift of God, and therefore not the proper Reward of our Services. Since we owe a perfect Obedience to our Lord, could we yield that, it would not entitle us to the Glory of Hea­ven. But there being many flaws [Page 37] and defects in our Obedience, 'tis very absurd to claim so great a Felicity on that account. Tho the Word of God assures us, that the possession of Heaven shall certainly follow upon the faithful serving of Christ on Earth. I might produce several Texts to this purpose, but two shall suf­fice.

We are assur'd, that Christ will render eternal Life to them who by patient continuance in well-doing, seek for Glory, Honour and Immor­tality; Rom. 2.6, 7. He that soweth to the Spirit, shall of the Spi­rit reap Life everlasting; Gal. 6.8. This glorious Judg will at the grand Assize pronounce a Sen­tence upon every one sutable to the kind and nature, tho not to the desert of his Works. Then shall Men return and discern between the righteous and the wicked; between [Page 38] him that serveth God, and him that serveth him not. Since all Christ's faithful Servants are justified and sanctified, they shall certainly be glorified. They who have a right to Heaven, and a meetness for it, shall infallibly enter into that delectable Habitation. There is such Connexion between the Fruits of electing Love, that they who have receiv'd any one, shall certainly receive all the rest. I proceed,

IV. To make some Applica­tion.

1. How highly doth it concern us to enquire, whether we are the faithful Servants of Christ or not! Since this is a matter of everlast­ing importance, how strict should we be in the examination of our selves, that we may come to a due result in our own Minds about [Page 39] it? Let us seriously consider whe­ther the Character that hath been given of such Persons agrees to us. We have a great deal of Work to do, are we diligent in it? Some Talents are intrusted with us all, do we carefully im­prove them? If we loiter and are unfaithful, we cannot conceal our Infidelity from our Omniscient Lord, tho our fellow Servants may be unacquainted with it. Deceitful Pleas and Excuses will not avail us, when we stand be­fore that Judg, whose Eyes are as a flame of Fire.

2. How sad will the Condition of unfaithful Servants be in the awful day of Account! If they that are faithful shall enter into the Joy of their Lord, then they that are unfaithful shall be doom'd to eternal Sorrow. As there is a vast difference between their State [Page 40] and their Actions at present, so their Condition will be vastly different hereafter. They that spend all their time in the Service of Sin and Satan, will receive dreadful Wages, even everlasting Death, at the end of it. The Talents which are now intrusted with them, will inflame their Rec­koning when they stand at their Lord's Tribunal: Since they have sown to the Flesh, they shall of the Flesh reap Corruption. Think of this, O Sinners, before it be too late. That Time, those Estates, those Opportunities, those natural and acquir'd Parts which you now profusely squander away, must e'er long be accounted for. In a short time Christ will say to every one of you, Give an account of thy Stewardship, for thou mayst be no longer Steward. And how sad an Account will you give if taken [Page 41] out of the World in your present state? Think what Horror will seize you (if not extremely stu­pid) when Death shall sit upon your quivering Lips, and your Souls shall be just ready to take their flight into an eternal World! How dreadful will the thoughts of appearing before the Lord be to you, when sensibly approach­ing his Judgment-Seat! Think of that awful Day when Christ shall be reveal'd from Heaven in flaming Fire, to take Vengeance upon them that know not God, and obey not the Gospel. How dreadful a Spectacle will the Supreme Judg be to you who have slighted and contemned him, when he shall appear in a pompous manner, arm'd with Almighty Power, and attended with a numerous Train, to pronounce an irreversible Sen­tence of Condemnation upon [Page 42] you? Can you bear to dwell in blackness of Darkness, and to lie in unquenchable Flames with Legions of Devils?

Tho you have highly offended your Lord, 'tis not yet too late to find Mercy. He now sits upon a Throne of Grace, and extends his Golden Scepter to the greatest Criminals. Come to Christ by Faith, that you may be interested in his Righteousness, which will free you from the Guilt of your former Infidelity; and receive that Grace from him which will ca­pacitate you to serve him faith­fully the remainder of your days. Know that many who were once in the same case with your selves, are now reigning in Life, thro Jesus Christ their Lord.

3. What Encouragement have Believers to fidelity in the Service of their Lord! That assurance [Page 43] which you have of a future Feli­city, should encourage you to lay out your selves to the utmost in the Service of Christ at present. The Improvement which the Apo­stle makes of the Doctrine of the Resurrection, 1 Cor. 15. ult. is a natural Improvement of this Doctrine; Therefore, my beloved Bre­thren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, al­ways abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your Labour is not in vain in the Lord. Since Christ will bestow such an un­speakable Happiness upon you hereafter, how willing should you be to do your utmost to serve him here? The Joy that is set before you should carry you chearfully thro all the fatigues and difficul­ties of your present State.

4. This may comfort us under the loss of our Godly Friends and Relations. 'Tis true, the better [Page 44] they were, the greater loss we sustain'd by their removal. But the Consideration of what they have gain'd by a translation into another World, may very much lighten the Affliction, and chear our Spirits under it. Are we sa­tisfied that our deceased Friends were good and faithful Servants of Christ? we may conclude that they are enter'd into the Joy of their Lord, and therefore have pass'd thro a very happy Change.

And I may reasonably suggest this to the surviving Relatives of that Excellent Person whose Death hath occasion'd this Discourse: I think the words of my Text were justly applicable to him. To give his just Character might ren­der me suspected of Flattery by those who were unacquainted with him. Ever since I had the honour of his acquaintance, I took [Page 45] him to be a sincere Christian; and the better I knew him, the more I was confirm'd in that Opinion. I found him a solid and serious, not a flashy and airy Professor; one that had a great concern not only for the Welfare of the Nation, but for the Interest of Christ in it. His Lord had intrusted him with several Talents; he had a plenti­ful Income, was in an eminent Station, had great natural Abili­ties, and a general Reputation a­mong all sorts of Persons. And did he bury these Talents? No, he laid them out in the Service of his Lord. How freely and libe­rally did he contribute towards the relief of those that were in want, and the propagation of the Gospel? I never knew him backward to the promotion of any good design; but were it convenient, could give many Instances of his readiness to [Page 46] do good both by his Purse and In­terest. He was lovely in every Capacity, a good Subject, a true Patriot, a useful and honourable Member of the Church of Christ, a loving Husband, a careful Fa­ther, a kind Master, and a faithful and affectionate Friend. But he is gone, his place shall know him no more: having serv'd his own Generation by the Will of God, he is fallen asleep; God hath call'd him away in the midst of his days, when many unprofitable Servants are left behind. Such a loss, so Publick, so General, ought to be bewailed. Now a righteous Man is perish'd, a merciful Man is ta­ken away, and we ought to lay it to heart. But let us not mourn as those that are without hope. It would be a good Improvement of this Providence, if Men of In­terest and Estate would imitate his [Page 47] Example. That covetous nar­row Spirit which prevails among the Professors of this day, is a great Reproach to our holy Religion.

I close with a short Address to the mournful Relations of this worthy Person: Have a care of repining at the Hand of God, tho you have receiv'd a severe stroke. He that has taken him from you, first gave him to you, and had a soveraign Right to dispose of him. It highly becomes Creatures and Subjects to acquiesce in the Will of the supreme Lord. God is righte­ous in all his Ways, and holy in all his Works, and his Will is always agreeable to infinite Wisdom. The ways of his Providence are all Mercy and Truth, even when he seems to walk contrary to them. For your Comfort, think of that happy State into which your dearest Friend is enter'd; [Page 48] Death was a blessed Gain to him; he has thereby obtain'd a Post not to be exchanged for the highest Preferment in the Court of an Earthly Prince. Be followers of him as he was of Christ. Study to serve your Lord in your Day and Generation with uncorrupted Fidelity; so shall you also be own'd by him in the day of Ac­count: he will then say to you, Well done good and faithful Servants; You have been faithful over a few things, I will make you Ruler over many things: enter ye into the Joy of your Lord.


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