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they are has set off for it: so we may say the believer is gone to heaven, for the chariot of the covenant will not stop by the way, so that they who are in it shall arrive there as surely as if they were there already. Then if you would have the house, come into the covenant.—Close with Christ. Deliberately make up the match between him and your souls, in the way of the marriage covenant. “Let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me."

You must also break your covenant with your lust.- Many pretend to covenant with Christ, but it plainly appears that they are in a chariot which the devil drives. “That they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive at his will.” No wonder then such persons make haste after another God. We must then part with our lusts, or give up pretences to the covenant, and as to heaven.

2. They have it in faith. They have the hold of it by believing. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. The possession by faith is a sure possession. When faith lays hold upon and embraces Christ, it enfolds heaven also in its arms, for he is eternal life. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life. The whole of heaven and glory is in Christ, virtually, they who have him cannot fail of all that is in heaven. The best part of heaven is in Christ formally, for the fulness of the Godhead dwells in him. Christ is the fairest flower in the heavenly country, the most precious jewel of all the treasures of the upper house. If one had the sun to be ever with them, they would have a lasting day, and wonld need neither moon nor star light. So the saints having Christ, have everlasting light. Their heaven is begun, and if once there were no more clouds to intercept the light of that sun, which now ever shines above their horizon, then they will have heaven in its largest extent.

Faith also embraceth the promise, in which heaven is wrapt up. It is said of the Patriarchs, " These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them.” Embraced them, that is, the things promised. An allusion to mariners who having been long at sea, joyfully salute the land, and as it were embrace it when they first see it. God's word is as good security as possession. And as men may be possessed of land, which they never saw, by infeftment and seisin, so may the believer be of the land that is afar off by embracing the promise of it.

3. They have it in hope well grounded, even hope on the word. “ Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul; both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the vail.” Therefore salvation is attributed to hope. “For we are saved by hope.” By faith the Christian fights and overcomes, and by hope he gathers the spoil. Ask those who have been plunged into despair, and they will tell you, that they have been in hell while on earth. Despair brings up hell into the soul, and true hope brings down heaven into it. Hope is enjoyment antedated, and excites the same joy, delight, and complacency, that enjoyment doth; as you may see in the hope of worldly things. But with this difference, that earthly things are commonly sweeter in expectation than enjoyment, but spiritual things quite otherwise.

Lastly, They have it in the first fruits of it. “We have the first fruits of the Spirit.” And these are the earnest of our inheritance." Thus they are entered on possession already. They have got a cluster of the first ripe grapes of the heavenly Canaan. They have “the earnest of the Spirit.” Now the earnest is both a part of the price, and a pledge of the whole. What is grace but glory in the bud; or glory but grace come to perfection.

“ We all with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” We now proceed,

II. To shew what it is to have rational evidence of heaven. If a man pretend a right to houses or lands, and there be any to question his right, he looks out his evidences, brings forth his papers, and witnesses, to evince that that house or land is his, which will be sustained, so far as they are agreeable to the laws of the land, where the house or land is situated. Now, brethren, we all pretend to the house of heaven, to Canaan's land. It is unreasonable and absurd to pretend to possession, if we do not pretend to a right of possession, for there can be no violent possessors of heaven. Now if you pretend a right to heaven, it is highly reasonable you have something to evidence that right. Now your right is or will be questioned.

1. Ministers in the name of the Lord question your right. They have reason to do it, because there are so many who deceive themselves in this matter, and because deception in it is an eternal loss. You are told that there is a generation pure in their own eyes, yet not cleansed from their iniquities--we read of foolish virgins who perished by trusting to an empty profession of religion, and therefore we call you to compear in the court of your own conscience to clear up this matter. “Examine yourselves whether you be in the faith; prove your own selves; know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates.” “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give all diligence to make your calling and election sure.” And upon that occasion, you ought to produce some rational evidence ; “and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.”

2. Does not your own conscience sometimes question your right? Do not doubts and fears sometimes at least arise in your minds, like a pain in the side ? If they do not now it is very strange, you must be very fast asleep. But conscience will do it afterwards, when it comes to be enlightened, and it may be when there is no remedy. You should have something provided for such a time.

3. Satan will question your right when he sees his opportunity. If thou be a child of God, Satan, when he has thee at an advantage, will assuredly question your right. He questioned Christ's sonship. “If thou be the Son of God.” And he will do his utmost to raise his black band of doubts and fears to attack thee; and how wilt thou fight against them but by the sword of the Spirit, rational scriptural evidences.

If thou be a deceiver of thyself, it is like Satan will not much trouble thee that way, till the time come that thou canst hardly expect to get a right, and then thou mayest come to know to the torment of thy soul, that thou hast none and never had.

Lastly, Our right to heaven will be sifted before the tribunal of God, and no pretences will do there that cannot be made good by the word which contains the laws of the kingdom. Fraudulent pretenders to heaven there may be now, but no fraudulent possessors will be there. And if thy right then be judged null, there is no mending the matter through eternity. Who then would venture such a business on such a final decision, without first canvassing their right in their own minds.

Now, a right to heaven is made out to a man that has it by evidences. And evidence for heaven is the gracious work of the Spirit of God upon a person felt or discerned by him that has it, to be a gracious work. “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? For clearing of this,

1. As the right to heaven is given to every soul upon the account of Christ's purchase, so soon as they are in Christ by faith ; so the word of God, the laws of the kingdom of heaven, secure it to such by promise.—“ There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus."

2. Every soul in Christ has a gracious work wrought on it by the Spirit of Christ. Heaven is begun in them by the gracious change by which they are fitted for it. Their faith is not idle, but purifieth the heart, and establisheth the law. The Spirit dwelling in them, works in them gracious qualifications peculiar to the heirs of glory.

Giving thanks unto the Father which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritence of the saints in light.”

3. Though these qualifications be wrought in a man, yet if he do not discern them, they are not evidences, and he has not the comfort of them. He is in the dark, he knows not whither he is going ; "he walketh in darkness, and hath no light.” And because so many deceive themselves in this weighty matter it is a frightful case.

Lastly, Evidence for heaven, then, is the gracious work of the Spirit, to which the promise of heaven is annexed, and discovered to be in the soul particularly that has it. So that here two things concur to make it up.

1. Light into the Lord's promise and word in the Bible, so that the soul believeth and is persuaded, that such and such have a right to heaven and shall have it. For example, those that are truly poor in spirit, Matt. v. 3.“ Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Those that have a supreme transcendant love to the Lord above all. Proverbs viii. 17. “I love them that love me." Those that have an universal love to the law. “ Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments." These are some of the laws of the kingdom, by which men's right to it is determined. Now if the word be not believed, there can be no evidence, for in that case there is no foundation for evidence.

2. Light into the Lord's work on the heart and life, by which a man sees in himself those things to which the promise of heaven is annexed. For example, that he is poor in spirit, loves the Lord supremely and loves his law universally; and therefore concludes according to the word, that his is the kingdom of heaven. The Lord loves him and he shall not be ashamed. The man that hath this, hath evidence; and so can give a rational account of the hope that is in him.

This evidence is more or less clear according to the light that shines upon the Spirit's work in the heart. Grace has a light with itself, and he that believes, loves the Lord and loves his law, may be conscious of his own actions in these things, as well as in other

Thus the saints have the testimony of their own spirits. The Spirit of the Lord also shines upon his own work, and discovers it, sometimes with such a degree of light that the man's spirit is helped to perceive it clearly, yet all doubt is not removed. Sometimes he irradiates the soul with a light so clear, that they can no more doubt of it than of the sun's shining, when it is glaring in III. Endeavour to shew that the saints may have such evidence.

“ Thus the Spirit beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God." Let us now,

cases.

their eyes.

1. A believer may know that he has relative grace, that he is justified, adopted, &c. Though he cannot go up to heaven, and at first hand read his name in the book of God's decrees; yet by opening the Book of the word, and the Book of his own soul, and comparing the two together, he may know that he is called and eleoted. We are “ to give all diligence to make our calling and election sure.” And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence, to the full assurance of hope to the end." In this way a believer may know that he is a child of God, and that Christ loved him and died for him.

2. A believer may know that he hath inherent grace. He may know that he believes, as sure as that he breathes. “I know,” says Paul, “ whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed to him against that day." He may know that he hath love to Christ, and can appeal to God's omniscience upon the matter. “Lord,” said Peter to his Master, “thon knowest all things, thou knowest that I love thee.” And thus believing that such persons have a right to heaven, he may know he is the man. And being persuaded of the certainty of the perseverance of the saints, knowing that he has grace, and that so he shall never lose it, he may be persuaded, he shall go to that house, whenever his earthly tabernacle is dissolved.

3. Consider the office and work of the Spirit given to all the saints. He is given them for a teacher to lead them into all the truth, and particularly to discover the grace of God in them, by a heavenly light on his own work. · Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” He is given for a witness, to be a "joint witness with our own spirits that we are the sons of God,” Rom. viii. 16. To be a seal, which properly is to ensure an evidence. “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” And as an earnest, which is both a part of the price and a pledge of the whole, “God hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.”

4. The operations and effects of faith in the soul clear this point. Such as boldness and confidence with God, which cannot be without some evidence of a relation to him as our Father. “In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.” Rejoicing in hope of the glory of God which necessarily requires rational evidence of that hope, Rom. v. 2. This is the more to be regarded, as it is sometimes joy unspeakable, 1 Peter i. 8. To such joy, plain, yea speaking evidences are absolutely necessary. It is a joy which none

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