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O how little is this consider'd by us, whilft we live careleily, and take our Pleasure, making it the end of all we do to please our selves, and behaving our selves fo loolly, as if · Christ's only Business into the World had been to deliver us from the Damnation which we deserved for our Sins, but not to give us any Laws to live by. I fay, this is not considered as it ought to be, for if it were, we could not live at the Rate we now do, that is, as most of us live, quite contrary to the Laws Christ has given us, and which are the Laws of his Kingdom, and yet hope to be saved by him.' If we will not go blindly or madly on to our own destruction, we must remember thac we still live as much as ever in the Kingdom of God, and are the Subjects of Christ who is now our King, and cannot be saved by him without a constant Obedience to him.
3, Seeing that the state of Christians under the Gospel is not only a Kingdom, but the King, dom of Heaven, and of God: We learn hence, that our Conversation here on Earth ought to be an Heavenly Conversation, and a Godly Life. It is not an Earthly Kingdom, such as the Jews look'd for in the Messiah, wherein they hoped to enjoy great Plenty of all Earthly Things, to Lord it over their Enemies, and to live free from all Worldly troubles and vexations; and because they found not the Holy Jesus when he game, a likely Person to put them into such a prosperous Condition, were therefore offended at him, and rejected him; and for the same reason he hath fa few Followers now. No, as he told the Jews very plainly, his Kingdom is not of this World. Fob. 18, 36. neither cometh it with Observation. Luk. 19, 20, that is, it is not visible and oba
servable, as Secular Kingdoms are for outward Pomp and Splendor, but it is commendable for its Purity, and is altogether Spiritual and Heavenly. The King of ic is now gloriously reigning in Heaven, sitting at his Father's Right Hand in Celestial Power and Majesty; The Laws of it are Spiritual, reaching the Heart and Spirit in Man, which no Human Laws can touch; the Power wheręby he reigns and governs the Hearts of Men, is the secret and invisible power of the Holy Ghost, by whom we are made Partakers of the Divine Nature, and the end of it is to make us Spiritually minded. Rom. 8.6. which is Life and Peace; to purge our Hearts and Affections from every thing that is Earthly and Fleshly, Crucitying the Flesh with the Affections and Lusts, cru. cifying the World to us, and us unto the World. Gal. 6. 14. So that henceforward we no more know Christ after the Flesh. 2 Cor.5. 16. for any outward Worldly advantages that we hope to have by him, but as glorified in Heaven, and thence by the power of his Holy Spirit, transforming us into his own Image daily more and more, and by all Heavenly Vertues implanted in us, daily cleansing and renewing our Natures to render us meet for the Inheritance of the Saints in light: purifying us, as himself is pure, that we may be able to see him as he is, in the perfection of Holiness. Hence it is, that the Apostle faith of himself, and all sincere Christians, Phil. 3. 10: Our Conversation is in Heaven, whence also we look for the Saviour our Lord Jesus Christ. We live as Citizens of Heaven, for there we hope to live wich Christ our King, and therefore all our Buqness is to learn to live so as we must do there, if we shall live there at all. Not as some do, mind
ing Earthly Things, whose End, he tells us, U. 19. is destruction. In Thort, Heaven is the Christians Country, he is but a Stranger and Pilgrim upon Earth, and counts himself not at Home till he come to Heaven. Whilft we are conversant in the Body we are absent from the Lord. 2 Cor. 5. 6o Therefore faith St. Paul v. 8. we are willing rather to be abrent from the Body, and to be present, or ac Home with the Lord. Having therefore these Prom mises, let us cleanse our selves from all Filthiness of Flesh and Spirit, perfe&ting Holiness in the Fear of God. c. 7. I.
O how little is this considered by us, that as many as are Christians live already in the Kingdom of Heaven. For no other is the Kingdom of Christ, but the Kingdom of Heaven which is begun on Earth, but perfected in Heaven. The Marriage betwixt Christ and his Church, the Bridegroom and the Bride is made here, the Marriage Feast is held in Heaven. Tho' therefore the Lives of Christians cannot be by reason of our imperfect stare so perfectly holy as in Heaven; yet must they be Heavenly, that is, holy, in as great a degree as Earth will admit of, even boly in all manner of Conversation, tho' not in the highest degree of perfection. i Pet. 1: 15. in Thought, in Word, in Deed, as it is written, be ye Holy, for God is Holy. And we were redeema ed from our vain Conversation received by Tradition from our Fathers, with the precious Blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without blemish, and without Spot. V. 18, 19.
How can we think of all this (who profess our selves Christians, or the Subjects of the Holy and Heavenly Jesus) without Blushing and Tremand
H otels with no cony bling, when we reflect upon the ordinary course
of our Lives ? Alas, what is there that favours of Heaven about us? Are we not rather alham'd, that any thing should appear in our Conversation that looks Heavenly ? Do not we strive quite contrary to the Apostles rule, Rom. 12. 2. to conform ourselves, even as much as we can or dare to this World, instead of being transformed by the renewing of the Spirit of our Mind, that we may prove what is that good and perfect, and acceptable will of God: For,
1. What is the Law we govern ourselves by? Is it the will of Christ, or is it not rather every one's own Will and Pleasure? Is it not every one's Humour and Luft ? Now none of these are of the Father but of the World, 1 John 2,
2. What are the Patterns of Imitation, that we propound to our felves to live by? Are they Heavenly or Earthly : Are we followers of God as dear Children, walking in love, Eph. 5, 1. Take we care that the same mind be in us, that was in Christ Jesus, Phil. 2, 5. who made himself of no reputation. We pray that God's will may be done on Earth, as it is in Heaven ; but are we not a great deal more follicitous to follow the Customs of Men in the World, than the example of the Holy Angels in Heaven?
3. What's our great delight? Is it in Holiness and Heavenly purity; and fuch Spiritual Exercises as tend towards Heaven? Or is it not rather in fulfilling the Lusts of the Flesh, and in those vain Pomps and Vanities of the World, which in our Baptism we renounce ? :
4. What is our chief desire and hope, and end which we principally aim at in all we do? Do we seek those things which are above, where Cbrift
fittesh on the right hand of God? and set we our Affections on things above, and not on things on the Earth? Col. 3. 1, 2. Alas, who aims at any thing almost, but the things on Earth? What a bulle is about the Kingdoms of this World ? And what Contrivances have we to come to a full share of the Wealth, and Honours, and Pleasures of this World? What doth the Rich and Great Man strive for, but to have more of this World than others? And what doth the Poor and Meaner Man labour for, but to get as much of this World as he can? O, how few are they, who are all their Life time striving to enter in at the strait Gare? Who are labouring night and day for the Meat that perisheth not, but endureth unto everlasting Life ? And where then are Christians, the Subjects of Christ in the Kingdom of Heaven?
Matt. XXV. 1.
Virgins. He number of these Persons with whom the 1 Church, or Members of it is here compared, is not, I think, at all considerable in this place; it is not used to signifie any Mystery in Religion, or to instruct us in any point of Faith or Duty. But because the number of Virgins to wait on the Bride ar such Marriages was usually ten ; therefore our Saviour mentions this number and if they had ordinarily been of any other number greater or less, he would have so expressed himself. That which is here considerable, is the quality of the Persons, they are Virgins Chast, undefiled Maidens; that is, at the Bride