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"And what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints." Ver.18.

As I told you, this is one of the Apostle's prayers, as he hath many other scattered up and down in his Epistles. In this prayer of his you have these two parts: First, the person that he prayeth to; the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory. He doth set him forth under such considerations as were suitable unto the matter of his prayer, as I shall shew you in the closure of this sermon. Then, secondly, you have the matter of his prayer, which is for knowledge.
1. Intimate knowledge of God, intimate communion with him, as I have opened to you; 'that he may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, in the knowledge' (or acknowledgment) 'of him.'
2. He prayeth God to give them eyes enlightened, eyes of their understanding. That which is translated the 'eyes of your understanding being enlightened,' if you will read it according to the original, as many interpreters go, it referreth to the word give; 'that he would give you eyes of your understanding enlightened,' enlightened to know what is the hope of his calling; that is the second part of his prayer. And then, thirdly, what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints are. And, fourthly, what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe.
I am yet in the 18th verse. It hath two parts. It hath first a description of spiritual knowledge. It is a 'giving of enlightened eyes of the understanding, that you may know;' which I handled the last time. There are, secondly, two several objects which these eyes of the understanding being enlightened do serve to know. The first is, What is the hope of his calling. The second is, What are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.
I opened to you the last time what was meant by the knowing of the hope of his calling. I told you, that by hope, as I understood it, was meant, not the thing hoped for, for that is expressed afterward, but the grace of hope, the grace of assurance, and the grounds of that assurance, the grounds of hope. Hope is taken for the grace of hope, and it is taken likewise for the grounds of hope, as well as for the thing hoped for. It is taken for the grounds of hope; I gave you one scripture for it. I will add but this: in your ordinary expression in our English dialect, when you come and ask a physician concerning a dying friend, or one that is sick, you will say, What hope is there ? that is, what grounds of hope? 'There is hope in Israel concerning this thing;' that is, there are grounds of hope. Now then, the Apostle's meaning is plainly this: he prayeth they may know both what assurance and hope God calleth them to have; what is the hope of his calling, what his will, and mind, and command is, you should have; he commandeth that you should be assured, be men full of hope, and of great hope; for by 'calling' is sometimes in Scripture meant his command, as I have shewed you. Or else, in the second place, and together with it, for it is both meant, he prayeth that they may know all the grounds that may give them hope by virtue of God's calling, for to God's calling there are a world of grounds of hope annexed. There is no man that is called of God but hath all sorts of grounds to be assured of his salvation, and that by virtue of his calling. Now, then, this is the first thing the Apostle prayeth for, that they may make their calling sure; that is the meaning, to know what is the hope of their calling, - what grounds their calling affordeth them, that are annexed to their calling, to being in the state of grace, - what hope is annexed to their calling, of their interest in salvation. So that this is the first petition, that they may know their own interest for themselves, a peculiar one, a particular interest in those great things to come.
Having prayed for this, he doth in the second place pray, that they may know what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints are; that they may know what the greatness of that glory in heaven is, of which they have an interest, and for which they have grounds to hope.
Now, then, put hut these two things together, I appeal: let a man's eyes be but enlightened to see all those grounds that God, by virtue of his calling, hath given him to hope for salvation by; to see his own interest clear, to have those grounds fresh in his eye. And then, let him have a light to see, a glorious light to see what the riches of that glory are; what mighty, strong, and glorious Christians would this make men! Now for both these doth the Apostle here pray.
Having then handled this first part, 'what is the hope of his calling; I now come to the
second, 'and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints' are. I come to these words, and so on. As the Apostle would have them know their own interest, and all the grounds of it, that they might be comforted, so he would have them know the thing. How happy would Christians be, if they knew their own happiness; if they knew both their own interest, and likewise if they knew what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints are
There are two things that are to be opened in the handling of these words. The FIRST is, to lay open to you, so far as the word openeth it, and doth give you a sight of it, What the glory of heaven is by the description here that the Apostle makes of it; he calleth it 'the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.'
Tho word here, the article that is put to 'riches,' is not only to know what it is for the substance, but how great it is. 'That you may know,' saith he 'how great the riches are,' that is the Apostle's meaning. I was in heaven, saith the Apostle, - so he might have said to them, - and I saw things, saith he, that I am not able to utter. When he came down again, he could tell no news of it; so you may read 2 Cor. xii. ; they were too big for his mouth to utter. Therefore here the Apostle is as it were in travail, he bringeth forth great words, riches, and glory, and inheritance, and knoweth not how to express it, beapeth up one word upon another.
And then the SECOND thing that is to be considered in the text is, Of what use the knowledge of the glory of his inheritance is to saints; for he would not pray for it unless it were of mighty use. There are these two things to be handled in the words. And - FIRST, For the description, for that the Apostle doth; as he doth pray that they may know it, so he doth interlace in his prayer such descriptions of it whereby they may know it. Now, concerning the description he giveth of it, I divide that into two parts
Here is, first, The state itself that the saints shall be in. Here are, secondly, The persons to whome it belongeth. first, the state itself, set forth to us by these three things
1. An inheritance.
2. A rich inheritance.
3. A glorious inheritance 'the riches of the glory of his inheritance.'
Secondly, here are the persons whom it belongeth unto. Here is, first, the Person whose it is more properly and most eminently, it is his inheritance. Secondly, here is the subject in whom this inheritance is. He is the great inheritor; but who come in as heirs too under him? It is 'his inheritance in the saints.' And so now you have the division of the words.
First, To begin with the first, an inheritance. 'Inheritance' doth note out the substance of this glory, which is the subject of which the other two are predicated or attributed to. There are two attributes of this inheritance, rich and glorious; but an inheritance is the substance of it; therefore he saith, 'the riches of the glory of his inheritance.' Riches is attributed to glory; but both are attributed to inheritence. In the first place, because we have a title to it, being saints, as sons have to their natural inheritance; in respect of our title to it therefore, it is called an inheritance. My brethren, God, to make heaven sure, and that his children might have mighty hope of their calling, hath made heaven sure by all sorts of ways that are found amongst men to make a thing sure. He hath made it sure by a purchase of the blood of Christ; so saith ver. 14, he calleth it 'the purchased possession.' He hath made it sure by an inheritance too; not only by a way of sale, it was sold to Christ, and it is his inheritance too, but it is an inheritance to us though he purchased it ; so saith the text too. It is likewise by way of gift, that is the third way of conveying of it; for 'the gift of God is eternal life,' Rom. vi. 23. Lastly, it is given by will of a man that dieth, Heb. ix. 15. You read there that Jesus Christ died, and made his will, that all those that believe in him should have eternal life. ' For this cause,' saith he, 'he is the Mediator of the new covenant,' or testament, 'that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.' As it is an inheritance, and purchased by Christ, and given by God, so bequeathed by Christ at his death. Read the next verses : 'For where a testament is, of necessity there must be the death of the testator; for a testament is of force after men are dead; otherwise it is of no strength at all whilst the testator liveth.' So that Jesus Christ died, and left it to us by will. We have it by all ways; you cannot have God made over to you more surely than by way of gift, than by way of inheritance, (if a man make no will, yet the heir suceeedeth him,) than by way of purchase, than by way of will. All these ways is heaven conveyed to us.
In the second place, an inheritance noteth out a perpetuity. You know your style of inheritance runs thus, 'to a man and his heirs for ever.' So doth heaven; and therefore in the same place I even now quoted, Heb. ix. 15, it is called an 'eternal inheritance.'
In the third place, an inheritance noteth out a whole possession; it doth not note out a part, it doth not note out a portion. Abraham, you know, gave portions to his youngest children; but an inheritance he gave to his eldest son Isaac, to his first-born. Now read Heb. xii. 23; he calleth the saints there the first-born of them whose names are written in heaven. They have all inheritances as first-born. You will say, how is that possible? For if one saint inherit all, how do the rest do so too?
Yes, my brethren. Look Col i. 12, it is called an 'inheritance in light.' Now those that are sons of Adam born into this world, one man doth not inherit part of the light of the sun and another man another; but all men are heirs alike of the light of the sun. If God be the inheritance, if he be the highst of it, as you shall hear anon in Rev. xxi. 23, then all may be heirs; for ' God,' saith he, 'is all in all.' He can be whole happiness to one man and whole happiness to another, and no man shall complain; every man possesseth whole God to himself. An inheritance is of the whole, it is not a Portion.
So much now for the word inheritance. I have touched upon such things as are most material for the opening of it.
I come now to thse attributes of it. First, it is a rich inheritance. Secondly, it is a glorious inheritance. Thirdly there are riches of glory in it for the word 'riches' may either be attributed to 'inheritance' (and so 'glory') apart; or you may joins both together, 'riches of glory of our inheritance.' In the general, my brethren, the Apostle speaks here pertinently, after the manner of men; for all inheritances here below consist either of riches or glory. We see that men inherit both; the children of rich men inherit their riches, if they be noble men they inherit their honour; both honour and riches go by descent, he joineth them both here, you see; and where both these meet there is fulness. When the glory of the greatest monarch upon earth is described, Esth. i. 4, it is done both by riches and by glory; he saith, 'Ahasuerus made a feast, when he shewed the riches of his glorious kingdom, and the honour of his excellent majesty.' There are but these two things which the world pursueth, riches and glory; riches will compass all sorts of pleasures; and if you have these two you want nothing. Read but Eccles. vi. 2; he makes a supposition of a man to whom God hath given riches, wealth, and honour, so that, saith he, he wanteth nothing - if he have tisese he wanteth nothing - that his soul can desire in this life. Hence, therefore, because tbese two are things inherited, and because these two put together do fully make up a satisfaction to a man's desires, he describeth heaven to us both by riches and by glory; 'what are the riches of the glory,' saith he, 'of his inheritance.' And therefore you shall find that the reward of heaven is set forth to us by these two, by our Saviour Christ, and these two alone, Matt. xin. 43, 44. At ver. 43, he layeth forth there the glory of that kingdom, 'Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father;' there he mentioneth their glory. 'Again,' saith he, 'the kingdom of heaven is like to a treasure hid in a field;' there are riches. Therefore, Prov. vin. 18, Wisdom is said to have in her left hand riches and honour; for these are the great things the world desireth. You have both here.
First, to begin with riches, and secondly with glory, apart; and then, why 'riches of glory.'
It is, first, a rich inheritance. The Holy Ghost in this doth descend; he speaks as to children, he expresseth heaven by riches and by glory, because they are the great things, the only things we are capable of to understand heaven's glory by, and the abundance of good things there.
First, for riches. You shall read in Rev. xxi. a description of the new Jerusalem. Whether it be an estate of glory of the Church here on earth yet to come, which is but the forerunner, or but the harbinger to that great glory after the day of judgment, - which I rather incline to, - or whether it be the glory of the saints in happiness hereafter, I will not dispute that now, however it will serve my purpose. For if it be meant of the estate of the Church on earth in her perfect glory and beauty yet to come, it will argue much more what is in heaven; therefore it is all one for my purpose whether you understand it of the one or the other. Do but read out that chapter, and you shall find there that he rakes all the bowels of the earth, he fetcheth up all the precious stones out of it, and gold and crystal, all those things that the world hath turned up trump, as I may so express it, to commend all things else, wherein riches lie, he hath reckoned them up all as you shall find there; to what end? He mentioneth gold to pave the streets of that city, for men to tread upon, so you have it ver. 21. Nay, he is not only profuse in his expressions, - lavish, as I may so express it, to have a street paved with gold, - but he doth feign as if he were a poet, he saith it was such gold as did shine as crystal, such gold as the chymics say they can make; they can make gold, they say, to have the very transparency of crystal. But the Holy Ghost aimeth not at this art, for it was not in the world; but if gold had a resplendency in it, if it were as transparent as crystal, - for to that he compareth it, - it had a perfection in it. What a glorious creature gold were, if together with the weight it had a transparency as crystal, whereas gold hath a darkness in it. In Solomon's time, which was a time of riches, 1 Kings x. 27, he saith silver was in Jerusalem as stones in the street ; here is the type now, but it is but of silver, it is not of gold; but here the streets of the new Jerusalem are paved with gold.
Well, the wall of that city, if you read ver. 18, he saith it was all of jasper-stone; there was never such jasper in the world to make one wall still he feigneth; he is fain, as we say, to compound, to make golden mountains to express the riches of the new Jerusalem. And you shall find, ver. 21, 'that every gate of the city was a pearl' A pearl as big as a man's thumb, what a mighty value is it of! Here are city gates, broad gates, open gates, for he saith they were never shut at all by day, for there was no night there. They are every one of one pearl, each gate is but one pearl. Here are the strangest fictions that ever were; you see what visions the Holy Ghost makes to set out the riches of the new Jerusalem. And he saith that all the nations shall bring their glory and honour into it, so at ver. 26, - that is, they shall bring their riches into it, that is the meaning of glory there; for in Scripture we find often that glory is put for riches: Gcn. xxxi. 1, we read there that Jacob 'heard the words of Laban's sons, saying, Jacob hath taken away all that was our father's; and of that which was our father's hath he gotten all this glory;' that is, all this riches. The allusion here is to Isa. iixl 6; there you shall find it is called the glory of riches which the nations shall bring in; and so the Septuagint translateth it. The like you have in Isa. lx. 9. It is a manifest allusion, this in the Revelation, to those places. Now, my brethren, that which is the head city of a kingdom, as London; that which is the head city of the world, as Rome once was, all the nations of the world bring their riches thither. Heaven is the head city, it is the city of the living God, all riches are come thither; it is therefore a rich inheritance.
And let me but add one thing to you: all these same riches of which the Holy Ghost, condescending to our capacities, if we may speak so with reverence, is fain to make fictions, - for mountains of gold, and gates of one pearl, is a thing that never was, nor ever will be in this world, but he doth it to set things forth to us ; - all these descriptions, what are they but false riches? Luke xvi. 11, he calleth only the riches of grace and glory the true riches, and he calleth the other the mammon 'of unrighteousness,' but the Hebrew word the Septuagint oftentimes translates it for 'falsehood;' as now in English we say a thing is right when it is true, and it is wrong when it is false, so the riches of unrighteousness or of wrong, in the Hebrew dialect, oftentimes is put for falsehood. All the riches here are but false riches, these only are the true riches, the other are but shadows of it.
To speak a little more home to it. It is a rich inheritance; rich, why? Because that God layeth forth all his riches in making the saints happy. In Phil. iv. 19, - it is a place I shall afterwards quote to a further purpose, - saith he, 'My God shall supply all your need according to his noises in glory by Jesus Christ.' You know God is said to be rich in mercy, and rich in grace, and rich in love, and rich in power; all his attributes are called riches in Scripture. Now mark, woudst thou know what heaven is? Thou shalt have all God's riches; not in bullion, for that cannot be, they are incommunicable, thou canst not have them in species; but thou shalt have them in use, in comfort; thou shalt have all God's riches turned into comfort. The attributes themselves are incommunicable, thou canst not have it in money paid thee down, it is proper to God; but all the riches in God shall be to make thee happy. 'God shall supply all your need according to his riches,' saith the text; and if God's riches undertake to supply you, certainly you will be full.
In the second place, to describe these riches more full unto you, I will give you one place of Scripture; the other place that I mentioned is applied to God, that all his riches shall be turned into comforts; this place I now give is of Christ's riches, it is 2 Cor. viii. 9, 'Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.' He doth not mean riches of this world, for the saints are the poorest in this world; 'you see your calling,' saith the Apostle, 'how that not many rich, not many noble, are called;' therefore the riches he meaneth are the riches of glory hereafter. Now see, for I argue, as from God before, so now from this that Christ did, an infinite mass of riches are laid up for us in the world to come. To raise up your considerations, consider this, saith he ; Jesus Christ that was rich became poor, to that end that you might be rich. Jesus Christ was rich, he was the heir of all things, he had all glory; he left himself not worth one groat, my brethren. 'The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man has not where to hide his head.' He became poor, the word is a beggar; not that Christ was a beggar, or lived by begging, for those was to be no beggar in Israel, he had not fulfilled the law if he had therefore the Papists has but an ill ground from this place to justify the calling of their mendicant friars ; but he was in the estate of a beggar, he was ministered unto, he left himself worth nothing. If that this Christ who, saith he, was rich - it is that he did exist rich before he was poor - laid all aside, emptied himself to nothing; if he will place all the riches he was worth to use, that you might he rich, saith he, and you shall have all the use of it; what will this come to? My brethren, the Apostle, in Ephn. iii. 8, calls them 'the unsearchable riches of Christ;' you cannot take them over to all eternity, for if Christ will put forth all his riches, and become poor on purpose to make men rich, what riches will that be? So that you see it is a rich inheritance.
And let me add this too, this is a good meditation of Austin's upon thus place, saith he, How rich will his riches make us when we shall meet with him in glory, when his poverty makes us thus rich! As the Apostle, I remember, expresseth, Rom. xi. 12, speaking of the Jews, 'If the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles, what will their fulness be? - And so much now for this first attribute, that it is a rich inheritance. We come to glory; 'the riches,' saith he, 'of the glory of his inheritance.'
To open you the word glory. Glory importeth always an excellency of things; and it importeth a super-excellency too. It importeth an excellency, as it is said, Matt. iv. 8, that Satan shewed him the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them, - that is, all the excellency of them. And it importeth a height of excellency, 2 Peter i. 17, 'the excellent glory.' Always glory hath an excellency, yea, and an excelling excellency too, or else it is not glory, saith he, 2 Cor. in. 9, 10: This glory, speaking of the law, is no glory by reason of the glory that excelleth, 'and if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.'
The word that is used for glory signifieth in the Hebrew and the Chaldee both, a weight, and the Apostle hath an allusion to the meaning of the word according to the Hebrew phrase in his expression, 2 Cor. iv. 17, where he calleth it a 'weight of glory.' Very well, now to make use of this to set forth to you the glory of heaven.
First it noteth out all excellency in man. The glory of men, he calleth it, 1 Peter i. 17, 'the flower of the grass,' that is the excellency of men; all sorts of excellencies are meant by glory. And it is an exceeding weight of those excellencies too, or else it is not glory. To instance in some. As - First, for beauty; it is an excellency of man; when his beauty doth arise to a brightness, to a splendour, it is called glory, when it riseth to such a glory as dazzleth the eyes. Therefore, 2 Cor. in. 7, you may read that Moses' face did shine that they could not behold the glory of his countenance. It is not an ordinary beauty that is called glory, but when it ariseth to such a height as it dazzleth the eyes that they cannot behold it, it hath a weight in it; it oppresseth the eyes. So likewise Acts xxii. 11; it is said there that Paul could not see by reason of the glory of the light; it is not an ordinary light, but that light that dazzleth the eyes that a man cannot see it; that is super-excellency of light, that is called glory. So likewise if you come to pomp; if it riseth, if it be such a pomp as is transcendent, which all men fail down before as they do before a king, then it is glory; it is not only pomp, but it is a super-excellency, a transcendency, beyond what is ordinary. You read of the queen of Sheba, 1 Kings x. 5, when she saw all the riches of Solomon, his glory, as it is described there, 'that there was no more spirit in her;' yet she herself was a queen, she came into the city with a great train and with much riches, yet when she saw Solomon exceeded her, he did so exceed her that she had no spirit in her. Now what saith Christ of the state, of the pomp of Solomon, Matt. vi. 29? 'Solomon in all his glory,' - it is in the original 'in all his royalty;' it was a glory such as no king else had, it was not only pomp, but it was a pomp that made her even swoon again, when she saw it she had no spirit in her; this was glory. So if you take it for power and strength; ordinary strength is nothing, but if you come to a super-excelleacy of strength, it is called glory; therefore, in 2 Thess. i. 9, it is called the glory of Christ's power; when he hath such strength as is not in all creatures again, this is not power only, but the glory of power. The word glory noteth out the super-excellency of every good thing. So likewise, take joy and pleasure; if it come to joy which hath a superexcellency in it, which the mind of man cannot imagine how great it is, nor cannot utter, then it is called glorious:
1 Peter i. 8, 'With joy unspeakable and glorious,' or 'full of glory.' So now, whatsoever doth exceed the expectation of the creature, that is admired, that is called glory. In 2 Thess. i. 10, speaking of Christ, saith he, 'When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be made wonderful,' or admired, 'in all them that believe;' when it cometh to wonderment, then it is glory.
So that now you have a complete definition of glory. It signifieth first all excellences whatsoever; and all excellences in the height, and such a weight as they do oppress, that the ordinary understanding of man cannot bear. So strength, in the glory of it, is super-excellency of strength; and joy, when it excelleth, is called 'joy full of glory.' - So much for the opening of the phrase.
Now, if you would know the glory of heaven, you are to do two things. You are first to fancy all sorts of excellences, of beauty, of strength, of joy, of holiness; take what you will, and when you have done, it is a super-excelling excellency; there is that glory in it beyond all what you can imagine in all these.
To exemplify it a little. First, in the body; for indeed the Scripture doth not hold forth the glory of the soul, nor are the words of mine able to express it; but the Scripture sets forth the glory of the body. The world hath but one thing, that is a creature, that truly deserveth the name of being glorious, and that is the sun. Now, saith he, Matt. xin. 43, 'The righteous shall shine as the sun.' And our Saviour Christ giveth them an instance of it, Matt. xvii. 2; there he transfigured himself before them, and it is said, 'His face did shine as the sun, and his garments were as white as the light, so white as no fuller could white them.'
Now, my brethren, to what end doth the Scripture give us one instance of what glory there is in the body, but thereby to raise up our minds to think what the glory of the soul will be in all sorts of perfection? For consider with yourselves; the sun, you do not call it a beautiful creature, as you call a woman; but it is a super-excellency of beauty, it is glorious. Saith he of the Church, Ps. xlv. 13, she is 'all glorious within ;' what is the meaning of that? It is not a painted beauty, it is not extrinsical; it is innate, it is within. I take that to be the meaning. He instanceth only in the glory of the body, because from that you may argue the glory of the soul. The body shall shine as the sun, which is the most glorious thing the world hath; what will the soul be then? The body, that is but the sheath of the soul. Look Dan. vii. 15, 'I was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body,' so it is translated. Look in your margins, and it is 'in the midst of my sheath;' he calleth his body but the sheath of his soul, but the garment. Now in the transfiguration of Christ there is mention made that his garments were white, so white as no fuller could white them; and, Luke ix. 29, it is said they were white and shining. Now, if his body shining as the sun made his garments white; and the body is but as the garment of the soul; and if the body shineth as the sun, how will the soul be then? Here lieth the comparison: his body did shine as the sun, his garments were white, and they were glittering too; the body is but the garment of the soul; if that shine as the sun, what will the soul do? 'Riches of glory,' saith the Apostle here. My brethren, the soul is the glory of man. Gen. xlix. 6, 'My soul,' saith lie, 'come not into their secret, nor my glory into their counsel.' Now, if the soul be the glory of man, and the body, which is but a vile thing, ('our vile bodies,' so he calleth them, Phil. in. 21;) if they shall shine as the sun, how will the soul, that is the glory of man, in all sorts of perfection? Therefore the Apostle here saith 'riches of glory.'
I will name but one place, and so leave it; it is 2 Cor. iv. 17. That word there, which is translated exceeding, is 'one hyperbole upon another;' that is, one hyperbole of speech will not express it; as when you say, a wall up to heaven, or a high wall. Saith the Apostle, express heaven by hyperboles, and when you have done, tumble one hyperbole upon another hyperbole, and it will not express it. This he saith of the glory there; it is exceeding, it is hyperbolical, it is hyperbole upon hyperbole. I remember he speaks of sin, and saith it is 'above measure sinful,' Rom. vii. 13 ; the sinfulness of it hath an hyperbole in it, man's wit cannot reach it. When he causeth to speak of the glory of heaven, it hath one hyperbole upon another; it is an exceeding hyperbolical glory.
So much now for the opening of that.
I told you likewise, that as it is a rich inheritance, and a glorious inheritance, so it is 'riches of glory;' you may join both together if you will. For riches, you know, are external things; but the saints in heaven, their riches are within, inherent riches, therefore glorious riches; the which glory importeth excellency and a super-excellency of all good things. And then to add riches to this glory, which noteth abundance, this overwhelmeth the mind of man; how can he look further? ' What are the riches of the glory of his inheritance l' - So I have done with that.
Secondly, Now I come to the persons whom this belongeth to. Here are two persons mentioned.
First, it is said to be 'his inheritance;' namely, God's, Christ's.
But, secondly, 'in the saints.'
This little pronoun here, is put in, one would think, against the heir; for look elsewhere and he calleth it 'our inheritance;' so ver. 4, 'the earnest of our inheritance;' but when he would set out heaven to the uttermost, it is, 'what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance,' not of the saints' inheritance so much, it is but in them ; but his inheritance in the saints.
I have read over all the comments that I can meet with, - and I think I have ahnost all, -and I do not find them insist at all upon this particle; but I must say truly say of it, that which they refuse is the head of this corner; it argueth the glory of heaven more than all the words besides : that it is his inheritance, take it either of God the Father, - of whom I think it is principally meant here, as I shall shew you by and by, - or take it of Christ.
To shew you in what senses it may be called his inheritance, and that all these senses argue to you what an infinite glory it is - First, It is his inheritance, because he is the Father of it; therefore, if you mark it, he prayeth to God the 'Father of glory' in the words before. He calleth his the Father of glory, because he, as the Father, doth give and bestow this inheritance, and therefore it is called his, his that bestowed it; for it is his originally, you know, rather than the Son's, that inheriteth. And you shall see how that must needs argue an infinite glory that saints must have, because it is his inheritance, his gift, and his as the Father of glory (take that in too.) Men give inheritances according to their estates; you shall know whether a man be rich or no when he dieth, by his inheritance he giveth. He is God, the Father of glory, so saith the verse. He is God, the God of glory, so saith Acts vii. 2. He is Christ, the Lord of glory, so saith 1 Cor. ii. 8. He is King of glory, so saith Ps. xxiv. 7. If he will give an inheritance, he will do it like himself; therefore it must needs be a glorious inheritance and a rich one, that which God meaneth to give as a Father.
I will give you a scripture for it. It is Phil. iv. 19. I quoted it before, but it cometh in now full for our purpose. 'My God,' saith he, 'shall supply all your need,' or, as the word is, all your desires, the word signifieth both, 'according to his riches in glory by Jesus Christ.' What is the meaning of this? God, saith he, is a rich and a glorious God, and he is a Father of glory; so the 17th verse calleth him here. Now, saith he, he will not have these riches of glory lie by him. You know Abraham, when he had no son, saith he, Lord, thou hast given me these riches, but behold to me thou hast given no seed; I have never a child to inherit it; therefore God giveth him Isaac, upon whom he might bestow his riches and inheritance. So God had all these riches of glory lying by, he chooseth him sons to inherit, and when he bestoweth an inheritance upon them, it is according to that glory of his, in proportion to his riches that lie by him. Here is, you see, riches and glory, and accordingly doth he bestow an inheritance rich and glorious. It is tlserefore called his inheritance, and this argueth it to be great. Every man, you know, if he mean to give, will give according to his estate. If the Apostle had said our inheritance, alas! we are poor creatures, what inheritance is ours? But he doth say, 'his inheritance,' he argueth the greatness of it from his gift. I remember, Alexander the Great, when he had given a city to a mean man that asked it of him, said, 'I do not give a city away according to the proportion of the man, but as it is fit for me to give.' If Alexander will give gifts, he giveth cities ; if God will give gifts, it is according to the riches of his glory. It is 'his inheritance.'
Secondly, It is called his inheritance, - which mightily doth argue this to be a glorious inheritance which the saints shall have, for it is 'in the saints,' still take that, it all aggravateth the glory of it, - I say it is called his, because he is in a special manner the possessor of it, and the maker of it.
I will give you Scripture for it: it is Ps. cxv. 15, 16, 'Ye are blessed of the Lord which made heaven and earth' - he made both, you see. 'The heaven, even the heavens,' (or the heaven and the heavens, as most read it,) 'are the Lord's: but the earth hath he given to the children of men.' What do I observe out of this place? This: as for the earth, saith he, and all the good things in it, God doth give that away; let the sons of men take it; I will let out that, saith he; nay, I will give it freely; let them take it and do what they will with it. But, saith he, the heaven and heavens are the Lord's; he reserveth that to himself as his possession, it is his inheritance; the earth he hath given away to men, that is their inheritance, and let them take it, saith he; I made them both. Now, if you observe the coherence of these words, this saying, 'the heaven and heavens are the Lord's,' that is the third heavens, it is brought in to shew how blessed the saints are; he argueth it from this, for, saith he, 'ye are blessed of the Lord which made heaven and earth.' Why? 'The heaven and the heavens are the Lord's, and the earth he giveth to the sons of men.' The meaning is plainly this: how happy must the saints be that must be taken up to heaven, whenas heaven is reserved for God himself; this world be careth not what becomes of it, he giveth that away. He argueth the blessedness of the saints from this, that heaven is the Lord's inheritance: 'The heaven and heavens are the Lord's,' time earth is not good enough for him, but the heavens are his. Now, my brethren, what a mighty glory then must that be which the Lord who made And let me yet further express this out of the place last mentioned. The both heaven and earth reserveth to himself! and this glory he takes the saints up to. Therefore now it is that it is his inheritance, he is the possessor of it, he hath reserved that to himself, blessed must they needs be that do fear the Lord.
I could enlarge this, that God is the maker of it too, out of Heb. xi. 10, where it is said that God is the maker and builder of this city; it is his in that respect too, he hath shewed all his art upon that; so the word signifieth. Heaven was the first thing made. 'In the beginning he created the heaven and the earth,' heaven first. It was that he had in his eye from all eternity, as the perfection of all, as it is called, Rom vi. 22, and therefore, Matt. xxv., it is said to be prepared from the beginning of the world, from the foundation of the world. The first thing that God ever made was that glorious state that be reserveth for himself, which is called his dwelling-place, 1 Kings vin. 39, and his throne, Ps. xi. 4, (I will not stand upon that;) it is called likewise his inheritance in that sense too.
Thsat which setteth forth the glory of heaven here is, that it is the inheritance, of him in the saints; and so the meaning is this, that God himself is the inheritance of the saints : 'what is the riches of the glory of the inheritance of him by the saints,' that is, which the saints have by inheriting him. My brethren, will you know what heaven is? It is the inheritance of him, it is the inheriting of God. 'He that overcometh shall inherit all things; I will be his God,' Rev. xxi And therefore, in scripture phrase God is called heaven; saith the prodigal, 'I have sinned against heaven and before thee.' And Dan. iv. 26, 'till thou knowest the heavens rule,' that is, that God ruleth. The saints shall inherit God, they have the possession of him.
Now, my brethren, what an infinite argument doth this afford of the glory of heaven, that it is the possession of God! Saith he, Matt. xxv. 23, 'enter into thy Master's joy;' that is, into that joy God hath materially; it is the inheriting of him, the inheritance of him. And the word 'entering' is a phrase that alludeth to an inheritance; for then we enter into an inheritance when we take possession of it; it implieth the full possession of it; and it is not to partake of it, but to enter into it, and to take possession of it, it implieth a fulness, it is not a participation so much.
My brethren, do but think with yourselves now, what heaven must needs be when a man's soul shall possess God as his inheritance. An inheritance, you know, is a thing for a man to use freely, and to be one's to the uttermost for his comfort; you shall have God, and all his attributes, set before you. Lo, there is your inheritance. Ps. xvi. 5, 'Thou art the lot of mine inheritance; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.' A man hath God set before him; improve him, be as happy as he can make you.
I have wondered at those expressions in the Scripture: Rom xv. 7, we are said to be received to the glory of God; 1 Thess. ii. 12, we are said to be called to his kingdom, and to his glory; Rev. xxi 11, the city is said to have the glory of God. Materially, God's glory is the glory of the saints, it is not the glory of creatures, or created glory, it is the glory of God that makes them happy. And ver. 22, 23, it is said there that the city hath no need of the sun, neither of the moon to shine in it, for it is enlightened by God. 'The glory of God doth enlighten it, and the Lamb,' saith he, 'is the lamp thereof;' so the word signifieth. They shall need no other happiness but they have God to be all in all, he is their happiness, it is the inheritance of him. When the Apostle saith it is the riches of the glory of his inheritance, he meaneth God the Father, or God the Son; I think God the Father. I will give you my reason why: because he prayeth to God as the Father of glory, that he would open their eyes to see what are the riches of his inheritance. Now mark the expression there in that Rev. xxi. 23 ; he saith, God is the light of it, but the Lamb, he saith, is the lamp of it, and in Rev. ii. 28, you shall find him called the morning star; Christ is but the lamp, be is but the morning star. Who is the chiefest happiness in heaven now? God; a happiness beyond what Jesus Christ as God-man affordeth; he is but the lamp, but the morning star; God is all in all, when he hath given up the kingdom to his Father. It is his inheritance, it is not the inheriting of Christ only, as possessing him.
I will convince you by this. Who is it that makes Christ as God-man happy? It is God; it is God imediately participated; God is all in all to the Lord Christ. Now he that is the happiness of Christ shall imediately be our happiness too; for 'Christ hath received us to the glory of God,' - that is the expression, Rom. xv. 7, - into the glory that himself hath. So that now there is abundance in this, that it is the inheritance of him, of the Father of glory; 'what are the riches of the glory of the inheritance in him,' so the word will likewise signify.
I will give you but one meaning more, my brethren, and, I take it, it is the most proper here, and it is as great as any of the former, and it is this; what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.' The meaning is this: that the glory that the saints shall have, God reckoneth it to be his inheritance ; his inheritance, saith he, in the saints. The meaning is plainly this, that that glory that shall arise to God, which he shall for ever live upon, as upon his inheritance, shall arise out of theirs; it is not said to be their iniheritance, but his inheritance in them. My brethren, there is much in this; not only are the people of God called God's inheritance, but the glory of the people of God in heaven is called God's inheritance too. In 2 Thess. i. 10, it is said that he 'shall cause to be glorified in his saints, and admired in all that believe.' Mark his expression, the saints shall be glorified, but how? So as Jesus shall be admired in thens and glorified in them. And, Rom. ix. 23, What if God, willing, saith he, to make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had before prepared unto glory? Bringing vessels of mercy unto glory is but to make known the riches of his glory; his glory shall arise out of theirs; therefore it is said to be 'his inheritance in the saints.'
Now think with yourselves this: it is not a small deal of glory that will content God as his inheritance ; for if he mean to manifest himself, he will do it like God. Ahasuerus, when he made a feast, would do it like a king, to shew forth the riches of his glorious kingdom, and the honour of his excellent majesty, as Esther i. 4. Now therefore, when God shall set himself to glorify himself to the uttermost, and all that glory that he meaneth to glorify himself in shall be in the saints, and their glory shall be his inheritance, what will this rise to
To explain this to you in a word; there is an essential happiness and glory in God, which none can see. 'Thou canst not see my glory,' saith he, Exod. xxxin. 20. And there is a manifestative glory that ariseth out of his works. Now this manifestative glory be counteth his inheritance, as well as the other. 'My glory I will not give to another.' He hath formed all for his glory, that is, for the manifestation of his glory; he counteth it his inheritance.
Now then, if God will shew how glorious a God he is, by shewing how glorious a creature he can make, how glorious must those creatures be especially when their glory must come up to be an inheritance to God, that be may say, Lo, I have a goodly heritage. He that is the great God, and hath such vast desires of glory, shall say, I am satisfied, here I will rest this is mine inheritance that I will live upon for ever, even the glory that I have bestowed upon these souls in heaven. Think with yourselves what these things are - ' what the riches of the glory of his inheritance are in the saints.'
My brethren, it is the last of his works. He takes this world here for none of his inheritance, he will burn it to ashes, consume it, turn it to its old chaos. He takes devils and wicked men, and flingeth them to hell; they are lost, they are cut off from his hand, they are none of his inheritance. He takes Christ and the saints up to heaven and glorifieth them. Here is mine inheritance, saith be, here is my rest. As when he had made this world, which was to be but a type of this which is to come, he looks over all that he made, and the text saith 'he was refreshed,' Exod. xxxi. 17.
Now God will fling this world away; he flings wicked angels and men away; they are host, they are gone from him, he hath no more to do with them; he reckons not of them, he reckons thens as refuse things, as lumber which he only layeth by for the fire. Then he takes the saints up to heaven, and there he resteth, keepeth an eternal Sabhath ; therefore it is called 'entering into his rest,' that is the phrase, Ps. xcv. 11. Oh, my brethren, what is that, think you, what glory must that be that must come up to be an inheritance for God to rest in for ever! In all these senses this particle here, ' his inheritance,' or 'inheritance of him,' what doth it arise to ? The Lord open the eyes of our understanding, that we may know what the riches of the glory of his inheritance are.
I have but one thing more to handle, and that is, ' in the saints.' He meaneth, as Camero hath well observed, saints perfect, for they are the subjects of this glory. It is plain he meaneth so by what followeth in the next verse; for when he speaks of saints below on earth, be changeth his phrase; 'that you may know,' that is, here below, 'the greatness of his power to usward that believe.' So that here may be this cast in likewise to make heaven a glorious condition, that men's spirits, to possess all this, shall be made perfectly holy. 'The spirits of just men,' saith he, ' made perfect.' It is an inheritance in the saints. 'I shall behold,' saith he, 'thy face in righteousness, when I awake,' at the resurrection, Ps. xvii. iS. There is nothing but perfect holiness there.
But that is not the thing I aim at. But let us consider heaven from hence too, what the riches of his glory must needs be that God hath provided for saints ; take an argument from them. I will give you an instance of it. You heard before that the earth God hath given to the children of men, but the heaven of heavens be hath reserved for his saints. Well, raise up your thoughts now; this earth here hath many good things in it, there us abundance of glory and riches in it, so much as, the truth is, it draweth all the hearts of the sons of men after it. To whom hath he given this earth? To the wickedest of men, to the ungodliest of men. 'He givetk kingdoms,' saith be, 'to the basest of men ;' so it is, Dan. iv. 17. Nay, and the devil himself is the king of this world, and he hath all the things here. Ho undertook to give the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them to Christ. He is the prince that ruleth in the air the god of the world ; carrieth all before him.
Now raise up your thoughts; hath God given such a world as this is, and all the glory of it, to his worst enemies, to the very devils themselves, that were worshipped for about four thousand years by all the world, and had all the glory and riches of it? What hath he reserved then for the saints? What must be the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, whom God loveth, whom he loveth from everlasting, when they shall be made perfectly glorious without spot and wrinkle; glorious so as God can fully delight in them, and they delight in him? What will be the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints?
And so now I have done with opening this, to shew you from all the arguments the text affordeth, what the riches of the glory of heaven are. I have kept merely to what the text saith; and I have made this vow with myself, if I meet with heaven in a scripture, I will speak of it so far as that scripture shall give me scope to do; for no subject will quicken the heart more than to lay open the riches of God's mercy, and the riches tbemselves, glory, and the unsearchable riches of Christ
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