Design. God would bring his saints to heaven in such a way as might be most expressive of his dear love and mercy to them. This way of communicating strength to saints, gives a double accent to God’s love and mercy.

(1.) It distills a sweetness into all the believer hath or doth, when he finds any comfort in his bosom, any enlargement of heart in duty, any support under temptations, to consider whence came all these, what friend sends them in. They came not from my own cistern, or any creature’s. O it is my God that hath been here, and left his sweet perfume of comfort behind him in my bosom! my God that hath unaware to me filled my sails with the gales of his Spirit, and brought me off the flats of my own deadness, where I lay aground. O, it is his sweet Spirit that held my head, stayed my heart in such an affliction and temptation, or else I had gone away in a fainting fit of unbelief. How can this choose but to endear God to a gracious soul? His succors coming so immediately from heaven, which would be lost, if the Christian had any strength to help himself (though this stock of strength came at first from God). Which, think you, speaks more love and condescent: for a prince to give a pension to a favorite, on which he may live by his own care, or for this prince to take the chief care upon himself, and come from day to day to this man’s house, and look into his cupboard, and see what provision he hath, what expense he is at, and so constantly to provide for the man from time to time? Possibly some proud spirit that likes to be his own man, or loves his means better than his prince, would prefer the former, but one that is ambitious to have the heart and love of his prince would be ravished with the latter. Thus God doth with his saints. The great God comes and looks into their cupboard, and sees how they are laid in, and sends in accordingly as he finds them. ‘Your heavenly Father knows you have need of these things,’ and you shall have them. He knows you need strength to pray, [to] hear, [to] suffer for him, and, in ipsâ horâ dabitur, ‘in the very hour it will be given.’

(2.) This way of God’s dealing with his saints adds to the fulness and stability of their strength. Were the stock in our own hands, we should soon prove broken merchants. God knows we are but leak­ing vessels, when fullest we could not hold it long; and therefore to make all sure, he sets us under the streaming forth of his strength, and a leaking vessel under a cock gets what it loseth. Thus we have our leakage supplied continually. This is the provision God made for Israel in the wilderness: He clave the rock, and the rock followed them. They had not only a draught at present, but it ran in a stream after them, so that you hear no more of their complaints for water. This rock was Christ. Every believer hath Christ at his back, following him with strength as he goes, for every condition and trial. One flower with the root is worth many in a posie, which though sweet yet doth not grow, but wither as we wear them in our bosoms. God’s strength as the root keeps our grace lively, without which, though as orient as Adam’s was, it would die.

2. Design. The second design that God hath in his saints’ happiness is, that he may so express his mercy and love to them as may rebound back to him in the highest advance of his own glory therein, Eph. 1:4, 12, which is fully attained in this way of empowering saints, by a strength not of their own, but of their God his sending, as they are put to expense. Had God given his saints a stock of grace to have set up with and left them to the improvement of it, he had been magnified indeed, because it was more than God did owe the creature; but he had not been omnified as now, when not only the Christian’s first strength to close with Christ is from God, but he is beholden still to God for the exercise of that strength, in every ac­tion of his Christian course. As a child that travels in his father’s company, all is paid for, but his father carries the purse, not himself, so the Christian’s shot is discharged in every condition; but he cannot say this I did, or that I suffered, but God wrought all in me and for me. The very comb of pride is cut here; no room [is left] for any self-exalting thoughts. The Christian cannot say, that I am a saint is mercy; but being a saint, that my faith is strong, this is the child of my own care and watchfulness. Alas, poor Christian! who kept thine eye waking, and stirred up thy care? Was not this the offspring of God as well as thy faith at first? No saint shall say of heaven when he comes there, ‘This is heaven, which I have built by the power of my might.’ No, ‘Jerusalem above is a city whose builder and maker is God.’ Every grace, yea, degree of grace, is a stone in that building, the topstone whereof is laid in glory, where saints shall more plainly see, how God was not only Founder to begin, but Benefactor also to finish the same. The glory of the work shall not be crumbled and piece-mealed out, some to God and some to the creature, but all entirely paid in to God, and he acknowledged all in all.

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