The Lord's Prayer by Thomas Watson File 9 (... continued from file 8) (7) In the kingdom of heaven we shall have a blessed rest. Rest is the end of motion; heaven is centrum quietativum animae, the blessed centre where the soul acquiesces and rests. In this life we are subject to unquiet motions and fluctuations. 'We were troubled on every side' (2 Cor 7: 5): like a ship on the sea having the waves beating on both sides; but in the kingdom of heaven there is rest. Hub 4: 9. How welcome is rest to a weary traveller! When death cuts asunder the string of the body, the soul, as a dove, flies away, and is at rest. This rest is when the saints shall lie on Christ's bosom that hive of sweetness, that bed of perfume. (8) The saints in the kingdom of heaven shall have their bodies richly bespangled with glory. They shall be full of brightness and beauty. As Moses' face shined, that Israel were not able to behold the glory (Exod 34: 30), so the bodies of the saints shall shine seven times brighter than the sun, as Chrysostom says; they shall have such a resplendence of beauty on them, that the angels shall fall in love with them; and no wonder, for they shall be made like Christ's glorious body. Phil 3: 21. The bodies of saints gloried need no jewels, when they shall shine like Christ's body. (9) In the heavenly kingdom is eternity. It is an eternal fruition, they shall never be put out of the throne. 'They shall reign for ever and ever.' Rev 22: 5. It is called 'the everlasting kingdom' (2 Pet 1: 11), and an 'eternal weight of glory.' 2 Cor 4: 17. The flowers of paradise, of which the saints' garland is made, never wither. If there could be a cessation of heaven's glory, or the saints had but the least fear or suspicion of losing their felicity, it would infinitely abate and cool their joy; but their kingdom is for ever, the rivers of paradise cannot be dried up. 'At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.' Psa 16: 2: The kingdom of heaven was typified by the temple which was built with stone, covered with cedar overlaid with gold, to show that the fixed permanent state of glory abides for ever. Well may we pray, 'Thy kingdom come.'  The properties or qualifications of the kingdom of heaven. (1) The glory of this kingdom is solid and substantial. The Hebrew word for glory signifies a weight, to show how solid and weighty the glory of the celestial kingdom is. The glory of the worldly kingdom is airy and imaginary, like a blazing comes, or fancy. Agrippa and Bernice came with a great pomp, with a great fancy. Acts 25: 23. The earth hangs like a ball in the air, without anything to uphold it. Job 26: 7. The glory of the heavenly kingdom is substantial, it has twelve foundations. Rev 21: 14. That which God and angels count glory, is true glory. (2) The glory of this kingdom is satisfying. 'With thee is the fountain of life.' Psa 36: 9. How can they choose but be full who are at the fountainhead? 'When I awake, I shall be satisfied with thy likeness,' i.e., when I awake in the morning of the resurrection, having some of the beams of thy glory shining in me, I shall be satisfied. Psa 17: 15. The creature says, concerning satisfaction, 'It is not in me.' Job 28: 14. If we go for happiness to the creature, we go to the wrong box: heaven's glory only is commensurate to the vast desires of an immortal soul. A Christian bathing himself in these rivers of pleasures, cries out in divine ecstasy, I have enough. The soul is never satisfied till it has God for its portion, and heaven for its haven. Dissatisfaction arises from some defect, but God is an infinite good, and there can be no defect in that which is infinite. (3) The glory of heaven's kingdom is pure and unmixed. The streams of paradise are not muddied, omnia clara, omnia jucunda [all are clear, all are delightful]. There gold has no alloy. There is no bitter ingredient in that glory: it is pure as the honey that drops from the comb. There the rose of Sharon grows without thorns. There is ease without pain, honour without disgrace, life without death. (4) The glory of this kingdom is constantly exhilarating and refreshing; there is fulness, but no surfeit. Worldly comforts, though sweet, yet in time grow stale. A down-bed pleases awhile, but soon we are weary and would rise. Too much pleasure is a pain; but the glory of heaven never surfeits or nauseates; because, as there are all rarities imaginable, so every moment fresh delights spring from God into the glorified soul. (5) The glory of this kingdom is distributed to every individual saint. In an earthly kingdom the crown goes but to one, a crown will fit but one head; but in that kingdom above, the crown goes to all. Rev 1: 6. All the elect are kings. The land is settled chiefly upon the heir, and the rest are ill provided for; but in the kingdom of heaven all the saints are heirs. 'Heirs of God, and co- heirs with Christ.' Rom 8: 17. God has land enough to give to all his heirs. (6) Lucid and transparent. This kingdom of heaven is adorned and bespangled with light. I Tim 6: 16. Light is the glory of the creation. 'The light is sweet.' Eccl. 11: 7. Hell is a dark dungeon; fire, but no light. Matt 22:13. The kingdom of heaven is a diaphanum [transparency], all embroidered with light, clear as crystal. How can there be want of light, where Christ the Sun of Righteousness displays his golden beams? 'The glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.' Rev 21: 23. (7) The glory of this kingdom is adequate and proportionable to the desire of the soul. In creature fruitions, that which commends them, and sets them off to us, is suitableness. The content of marriage lies not in beauty or portion, but in suitableness of disposition. The excellence of a feast is, when the meat is suited to the palate. One ingredient in the glory of heaven is, that it exactly suits the desires of the glorified saints. We shall not say in heaven, 'Here is a dish I do not love!' There shall be music to suit the ear in the anthems of angels; and food that suits the glorified palate in the hidden manna of God's love. (8) The glory of this kingdom will be seasonable. The seasonableness of a mercy adds to its beauty and sweetness, like apples of gold to pictures of silver. After a hard winter in this cold climate, is it not seasonable to have the spring flowers of glory appear, and the singing of the birds of paradise come? When we have been wearied, and tired out in battle with sin and Satan, will not a crown be seasonable?  The kingdom of heaven infinitely excels all the kingdoms of the earth. (1) It excels in its Architect. Other kingdoms have men to raise their structures, but God himself laid the first stone in this kingdom. Heb 11: 10. This kingdom is of the greatest antiquity. God was the first King and founder of it; no angel was worthy to lay a stone in this building. (2) This heavenly kingdom excels in altitude. It is higher than any kingdom. The higher anything is the more excellent it is. Fire being the most sublime element, is most noble. The kingdom of heaven is seated above all the visible orbs. There is, 1. The airy heaven, which is the space from the earth to the sphere of the moon. 2. The starry heaven, the place where the planets are, of a higher elevation, as Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars. 3. The coelum empyraeum, the empyrean heaven, which Paul calls the third heaven; where Christ is, there the kingdom of glory is situated. This kingdom is so high that no scaling ladders of enemies can reach it; so high that the old serpent cannot shoot up his fiery darts to it. If wicked men could build their nests among the stars, the least believer would shortly be above them. (3) The kingdom of heaven excels all others in splendour and riches. It is described by precious stones. Rev 21: 19. What are all the rarities of the earth to this kingdom - coasts of pearl, rocks of diamonds, islands of spices? What are the wonders of the world to it - the Egyptian pyramids, the temple of Diana, the pillar of the sun offered to Jupiter? What a rich kingdom is that where God will lay out all his cost! Those who are poor in the world, soon as they come into this kingdom, grow rich, as rich as the angels. Other kingdoms are enriched with gold, this is enriched with the Deity. (4) The kingdom of heaven excels all other kingdoms in holiness. Kingdoms on earth are for the most part unholy; there is a common sore of luxury and uncleanness running in them. Kingdoms are stages for sin to be acted on. 'All tables are full of vomit' (Isa 28: 8); but the kingdom of heaven is so holy that it will not mix with any corruption. There shall enter into it nothing that defileth. Rev 21: 27. It is so pure a soil, that no serpent of sin will breed there. There beauty is not stained with lust, and honour is not swelled with pride. Holiness is the brightest jewel of the crown of heaven. (5) The kingdom of heaven excels all other kingdoms in its pacific nature. It is regnum pacis, a kingdom of peace. Peace is the glory of a kingdom; pax una triumphis innumeris melior [one peace is better than countless victories]. A king's crown is more adorned with the white lily of peace, than when beset with the red roses of a bloody war. But where shall we find an uninterrupted peace upon earth? Either there are home-bred divisions or foreign invasions. 'There was no peace to him that went out, nor to him that came in.' 2 Chron 15: 5. But the kingdom of heaven is a kingdom of peace; there are no enemies to conflict with; for all Christ's enemies shall be under his feet. Psa 110: 1. The gates of that kingdom always stand open: 'The gates shall not be shut at all;' to show that there is no fear of an assault of an enemy. Rev 21: 25. When the saints die they are said to enter into peace. Isa 57: 2. There is no beating of drums or roaring of cannons; but the voice of harpers harping, in token of peace. Rev 14: 2. In heaven, 'righteousness and peace kiss each other.' (6) The kingdom of heaven excels in magnitude; it is of vast dimensions. Though the gate of the kingdom be strait, and we must pass into it through the strait gate of mortification, yet, when once we are in it, it is very large. Though there be an innumerable company of saints and angels, yet there is room enough for them all. The kingdom of heaven may be called by the name of that well in Gen 26: 22: Isaac 'called the name of it Rehoboth; and he said, For now the Lord has made room for us.' Thou who art now confined to a small cottage, when thou comest into the celestial kingdom, shalt not be straitened for room. As every star has a large orb to move in, so it shall be with the saints, when they shall shine as stars in the kingdom of heaven. (7) The kingdom of heaven excels in unity. All the inhabitants agree together in love. Love will be the perfume and music of heaven; as love to God will be intense, so to the saints. As perfect love casts out fear, so it casts out envy and discord. Those Christians who could not live quietly together on earth (which was the blemish of their profession) in the heaven shall be all love; the fire of strife shall cease; there shall be no vilifying, or censuring one another, or raking into one another's sores, but all shall be tied together with the heart-strings of love. There Luther and Zwingli are agreed. Satan cannot put in his cloven foot there to make divisions. There shall be perfect harmony and concord, and not one jarring string in the saints' music. It were worth dying to be in that kingdom. (8) This kingdom exceeds all earthly kingdoms in joy and pleasure, and is therefore called paradise. 2 Cor 12: 4. For delight, there are all things to cause pleasure; there is the water of life clear as crystal; there is the honeycomb of God's love dropping. It is called 'entering into the joy of our Lord.' Matt 25: 23. There are two things which cause joy.  Separation from sin shall be complete, and then joy follows. There can be no more sorrow in heaven than there is joy in hell.  Perfect union with Christ. Joy, as Aristotle says, flows from union with the object. When our union with Christ shall be perfect our joy shall be full. If the joy of faith be so great, what will the joy of sight be? I Pet 1: 8. Joseph gave his brethren provision for the way, but the full sacks of corn were kept till they came to their father's house. God gives the saints a taste of joy here, but the full sacks are kept till they come to heaven. Not only the organic parts, the outward senses, the eye, ear, taste, but the heart of a glorified saint shall be filled with joy. The understanding, will, and affections, are such a triangle as none can fill but the Trinity. There must needs be infinite joy, where nothing is seen but beauty; nothing is tasted but love. (9) This kingdom of heaven excels all earthly kingdoms in self- perfection. Other kingdoms are defective, they have not all provision within themselves, but are fain to traffic abroad to supply their wants at home, as King Solomon sent to Ophir for gold. 2 Chron 8:18. But there is no defect in the kingdom of heaven; it has all commodities of its own growth. Rev 22: 2. There is the pearl of price, the morning star, the mountains of spices, the bed of love; there are those sacred rarities, wherewith God and angels are delighted. (10) This kingdom of heaven excels all others in honour and nobility. It not only equals them in the ensigns of royalty, the throne and white robes, but it far transcends them. Other kings are of the blood-royal, but they in this heavenly kingdom are born of God. Other kings converse with nobles: the saints glorified are fellow commoners with angels; they have a more noble crown; it is made of the flowers of paradise, and is a crown that fadeth not away. I Pet 5: 4. They sit on a better throne. King Solomon sat on a throne of ivory overlaid with gold (I Kings 10: 18); but the saints in heaven are higher advanced, they sit with Christ upon his throne. Rev 3: 21. They shall judge the princes and great ones of the earth. I Cor 6: 2. This honour have all the glorified saints. (11) This kingdom of heaven excels all others in healthfulness. Death is a worm that is ever feeding at the root of our gourd: kingdoms are often hospitals of sick persons; but the kingdom of heaven is a most healthful climate. Physicians there are out of date: no distemper there, no passing bell, or bill of mortality. 'Neither can they die any more.' Luke 20: 36. In the heavenly climate are no ill vapours to breed diseases, but a sweet, aromatic smell coming from Christ; all his garments smell of myrrh, aloes, and cassia. (12) This kingdom of heaven excels in duration, it abides for ever. Suppose earthly kingdoms to be more glorious than they are, their foundations of gold, their walls of pearl, their windows of sapphire; yet they are corruptible and fading. 'I will cause to cease the kingdom.' Hos 1: 4. Troy and Athens now lie buried in their ruins; jam seges est ubi Troja fuit [corn now grows where Troy once stood]. Mortality is the disgrace of all earthly kingdoms; but the kingdom of heaven has eternity written upon it, it is an everlasting kingdom. 2 Pet 1: 11. It is founded upon the strong basis of God's omnipotence. The saints shall never be turned out of this kingdom, or be deposed from their throne, as some kings have been, as Henry VI., &c. but shall reign for ever and ever. Rev 22: 5. How should all this affect our hearts! What should we mind but this kingdom of heaven, which more outshines all the kingdoms of the earth than the sun outshines the light of a taper!  This glory in the kingdom of heaven shall be begun at death, but not perfected till the resurrection. (1) The saints shall enter upon the kingdom of glory immediately after death. Before their bodies are buried, their souls shall be crowned. 'Having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ.' Phil 1: 23. From this connection, departing, and being with Christ, we see clearly that there is a subitus transitus, speedy passage from death to glory; no sooner is the soul of a believer divorced from the body, but it presently goes to Christ. 'Absent from the body, present with the Lord.' 2 Cor 5: 8. It were better for believers to stay here, if immediately after death they were not with Christ in glory; for here the saints are daily increasing their grace; here they may have many praelibamina [foretastes], sweet tastes of God's love: so that it were better to stay here, if their soul should sleep in their body, and they should not have a speedy sight of God in glory; but the consolation of believers is that they shall not stay long from their kingdom; it is but winking and they shall see God. It will not only be a blessed change to a believer, from a desert to a paradise, from a bloody battle to a victorious crown, but a sudden change. No sooner did Lazarus die, but he had a convoy of angels to conduct his soul to the kingdom of glory. You who now are full of bodily diseases, scarce a day well, saying, 'My life is spent with grief' (Psa 31: 10); be of good comfort, you may be happy before you are aware, before another week or month be over, you may be in the kingdom of glory, and then all tears shall be wiped away. (2) The glory in the kingdom of heaven will be fully perfected at the resurrection and general day of judgement. Then the bodies and souls of believers will be reunited. What joy will there be at the reunion and meeting together of the soul and body of a saint! Oh, what a welcome will the soul give to the body! 'O my dear body, thou didst often join with me in prayer, and now thou shalt join with me in praise; thou were willing to suffer with me, and now thou shalt reign with me; thou were sown a vile body, but now thou art made like Christ's glorious body; we were once for a time divorced, but now we are married, and crowned together in a kingdom, and shall mutually congratulate each other's felicity.'  The certainty and infallibility of this kingdom of glory. That this blessed kingdom shall be bestowed on the saints, is beyond all dispute. (1) God has promised it. 'It is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.' Luke 12: 32. 'I appoint unto you a kingdom.' Luke 22: 29. 'I bequeath it as my last will and testament.' Has God promised a kingdom, and will he not make it good? God's promise is better than any bond. 'In hope of eternal life which God, that cannot lie, promised.' Tit 1: 2. The whole earth hangs upon the word of God's power; and cannot our faith hang upon the word of his promise? (2) There is a price laid down for this kingdom. Heaven is not only a kingdom which God has promised, but which Christ has purchased; it is called a purchased possession. Eph 1: 14. Though this kingdom is given us freely, yet Christ bought it with the price of his blood; which is a heaven procuring blood. 'Having boldness to enter into the holiest (i.e., into heaven) by the blood of Jesus.' Heb 10: 19. Crux Christi clavis paradisi [The cross of Christ is the key of paradise], Christ's blood is the key that opens the gates of heaven. Should not the saints have this kingdom, then Christ should lose his purchase. Christ on the cross was in hard travail. Isa 53: 11. He travailed to bring forth salvation to the elect: should not they possess the kingdom when they die, Christ would lose his travail; all his pangs and agonies of soul upon the cross would be in vain. (3) Christ prays that the saints may have this kingdom settled upon them. 'Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am.' i.e., in heaven. John 17: 24. This is Christ's prayer, that the saints may be with him in his kingdom, and be bespangled with some of the beams of his glory. Now, if they should not go into this heavenly kingdom, then Christ's prayer would be frustrated; but that cannot be, for he is God's favourite. 'I knew that thou hearest me always;' and besides, what Christ prays for, he has power to give. John 11: 42. Observe the manner of Christ's prayer, 'Father, I will;' Father, there he prays as man; 'I will,' there he gives as God. (4) The saints must have this blessed kingdom by virtue of Christ's ascension. 'I ascend unto my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.' John 20: 17. Where lies the comfort of this? Jesus Christ ascended to take possession of heaven for all believers. As a husband takes up land in another country in behalf of his wife, so Christ went to take possession of heaven in behalf of all believers. 'I go to prepare a place for you.' John 14: 2. My ascension is to make all things ready against your coming: I go to prepare the heavenly mansions for you. The flesh that Christ has taken into heaven, is a sure pledge that our flesh and bodies shall be where he is ere long. Christ did not ascend to heaven as a private person, but as a public person, for the good of all believers; his ascension was a certain forerunner of the saints ascending into heaven. (5) The elect must have this blessed kingdom, in regard of the previous work of the Spirit in their hearts. They have the beginning of the kingdom of heaven in them here: grace is heaven begun in the soul; besides, God gives them primitias Spiritus, the first-fruits of the Spirit. Rom 8: 23. The first-fruits are the comforts of the Spirit. These first-fruits under the law were a certain sigh to the Jews of the full crop of vintage which they should after receive. The first-fruits of the Spirit, consisting of joy and peace, assure the saints of the full vintage of glory they shall be ever reaping in the kingdom of God. The saints in this life are said to have the earnest of the Spirit in their hearts. 2 Cor 5: 5. As an earnest is part of payment, and an assurance of payment in full to be made in due time, so God's Spirit in the hearts of believers, giving them his comforts, bestows on them an earnest, or taste of glory, which further assures them of that full reward which they shall have in the kingdom of heaven. 'Believing, ye rejoice;' there is the earnest of heaven. I Pet 1: 8. 'Receiving the end of your faith,' salvation; there is the full payment; ver 9. (6) The elect must have this blessed kingdom by virtue of their coalition and union with Jesus Christ, they are members of Christ, therefore they must be where their head is. Indeed, the Arminians hold, that a justified person may fall from grace, and so his union with Christ may be dissolved and the kingdom lost; but I demand of them, can Christ lose a member of his body? Then he is not perfect; and if Christ may lose one member of his body, why not as well all, by the same reason? He will then be a head without a body; but be assured a believer's union with Christ cannot be broken, and so long he cannot be hindered of the kingdom. John 17: 12. What was said of Christ's natural body, is as true of his mystical. 'A bone of him shall not be broken.' John 19: 36. Look how every bone and limb of Christ's natural body was raised up out of the grave, and carried into heaven; so shall every member of his mystical body be carried up into glory. (7) We read of some who have been translated into this kingdom. Paul had a sight of it, for he was caught up into the third heaven. 2 Cor 12: 2. And the converted thief on the cross was translated into glory. 'Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.' Luke 23: 43. By all that has been said, it is most evident that believers have a glorious kingdom laid up for them in reversion, and that they shall go to this kingdom when they die. None doubt the certainty of the heavenly kingdom but such as doubt the verity of Scripture.  We should pray earnestly, 'Thy kingdom come.' (1) Because it is a kingdom worth praying for. It exceeds the glory of all earthly kingdoms, it has gates of pearl. Rev 21: 21. We have heard of a cabinet of pearl, but when did we hear of gates of pearl? In that kingdom is the bed of love, the mountains of spices; there are the cherubim, not to keep us out, but to welcome us into the kingdom. Heaven is a kingdom worth praying for; nothing is wanting in that kingdom which may complete the saints' happiness; for, wherein does happiness consist? Is it in knowledge? We 'shall know as we are known.' Is it in dainty fare? We shall be at the 'marriage supper of the Lamb.' Is it in rich apparel? We shall be 'clothed in long white robes.' Is it in delicious music? We shall hear the choir of angels singing. Is it in dominion? We shall reign as kings, and judge angels. Is it in pleasure? We shall enter into the joy of our Lord. Surely then this kingdom is worth praying for! 'Thy kingdom come.' Would God give us a vision of heaven awhile, as he did Stephen, who saw 'the heavens opened' (Acts 7: 56), we should fall into a trance; and being a little recovered out of it, how importunately would we put up this petition, 'Thy kingdom come!' (2) We must pray for this kingdom of glory, because God will not bestow it on any without prayer. 'To them who seek for glory and immortality' (Rom 2: 7); and how do we seek but by prayer? God has promised a kingdom, and we must by prayer put the bond in suit. God is not so lavish as to throw away a kingdom on those who do not ask it. And certainly, if Christ himself, who had merited glory, did pray, 'Now, O Father, glorify me with thine own self'(John 17: 5), how much more ought we to pray for the excellent glory who have this kingdom granted as a charter of God's mere grace and favour! (3) We must pray that the kingdom of glory may come, that by going into it we may make an end of sinning. I think sometimes, what a blessed time it will be, never to have a sinful thought more! though we must not pray, 'Thy kingdom come,' out of discontent, because we would be rid of the troubles and crosses of this life. This was Jonah's fault; he would die in a pet, because God took away his gourd; 'Lord,' says he, 'take my life from me.' Jonah 4: 3. But we must pray, 'Thy kingdom come,' out of a holy design that the fetters of corruption may be pulled off, and we may be as the angels, those virgin spirits, who never sin. This made the church pray in Rev 22: 20, Veni, Domine Jesu [Come, Lord Jesus]. (4) Because that all Christ's enemies shall be put under his feet. The devil shall have no more power to tempt, nor wicked men to persecute; the antichristian hierarchy shall be pulled down, and Zion's glory shall shine as a lamp, and the Turkish strength shall be broken. (5) We must pray earnestly that the kingdom of glory may come, that we may see God 'face to face,' and have an uninterrupted and eternal communion with him in the empyrean heaven. Moses desired but a glimpse of God's glory. Exod 33: 18. How then should we pray to see him in all his embroidered robes of glory, when he shall shine ten thousand times brighter than the sun in its meridian splendour! Here, in this life, we rather desire God than enjoy him; how earnestly therefore should we pray, 'Thy kingdom of glory come!' The beholding and enjoying God will be the diamond in the ring, the very quintessence of glory. And must we pray, 'Thy kingdom come'? How then are they ever like to come to heaven who never pray for it? Though God gives some profane persons 'daily bread' who never pray for it, yet he will not give them a kingdom who never pray for it. God may feed them, but he will never crown them. Use 1. For information. (1) From all this, you see that nothing within the whole sphere of religion is imposed upon unreasonable terms. When God bids us serve him, it is no unreasonable request; out of free grace he will enthrone us in a kingdom. When we hear of repentance, steeping our souls in brinish tears for sin; or of mortification, beheading our king-sin, we are ready to grumble, and think this is hard and unreasonable. 'But, do we serve God for nought?' Is it not infinite bounty to reward us with a kingdom? This kingdom is as far above our thoughts, as it is beyond our deserts. No man can say, without wrong to God, that he is a hard master; for though he sets us about hard work, yet he is no hard master. God gives double pay; he gives great perquisites in his service, sweet joy and peace; and a great reward after, 'an eternal weight of glory.' God gives the spring-flowers, and a crop; he settles upon us such a kingdom as exceeds our faith. Praemium quod fide non attingitur [The reward which is not attained by faith]. Augustine. Such as mortal eye has not seen, nor can it enter into the heart of man to conceive. I Cor 2: 9. Alas, what an infinite difference is there between duty enjoined, and the kingdom prepared! What is the shedding of a tear to a crown! So that God's 'commandments are not grievous.' I John 5: 3. Our service cannot be so hard as a kingdom is sweet. (2) See hence the royal bounty of God to his children, that he has prepared a kingdom for them, a kingdom bespangled with glory; infinitely above the model we can draw of it in our thoughts. The painter going to draw the picture of Helena, as not being able to draw her beauty to the life, drew her face covered with a vail; so, when we speak of the kingdom of heaven, we must draw a vail, we cannot set it forth in all its orient beauty and magnificence; gold and pearl do but faintly shadow it out. Rev 21: 21. The glory of this kingdom is better felt than expressed. They who inherit this kingdom are amicti stolis albis, 'clothed with white robes.' Rev 7: 9. White robes denote three things:  Their dignity. The Persian were arrayed in white, in token of honour.  Their purity. The magistrates among the Romans were clothed in white, therefore called candidate, to show their integrity. Thus the queen, the Lamb's wife, is arrayed in fine linen, pure and white, which is 'the righteousness of the saints.' Rev 19: 8.  Their joy. White is an emblem of joy. 'Eat thy bread with joy, let thy garments be always white.' Eccl 9: 7, 8. The dwellers in this kingdom have 'palms in their hands,' in token of victory. Rev 7: 9. They are conquerors over the world: and, being victors, they have now palm-branches. They sit upon the throne with Christ. Rev 3: 21. When Caesar returned from conquering his enemies, there was set for him a chair of state in the senate, and a throne in the theatre. Thus the saints in glory, after their heroic victories, shall sit upon a throne with Christ. It is royal bounty in God, to bestow such an illustrious kingdom upon the saints. It is a mercy to be pardoned, but what is it to be crowned? It is a mercy to be delivered from wrath to come, but what is it to be invested with a kingdom? 'Behold, what manner of love is this?' Earthly princes may bestow great gifts and donations upon their subjects, but they keep the kingdom to themselves. Though king Pharaoh advanced Joseph to honour, and took the ring off his finger and gave it to him, yet he would keep the kingdom to himself. Gen 41: 40. But God enthrones the saints in a kingdom. He thinks nothing too good for his children. We are ready to think much of a tear, a prayer, or to sacrifice a sin for him; but he does not think much to bestow a kingdom upon us. (3) See hence, that religion is no ignominious disgraceful thing. Satan labours to cast all the odium and reproach upon it that he can; that it is devout frenzy, ingrain folly. Acts 28: 22. 'As concerning this sect, we know that everywhere it is spoken against.' But wise men measure things by the end. What is the end of a religious life? It ends in a kingdom. Would a prince regard the slightings of a few frantics, when he is going to be crowned? You who are beginners, bind their reproaches as a crown about your head; despise their censures as much as their praise: a kingdom is coming. (4) See what contrary ways the godly and the wicked go at death. The godly go to a kingdom, the wicked to a prison: the devil is the jailer, and they are bound with the chains of darkness. Jude 6. But what are these chains? Not iron chains, but worse; the chain of God's decree, decreeing them to torment; and the chain of God's power, whereby he binds them fast under wrath. The deplorable condition of impenitent sinners, is that they do not go to a kingdom when they die, but to a prison. Oh, think what horror and despair will possess the wicked, when they see themselves engulfed in misery, and their condition hopeless, helpless, endless! They are in a fiery prison, and there is no possibility of getting out. A servant under the law, who had a hard master, at every seventh year might go free; but in hell there is no year of release when the damned shall go free; the fire, the worm, the prison are eternal. If the whole world, from earth to heaven, were filled with grains of sand, and once in a thousand years an angel should come and fetch one grain, how many millions of ages would pass before that vast heap of sand would be quite spent! Yet, if after all this time the sinner might come out of hell, there would be some hope: but this word "ever" breaks the heart with despair. The Lord's Prayer by Thomas Watson (continued in file 10...) ---------------------------------------------------- file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: watlp-09.txt .