THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD
By: John Bunyan
Now when the saints are raised, as ye have heard, they must give an account of all things, in general, that they have done while they were in the world; of all things, I say, whether they be good or bad.
First, Of all their bad; but mark, not under the consideration of vagabonds, slaves and sinners, but as sons, stewards, and servants of the Lord Jesus. That this shall be, it is evident from divers places of the holy Scriptures:
First, Paul saith, "We shall all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ," – we saints –
"For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God" (Romans 14:10-12)
"Wherefore we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ; that every one [of us] may receive the things done in his body, according to what he hath done, whether it be good or bad" (2 Corinthians 5:9, 10).
It is true, God loveth his people, but yet he loveth not their sins, nor anything they do, though with the greatest zeal for him, if he be contrary to his word; wherefore as truly as God will given a reward to his saints and children for all that they have indeed well done; so truly will he at this day distinguish their good and bad: and when both are manifest by the righteous judgment of Christ; he will burn up their bad, with all their labor, travel, and pains in it for ever. He can tell how to save his people, and yet take vengeance on their inventions (Psalm 99:8).
That is an observable place, in the first epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, and the third chapter, "If any man build," saith he, "upon this foundation [Christ] gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall berevealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire" (1 Corinthians 3:12-15). Now observe,
1. As I said before, the foundation is Christ (verse 11).
2. The gold, silver, and precious stones that here are said to be built upon him, are all the actings in faith and love, according to the word, that the saints are found doing for his sake in the world (1 Peter 1:7; Revelation 3:18).
3. To build on him wood, hay, and stubble, it is to build, together with what is right in itself, human inventions and carnal ordinances, fathering them still on God and his allowance.
4. The fire that here you read of, it is the pure word and law of God (Jeremiah 23:29; John 12:48).
5. The day that here you read of, it is the day of Christ’s coming to judgment, to reveal the hidden things of darkness, and to make manifest the counsels of the heart (1 Corinthians 4:5).
6. At this day, the gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, and stubble, and that of every man, shall be tried by this fire, that it may be manifest of what sort it is; the wind, the rain, and floods, beat now as vehemently against the house upon the rock, as against that on the sand (Luke 6:48,49).
(1.) That the apostle speaks here of the saved, not of the reprobate – "He himself shall be saved."
(2.) That this saved man may have wood, hay, and stubble; that is, things that will not abide the trial.
(3.) That neither this man’s goodness, nor yet God's love to him, shall hinder all his wood, hay, or stubble from coming on the stage, "Everyman’s work shall be manifest: the fire shall try every man’s work, of what sort it is."
(4.) Thus, a good man shall see all his wood, hay, and stubble burnt up in the trial before his face.
(5.) That good man then shall suffer loss, or, the loss of all things that are not then according to the word of God – "If any man’s works shall be burnt," or any of them, "he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire" – that is, yet so as that all that ever he hath done, shall be tried, and squared by the word of God.
From all which, it must be unavoidably concluded, that the whole body of the elect must count with their Lord for all things they have done, whether good or bad, and that he will destroy all their bad, with the purity of his word, yea, and all their pains, travel, and labor that they have spent about it. I am persuaded that there are now many things done by the best of saints, that then they will gladly disown and be ashamed of; yea, which they have and do still do with great devotion. Alas, what gross things do some of the saints in their devotion father upon God, and do reckon him the author thereof, and that he also prompts them forward to the doing thereof, and doth give them his presence in the performance of them! Yea, and as they father many superstitions and scriptureless things upon him; so they die in the same opinion, and never come in this world, to the sight of their evil and ignorance herein. f6
But now the judgment-day is the principal time wherein everything shall be set in its proper place; that which is of God in its place, and that which is not, shall now be discovered, and made manifest. In many things now we offend all; and then we shall see the many offences we have committed, and shall ourselves judge them as they are. The Christian, is in this world, so candid a creature, that take him when he is not under some great temptation, and he will ingeniously confess to his God, before all men, how he hath sinned and transgressed against his Father; and will fall down at the feet of God, and cry, Thou art righteous, for I have sinned; and thou art gracious, that, notwithstanding my sin, thou shouldest save me. Now, I say, if the Christian is so simple and plain-hearted with God, in the days of his imperfection, when he is accompanied with many infirmities and temptations; how freely will he confess and acknowledge his miscarriages, when he comes before his Lord and Savior; absolutely stript of all temptation and imperfection.
"As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God" (Romans 14:11; Philippians 2:10, 11)
Every knee shall bow, and reverence God the Creator, and Christ the Redeemer of the world; and every tongue shall confess, that his will alone ought by them to have been obeyed in all things; and shall confess also, and that most naturally and freely – I mean, the saints shall – in how many things they were deceived, mistaken, deluded, and drawn aside in their intended devotion and honor to God.
[Second.] But yet take notice, that in this day, when the saints are thus counting for their evil before their Savior and Judge; they shall not then, as now, at the remembrance and confession of sin, be filled with the guilt, confusion, and shame that now through the weakness of faith attendeth their souls; neither shall they in the least be grieved or offended, that God hath before the angels and the rest of their holy brethren, laid open to a tittle their infirmities, from the least and first, to the biggest and last. For,
1. The God to whom they confess all, they will now more perfectly than ever see he doth love them, and free them from all, even when and before they confess and acknowledge them to him; and they shall, I say, have their soul so full of the ravishing raptures of the life and glory that now they are in, that they shall be of it swallowed up in that measure and manner, that neither fear, nor guilt, nor confusion can come near them, or touch them. Their Judge is their Savior, their Husband, and Head; who, though he will bring every one of them for all things to judgment, yet he will keep them for ever out of condemnation, and anything that tendeth that way. "Perfect love casteth out fear," even while we are here; much more then, when we are with our Savior, our Jesus, being passed from death to life (John 5:24; 1 John 4:18).
2. The saints at this day, shall have their hearts and souls so wrapped up in the pleasure of God their Savior, that it shall be their delight, to see all things, though once never so near and dear unto them; yet now to perish, if not according to his word and will. "Thy will be done," is to be always our language here (Matthew 6:10); but to delight to see it done in all things, though it tend never so much to the destruction of what we love; to delight, I say, to see it done in the height and perfection of delight; it will be when we come to heaven, or when the Lord shall come to judge the world. But,
3. The sole end of the counting of the saints at the day of God, it will be, not only for the vindication of the righteousness, holiness, and purity of the word, neither will it center only in the manifestation of the knowledge and heart-discerning nature of Christ [though both these will be in it, (Revelation 2:22, 23)]. But their very remembrances and sight of the sin and vanity that they have done while here; it shall both set off, and heighten the tender affections of their God unto them; and also increase their joy and sweetness of soul, and clinging of heart to their God. Saints while here, are sweetly sensible that the sense of sin, and the assurance of pardon, will make famous work in their poor hearts. Ah, what meltings without guilt! what humility without casting down! and what a sight of the creature’s nothingness, yet without fear, will this sense of sin work in the soul! The sweetest frame, the most heart-endearing frame, that possibly a Christian can get into while in this world, is to have a warm sight of sin, and of a Savior upon the heart at one time. Now it weeps not for fear and through torment, but by virtue of constraining grace and mercy, and is at this very time, so far off of disquietness of heart, by reason of the sight of its wickedness, that it is driven into an ecstasy, by reason of the love and mercy that is mingled with the sense of sin in the soul. The heart never sees so much of the power of mercy as now, nor of the virtue, value, and excellency of Christ in all his offices as now, and the tongue so sweetly enlarged to proclaim and cry up grace as now; now will Christ
"come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe" (2 Thessalonians 1:10).
Wherefore, though the saints receive by faith the forgiveness of sins in this life, and so are passed from death to life; yet again, Christ Jesus, and God his Father, will have every one of these sins reckoned up again, and brought fresh upon the stage in the day of judgment, that they may see and be sensible for ever, what grace and mercy hath laid hold upon them. And this I take to be the reason of that remarkable saying of the apostle Peter, "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began" (Acts 3:19-21).
If a sense of some sin, [for who sees all? (Psalm 19:12)], and a sight of the love of God, will here so work upon the spirit of the godly: what will a sight of all sin do, when together with it they are personally present with their Lord and Savior?
Yea, if a sight of some sins, with a possibility of pardon, will make the heart love, reverence, and fear with guiltless and heart-affecting fears; what will a general sight of all sin, and together with them an eternal acquittance from them, work on the heart of the saint for ever?
Yea, I say again, if a sight of sin, and the love of God, will make such work in that soul where yet there is unbelief, blindness, mistrust, and forgetfulness: what will a sight of sin do in that soul, who is swallowed up of love, who is sinless, and temptationless; who hath all the faculties of soul and body strained by love and grace, to the highest pin of perfection, that is possible to be in glory enjoyed and possessed? Oh the wisdom and goodness of God, that he at this day, should so cast about the worst of our things, even those that naturally tend to sink us, and damn us, for our great advantage! "All things shall work together for good," indeed, "to them that love God" (Romans 8:28). Those sins that brought a curse upon the whole world, that spilt the heart-blood of our dearest Savior, and that laid his tender soul under the flaming wrath of God, shall by his wisdom and love, tend to the exaltation of his grace, and the inflaming of our affections to him for ever and ever (Revelations 5:9-14).
It will not be thus with devils; it will not be thus with reprobates; the saved only have this privilege peculiar to themselves. Wherefore, to vary a little from the matter in hand: will God make that use of sin, even in our counting for it, that shall in this manner work for our advantage? Why then, let saints also make that advantage of their sin, as to glorify God thereby, which is to be done, not by saying, "Let us do evil, that good may come;" or, "Let us sin, that grace may abound;" but by taking occasion by the sin that is past to set the crown upon the head of Christ for our justification; continually looking upon it, so as to press us, to cleave close to the Lord Jesus, to grace and mercy through him, and to the keeping of us humble for ever, under all his dispensations and carriages to us.
Now, having counted for all their evil, and confessed to God’s glory, how they fell short, and did not the truth in this, or that, or other particulars, and having received their eternal acquittance from the Lord and Judge, in the sight of both angels and saints; forthwith the Lord Jesus will make inquiry,
Second, into all the good and holy actions and deeds they did do in the world. Now here shall all things be reckoned up, from the very first good thing that was done by Adam or Abel, to the last that will fall out to be done in the world. The good of all the holy prophets, of all apostles, pastors, teachers, and helps in the church; here also will be brought forth and to light, all the good carriages of masters of families, of parents, of children, of servants, of neighbours, or whatever good thing any man doth. But to be general and short,
First, here will be a recompense for all that have sincerely labored in the word and doctrine – I say, a recompense for all the souls they have saved by their word, and watered by the same. Now shall Paul the planter, and Apollos the waterer, with every one of the their companions, receive the reward that is according to their works (1 Corinthians 3:6-8).
Now, all the preaching, praying, watching, and labor thou hast been at, in thy endeavoring to catch men from Satan to God, shall be rewarded with spangling glory. Not a soul thou hast converted to the Lord Jesus, nor a soul thou hast comforted, strengthened, or helped by thy wholesome counsel, admonition, and comfortable speech, but it shall stick as a pearl in that crown
"which the Lord the righteous Judge, shall give thee at that day" (2 Timothy 4:7,8)
That is, if thou dost it willingly, delighting to lift up the name of God among men; if thou doest it with love, and longing after the salvation of sinners, otherwise thou wilt have only thy labor for thy pains, and no more.
"If I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed to my charge" (1 Corinthians 9:17; Philippians 1:15)
But, I say, if thou do it graciously, then a reward followeth; "For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye," saith Paul, "in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy" (1 Thessalonians 2:19, 20). Let him therefore that Christ hath put into his harvest, take comfort in the midst of all his sorrow, and know that God acknowledgeth, that he that converteth a sinner from the error of his way, doth even save that soul from death, "and covereth a multitude of sins" (James 5:20). Wherefore labor to convert, labor to water, labor to build up, and to
"Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; – and when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away" (1 Peter 5:2, 4).
Secondly, And as the ministers of Christ’s gospel shall at this day be recompensed; so shall also those more private saints be with tender affections, and love looked on, and rewarded for all their work and labor of love, which they have shewed to the name of Christ, in ministering to his saints, and suffering for his sake (Hebrews 6:10). "Whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free" (Ephesians 6:8). Ah! little do the people of God think, how largely and thoroughly, God will at that day, own and recompense all the good and holy acts of his people. Every bit, every drop, every rag, and every night’s harbor, though but in a wisp of straw, shall be rewarded in that day before men and angels – "Whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you," saith Christ, "he shall in no wise lose his [a disciple’s] reward" (Matthew 10:42). Therefore "When thou makest a feast," saith he,
"call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just" (Luke 14:13, 14)
If there be any repentance among the godly at this day, it will be, because the Lord Jesus, in his person, members, and word, was no more owned, honored, entertained, and provided for by them, when they were in this world: For it will be ravishing to all, to see what notice the Lord Jesus will then take of every widow’s mite. He, I say, will call to mind, even all those acts of mercy and kindness, which thou hast shewed to him, when thou wast among men. I say, he will remember, cry up, and proclaim before angels and saints, those very acts of thine, which thou hast either forgotten, or, through bashfulness wilt not at that day count worth the owing. He will reckon them up so fast, and so fully, that thou wilt cry, Lord, when did I do this? and when did I do the other? "When saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" (Matthew 25:37-40).
"The good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid" (1 Timothy 5:25).
Whatever thou hast done to one of the least of these my brethren, thou hast done it unto me. I felt the nourishment of thy food, and the warmth of thy fleece. I remember thy loving and holy visits when my poor members were sick, and in prison, and the like. When they were strangers, and wanderers in the world, thou tookest them in. "Well done, thou good and faithful servant; – enter thou into the joy of thy Lord" (Matthew 25:21-23; 34-47).
Thirdly, Here also will be a reward for all that hardness, and Christian enduring of affliction that thou hast met with for thy Lord, while thou wast in the world. Here now will Christ begin from the greatest suffering, even to the least, and bestow a reward on them all: from the blood of the suffering saint, to the loss of a hair: nothing shall go unrewarded (Hebrews 11:36-40; 2 Corinthians 8:8-14). "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" (2 Corinthians 4:17). Behold by the scriptures how God hath recorded the sufferings of his people, and also how he hath promised to reward them – "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you," and speak "all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice," leap for joy, "and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven" (Matthew 5:11, 12; Luke 6:22, 23). "And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundred-fold, and shall inherit everlasting life" (Matthew 19:29).
Fourthly, There is also a reward at this day, for all the more secret, and more retired works of Christianity.
1. There is not now one act of faith in thy soul, either upon Christ, or against the Devil, and Antichrist; but it shall in this day be found out, and praised, honored and glorified, in the face of heaven (1 Peter 1:7).
2. There is not one groan to God in secret, against thy own lusts, and for more grace, light, spirit, sanctification, and strength to go through this world like a Christian: but it shall even at the coming of Christ be rewarded openly (Matthew 6:6).
3. There hath not one tear dropped from thy tender eye against thy lusts, the love of this world, or for more communion with Jesus Christ, but as it is now in the bottle of God; so then it shall bring forth such plenty of reward, that it shall return upon thee with abundance of increase.
"Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh" (Luke 6:21).
"Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle; are they not in thy book?" (Psalm 56:8).
"They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him" (Psalm 126:5, 6).
Having thus in brief shewed you something concerning the resurrection of the saints, and that they shall count with their Lord at his coming, both for the burning up what was not according to the truth, and rewarding them for all their good. It remains, that I now in few words,
Fourth, Shew you something also of that with which they shall be rewarded.
First then, those that shall be found in the day of their resurrection, when they shall have all their good things brought upon the stage; they I say, that then shall be found the people most laborious for God while here; they shall at that day enjoy the greatest portion of God, or shall be possessed with most of the glory of the Godhead then. For that is the portion of saints in general (Romans 8:17; Lamentations 3:24). And why shall he that doth most for God in this world, enjoy most of him in that which is to come? But because by doing and acting, the heart, and every faculty of the soul is enlarged, and more capacitated, whereby more room is made for glory. Every vessel of glory shall at that day be full of it; but every one will not be capable to contain a like measure; and so if they should have it communicated to them, would not be able to stand under it; for there is
"an eternal weight in the glory that saints shall then enjoy" (2 Corinthians 4:17)
and every vessel must be at that day filled – that is, have its heavenly load of it.
All Christians have not the same enjoyment of God in this life, neither indeed were they able to bear it if they had it (1 Corinthians 3:2). But those Christians that are most laborious for God in this world, they have already most of him in their souls, and that not only because diligence in God’s ways, is the means whereby God communicates himself; but also because thereby the senses are made more strong, and able, by reason of use, to understand God, and to discern both good and evil (Hebrews 5:13, 14). To him that hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance (Matthew 13:11, 12). He that laid out his pound for his master, and gained ten therewith, he was made ruler over ten cities; but he that by his pound gained but five, he was made ruler over but five (Luke 19:16-19). Often, he that is best bred in his youth, he is best able to manage most, when he is a man, touching things of this life (Daniel 1:3, 4); but always he that is best bred, and that is most in the bosom of God, and that so acts for him here; he is the man that will be best able to enjoy most of God in the kingdom of heaven. It is observable that Paul saith,
"Our – affliction – worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" (2 Corinthians 4:17)
Our afflictions do it, not only because there is laid up a reward for the afflicted, according to the measure of affliction; but because afflictions, and so every service of God, doth make the heart more deep, more experimental, more knowing and profound; and so more able to hold, contain, and bear more (Psalm 119:71)
"Every man shall receive his own reward, according to his own labor" (1 Corinthians 3:8)
And this is the reason of such sayings as these – Lay up for yourselves a good foundation against the time to come, that you may lay hold on eternal life (1 Timothy 6:19), which eternal life, is not the matter of our justification from sin in the sight of God; for that is done freely by grace, through faith in Christ’s blood; (but here the apostle speaks of giving of alms) but it is the same that in the other place he calls "the far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." And hence it is that he in his stirring them up to be diligent in good works, doth tell them, that he doth not exhort them to it because he wanted, but because he would have
"fruit that might abound to their account" (Philippians 4:17)
as he saith also in another place,
"Beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 15:58)
Therefore I say, the reward that the saints shall have at this day for all the good they have done, it is the enjoyment of God, according to their works: though they shall be freely justified and glorified without works.
Second, As the enjoyment of God at that day, will be to the saints, according to their works and doings – I speak not now of justification from sin – so will their praise and commendations at that day, be according to the same, and both of them their degrees of glory; for I say, as God by communicating of himself unto us at that day, will thereby glorify us, so also he will for the adding all things that may furnish with glory every way, cause to be proclaimed in the face of heaven, and in the presence of all the holy angels; everything that hath for God, his ways, and people, been done by us while here we have been.
"Whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops" (Luke 12:2, 3)
Again, He that
"shall confess me," saith Christ, "before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 10:32).
Now as he of whom Christ is ashamed when he comes in his glory, and in the glory of the holy angels, will then lie under inconceivable disgrace, shame, dishonor, and contempt: so he whom Christ shall confess, own, commend, and praise at that day, must needs have very great dignity, honor, and renown, "for then shall every man have praise of God" – to wit, according to his works (1 Corinthians 4:5). Now will Christ proclaim before thee and all others what thou hast done, and what thou hast suffered, what thou hast owned, and what thou hast withstood for his name (Mark 8:38). This is he that forsook his goods, his relations, his country, and life for me: this is the man that overcame the flatteries and threats, allurements and enticings, of a whole world for me; behold him, he is an Israelite indeed (John 1:47), the top man in his generation, "none like him in all the earth" (Job 1:8). It is said, that when king Ahasuerus had understanding of how good service Mordecai the Jew had done to and for him, he commanded that the royal apparel and the crown, with the horse that the king did ride on, should be given to him, and that he should with that crown, apparel, and horse, be had through the city, in the presence of all his nobles, and that proclamation should be made before him,
"Thus shall it be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honor" (Esther 6:9-11).
Ahasuerus in this was a type to hold forth to the children of God, how kindly he will take all their labor and service of love, and how he will honor and dignify the same; as Christ saith, "Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them (Luke 12:35-57). The meaning is, that those souls that shall make it their business to honor the Lord Jesus Christ, in the day of their temptation; he will make it his business to honor and glorify them in the day of his glorification (John 12:26). "Verily, I say unto you, that he will make them sit down to meat, and shall come forth and serve them. If any man will serve me," saith he, "him will my Father honor." It hath been God’s way in this world to proclaim the acts and doings of his saints in his word before all in this world, and he will do it in that which is to come (Mark 14:9; Revelation 3:4; Revelation 14:1-6).
Third, Another thing that shall be yet added to the glory of the saints, in the kingdom of their Savior, at his coming is, they shall every one of them then have his throne and place of degree on Christ’s right hand, and on his left, in his glorious kingdom, according to the relation they stand in to Christ, as the members of his body; for as Christ will have a special eye on us, and a tender and affectionate heart, to recompense to the full every good thing that any man doth for his name in this world: so also he will have as great regard, that there be to every member of his body, the place, and state that is comely for every such member. When the mother of Zebedee’s children petitioned our Savior that he would grant to her, that her two sons might sit, the one on his right hand, and the other on his left, in his kingdom: though he did not grant to her the request for her children, yet he affirmed that there would be places of degrees and honor in heaven, saying,
"To sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father" (Matthew 20:20-23).
In the temple, there were chambers bigger and lesser, higher and lower, more inward and more outward: which chambers were types of the mansions that our Lord when he went away, told us he went to prepare for us.
"In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you" (John 14:2,3).
The foot here, shall not have the place prepared for the eye, nor yet the hand, that which is prepared for the ear, but every one shall have his own place in the body of Christ, and the glory also prepared for such a relation. Order, as it is comely in earth, so much more in the kingdom of the God of order, in heaven; where all things shall be done in their utmost perfections. Here shall Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, with the prophets, have every one his place, according to the degree of Old Testament saints. As God said to Daniel,
"Go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days" (Daniel 12:13).
And here also shall Peter, Paul, Timothy, and all other the church officers have their place, and heavenly state, according as God hath set them in the church in the New Testament. As Paul saith of the deacons, "They that have used the office of a deacon well, purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 3:13). And so of all other saints, be they here of what rank, quality, or place in the church soever, they shall have every one his state, his heavenly state, according as he standeth in the body. As he saith, seeing those members that are most feeble are necessary, to them shall be given "more abundant honor" (1 Corinthians 12:22,23). Of this heavenly order in the kingdom of Christ, when his saints are risen from the dead, was Solomon a notable type in his family, and among his servants and officers, who kept such exactness in the famous order in which he had placed all about him, that it did amaze and confound beholders. For "when the queen of Sheba had seen the wisdom of Solomon, and the house that he had built, and the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel; his cup-bearers also, and their apparel; and his ascent by which he went up into the house of the Lord, there was no more spirit in her" (2 Chronicles 9:3,4). "Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God" (Psalm 87:3). Having gone thus far, I shall now come to
 This is an awful state of delusion; to imagine that God is the author of gross things, such as worshipping a wafer, or applying to a priest to forgive sins; and that a holy God prompts them to the doing thereof, and sanctions them by his presence!! "Every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed," James 1:14. Christian, take care that you receive not any doctrine, nor conform to any practice in religion, without prayerful investigation, and a "thus saith the Lord" for its sanction. – Ed.