"Joy," and "great Joy," and "exceeding great joy!" What is the matter? Truly, no great matter, one would think only a star appearing. Who is it then that are so much rejoiced at it? May we not call their wisdom into question--their joy into dispute? For the men, they were "wise men," I can tell you--wise men from the East, great wise men; and for their rejoicing, it is the wisest action they ever did, because it was the best sight they ever saw, the luckiest aspect they ever beheld in heaven; the happiest star, that thus led them out of the region of darkness into the land of light, that thus conducted them to Christ's abode and presence: the greatest reason in the world to be glad at.
Ye hear much talk of a late star or cornet, and much ado about it, but no "great joy," as I can hear. It comes, they tell us, upon a sad errand, is sent to us with heavy tidings no such but is, that I believe; though I have no confidence of their wisdom, that pretend to tell us its intent and business. But those "they" in the text, I know were truly wise, because the letter tells us so; especially guided and directed into the knowledge and meaning of the star they are so glad at. And the star comes with the best news [288/289] that ever came; is but a ray of the Star of Jacob; the morning star to usher in the Sun of Righteousness, or our usher to him. Other stars do commonly but befool their students, delude their observers, and make them sad: this makes us wise, and glad, and glad to salvation too. The other too often tend from Christ, cause men to forget him, take away the faith and trust that is due to him, to put it to a wandering planet, its aspect and position: this brings us to him--brings us to Jesus and his holy habitation. And because it does so, we will look upon it and be glad, follow it and be "exceeding" glad.
For to us still the "star" shines, and we may see it in the Spirit, in the spiritual sense and meaning; and, indeed, that is time best, the only seeing. The eye of sense could not in these Magi, that saw it then in being, cannot in us, that see it now only in the notion, work the joy the text expresses. There was an inward light that made the outward theme so comfortable; the mere light of a star, though never so glorious, could never else have done it, cannot now, if it should appear again. It was some internal light and reve-lation then concerning it made them so glad, will make us as glad as they, if we so look upon it as well as they. And they and we are but the same, of the same stock and kin, Gentiles both, both equally concerned in the "star" and in the joy; they only the first-fruits, we the lump; they saw it in the heavens, we see it in the word; a thing as clear and firm, every iwta of it, as the heavens, and we as much reason as they had to be glad.
So both the sum and division of the text will be compre-hended in these two particulars: the ground of their joy and ours, and the extent of it. The ground and occasion of their joy and ours, what they did then, what we are still to rejoice in. "When they saw the star they rejoiced;" when we see it, we must do so too.
The extent and measure of this rejoicing, both theirs and ours; joy in the positive; great it was, if compared with other joy, above other joy, in the comparative; and exceeding great joy, the greatest joy in the superlative, as high as may be: "They rejoiced with exceeding great joy."
The "star,"--any star or light that leads unto Christ,--is [289/290 a just occasion and ground of joy; and when such an one we have, when such an one we see, we cannot be too glad, we cannot exceed, though it be exceeding. This the sum, these the particulars of the text. I begin with the ground of our joy and theirs, that we may rejoice the more, that our joy may be the greater when we see how great the ground is--that their joy was not for nothing; nor will ours be, if it be for nothing but what theirs was.
Yet before we enter upon either, it is requisite we consider the persons, look upon them before we look upon the "star;" that we may see how this "they" may become "we;" how we are interested either to look or rejoice with them.
The first verse tells us who they were: "wise men from the East." Four points we may have thence, and all so many grounds of joy.
1. Gentiles they were: and that to them "a door is opened" unto life,--that "to them that sat in darkness and the shadow of death, light is here sprung up," is a good ground of joy: to such the light is comfortable. And to us also upon the same account; for "we were Gentiles," nay, and "darkness" too. Good reason to rejoice, that now we are not, that we are come into the light.
2. If Gentiles, then sinners, too. I know not then who can be out; for if Heaven, notwithstanding our sin and wickedness, vouchsafe so to look upon us, nor they nor we, nobody sure, but must needs be glad.
3. Great men they were; foretold in the Psalm under the notion of "the kings of Arabia and Saba bringing gifts." This is more cause of joy than you would think at first. S. Paul's "Not many noble, not many mighty are called," were enough to startle and amaze the rich and great men of the world; and, "how hard is it for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven!"--our Saviour's words--might very well trouble us, spoil all our mirth, all our joys, but for this, that the Magi, great princes, and rich and honourable, have an interest in Christ's star, for all that, as well as any.
4. They were learned too. Magi, "wise men," is the name the story gives them. And the Apostle's "not many wise, not many learned," again might well amaze us, and [290/291] make us more than sad, but for this "they,"--that such as they are not yet such but that they may come one day to see stars under them, and in the mean time have their part and portion in the "star" that leads to Christ. A sound cause of joy,--that however the new lights count of princes and great and learned men, as enemies to Him whose this "star" was, yet this "star" shines to them too, them before any was lighted up for them above all the rest. Shepherds, and women, and ignorant people are not to be taught or led by stars; they understand not their voice and language; that is for the wise and learned, to guide them. Mean and ordinary capacities must have other ways, other guides and lanterns to lead then to Christ.
Thus, from the persons we have four grounds of the great joy we hear,--that neither heathen ignorance, nor heathen learning, nor honour, nor greatness neither great tempta-tions nor great sinfulness, no condition or quality, how sad or cumbersome--but this "star" rises for, and is ready--to attend into the presence of Christ; all may have a portion in the "star" and in the "joy." And good reason we have to rejoice for ourselves and our relations, that no persons or condition is debarred it.
Proceed we yet deeper into the grounds of this joy. Three there are that they we speak of saw:--(1.) Saw somewhat to speak of; (2.) Saw the star; (3.) Saw it at that time, when they were even at a loss, had but a while before quite lost the sight; that is, " when they saw" it, the time when they saw it in.
(1.) The first point is, that see they did; and a point worth noting, that notwithstanding their great distance from Judea--the only nation that then sat in light, that had the knowledge of his laws--these yet came seeing; that God hath some particular persons all the world over, to whom he hath given eyes to see him. No nation, indeed, no whole people but the Jews, were seeing; yet Job in Uz, and Jethro in Midian, and Rahab in Jericho, and Ruth in Moab, and Ittai in Gath, and the Queen in Sheba, and the widow in Sarepta, and Naaman in Syria,--some in every nation, that could see the light of heaven and rejoice in it.
Corporal sight, then, of the eye is one of the greatest [291/292] temporal comforts our life is capable of; we lose the chiefest of joy and pleasure of a mortal life, when we are deprived of that. It is worth rejoicing, then, worthy rejoicing in the Lord too, that that we have; that we can see, that we are not blind.
But there is a spiritual and immaterial eye, and seeing with it--the eye of faith, and our believing by it-that is far beyond the bodily sight and seeing; it is that by which "we live;" it is that only by which we truly see heaven, or behold stars; that is a great ground of joy.
Especially if we add hope to it, the other eye of the Spirit, that pierceth within the veil, that sees all the joys and pleasures of beatitude with affection and delight; that does, as it were, bring heaven home into not our eyes only but our bosoms. The hope of heaven, and heaven's happiness, how glad and jocund will it make the heart! more than when the corn and wine and oil increase; a better sight by it, than all the riches and pleasures of the earth, all the profit and assistance of it, all the beauties and glory of it, can afford us.
This sight of hope, and that of faith, were they the "wise men" had. It was thus they "saw the star;" believed it was the star of the Messias, the only guide to their new-born Saviour, their convoy to him; and that such an one there was, they should come to by and by; this they saw by the eye of faith. Thereupon they proceed to hope, to see their hopes also in him; hope ere long to be admitted to the sight and service of him; hope this star will now bring even them to its Master, and give them a place hereafter with him among the stars, that they may one play shine in glory like them.
Thus you see videntes will easily enough be brought home to us. We, even at this day, thus see the "star" by the two eyes of faith and hope; believe what here they saw, that such a thing there was--a star lighted upon purpose to lead the Gentiles to Christ; hope what here they felt within them, some spiritual ray and guidance to him; both believe and hope that as an outward visible star there was to them, so an inward and invisible star still there will be to us, by the light of which we may all come to the knowledge of [292/293] Christ. We are next to see it what it is; what it is to them, what it is to us; how this "star" looks to them, how it looks to us.
(2.) To then this star was a material star; to us it is a spiritual; and both bring their "joy" with them. The Psalmist seems to be ravished with joy upon the sight of the stars of heaven, when he considered the " heavens, the works of God's fingers, the moon and the stars that he had ordained." Then, in a kind of ecstasy, he cries out, "Lord, what is man, that thou art mindful of him"--that thou thus spanglest the heavens with stars for him--that thou thus visitest him by the stars? Methinks the very beholding of that golden canopy, now our covering, hereafter to be our footstool--the casting up of our eyes to heaven in a bright starry night, and considering that all those glorious lamps are for the use of men poor men here, and for our glory too hereafter--cannot but raise a sweet delight and pleasure in the devout and pious soul, and force out an ejaculation of thankfulness and joy to God that made then for us. Sure I am, that when "neither sun nor stars appeared," it follows presently that "all hope of being saved was then taken away." Oh the joy of a star then!--the appearing of a star would have made them then have leaped for joy. We see them commonly that makes us so little to regard them. If we behold them seriously, we would "sing together" with then, as Job says they do together; and "praise him" together, as the Psalmist speaks, with those "stars of light."
But yet if we should have a star made on purpose for us, we would be gladder; that God should descend to so imme-diate and special a care of us, as to light up one of those bright candles for some particular intent and service to us and such an one this is; great reason therefore, sure, to rejoice in it. So much the more, in that commonly the new raised stars portend mischiefs and misfortunes to us; but this was, as all the astrologers and wise rues then observed, a healthsome, gladsome star, that brought health and hap-piness and saving in its wings; never any such or like it, before or since. When God thus vouchsafes to make heaven dance attendance on us, make all the stars and lights speak good to us, some of them more than others--those heavenly [293/294] creatures thus wait upon earth and dust--who is now so dull and earthy as not to rejoice and glory in it? Yet, if the star not only portend happiness, but eternal happiness besides--if it foretel not only earthly but heavenly blessings too-if it be a star that leaves us not till it have brought us to the child Jesus, till it hath brought us to God himself, there is matter indeed of great, "exceeding" joy. So a four-fold ground of joy--you have in this very "star:"--First, God's general providence over man; to make even the heavenly creatures serve him. Secondly, God's special providence in it; now and then sending a "star," some special token, to forewarn or guide him. Thirdly, God's comfortable provi-dence in so doing; sometimes to bless and comfort us, to uphold and cheer us. Fourthly, God's saying providence; thins to make all things, though never so distant from us, signally instrumental to our eternal happiness and salvation; making the stars and heavens thus minister unto us. For these four we may well take up S. Paul's resolution, "We therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice."
And yet I must give you a fifth ray of this "star," God's particular providence over the Gentiles, "strangers from the covenant of promise," "aliens from the commonwealth of Israel," men without promise, "without hope;" that had neither promise, nor hope of mercy: that to them this "star" should appear, for them be made and sent, is such a ground of joy--to us, that are of the same stock and lineage, that without it we had had no joy at all, whoever had. It is upon this title we have our share in this happy "star;" upon this particular dispensation of thus gathering the Gentiles to him by it, as by a standard or ensign for them to flow in unto him, as the Prophet phrases it. This is the fifth ray of the material star: and it may go for a sixth, that the Gentiles, not them only but even to this day, still enjoy the benefit of that "star;" have oftentimes material and sensible convoys unto Christ; are often, by the things of sense, by sensible blessings, drawn and persuaded to his service. Thus you have the six rays of the "star," six comfortable rays to ground our joys upon, in the material star.
We come now to the mystical or spiritual--those stars and lights which yet remain, even to this day, to guide us to the [294/295] same Jesus. For more than one there is of this sort, and all sufficient grounds of "joy."
The first sort of stars are devout and holy men, shining, as Daniel represents them, "like the stars." Stars they are in this world whilst they live; "burning and shining lights," the very light and life and glory of the earth, while they are upon it; and stars they dull be in the heavens when they come thither. Here they go before us with the light of good examples to lead us to Christ and his righteous-ness, to all holy and heavenly conversation; and for it they shall one day shine "as stars for ever and ever." A ground of joy it is to us, that this "star" we have; that such guides we have, by whose examples to conform ourselves to the obedience of Christ, in whose light to walk to him.
A second sort of stars are the bishops and pastors of the Church. For, however men now reckon them, or how-ever now much darkened in their heaven, in this our Church, in our hemisphere, "stars" they are in the hand of Christ, in his "right hand" too: the vision so interpreted; the "seven stars," the "seven angels of the churches;" the Church itself crowned with " twelve" such "stars," the twelve Apostles. All crowned Churches, all that are complete and perfect, are crowned with such "stars," with bishops, pastors, and teachers. And a solid ground of joy it is, that we have such stars to guide and direct us into the knowledge of Christ, into the ways and means of salvation. Let heretics and schismatics think their pleasure, an exceeding joy it is to all that either understand religion or practise it, that God still allows us the glory of these stars, though "one differing in glory from another;" that he hath not yet totally darkened our heaven upon us, nor removed our true, lawful, and faithful pastors clean away; that we wander not from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east; that we run not to and fro to seek the word of God, to see a "star," and cannot find it, but have them yet standing over us and directing us. It will be a thousand to one but we miss of Christ when we lose this star; a thousand to one that we go into the wrong house instead of his, when we lose our bishops and teachers: the days we now see tell us so already. For his house being undoubtedly the Church,--and the Church [295/296] and but by the light and brightness of successive bishops and ministers, who are the Church's glory, and its crown and joy--nothing but sad and giddy errors can be expected where they are not.
A third star is the word of God:--and there, first, "the sure word of prophecy," "a light," as S. Peter styles it, "shining in a dark place," to which he tells us "we do well if we take heed." Then, secondly, the sure promises of the gospel of grace and truth and pardon; the comfortable and glorious light by which we are led to the knowledge of Christ: full glad and merry with the hopes of such pardon and forgiveness, of such grace and favour.
A fourth star is inward grace, the light of the Holy Spirit, by which we are not only led to the place of this new-born Child, but this itself even new-born in us. This is a star that rises in the very heart, the "Day-star" rising there; without which we should sit in perpetual shades, the day never dawn upon us. All the former stars, good examples and instructions, and spiritual predictions and promises, pastors and teachers, can teach little without this star. S. Paul may plant, and Apollos water, and no increase: the preachers speak and preach into the air, nothing stay behind; good example be spilt as water on the ground; divine prophecies and promises only strike the outward ear; to little purpose all of them together, unless the Spirit speak within, and warm and lighten the soul with its fiery tongue, and comfort it with inward light and heat.
Hence is the "joy" that is " unspeakable and full of glory," which the Apostle speaks of.
A fifth star, which is heavenly glory: a bright morning star it is, that Christ romises to "give" him that continues and holds out "unto the end." "I will give him the morning star," that is, eternal life, the star of glory. This is a star will show us Christ as he is; bring us to him, not in his cradle but in his throne, not in his mother's lap but in his Father's bosom; a star that will lead us, both here and hereafter, to his presence. Here great star that most surely brings us, and most effectually persuades to Christ and Christian piety, is the hope of heaven, the promise of glory. In the strength of this hope we suffer any thing for [296/297] him: we hunger and thirst, endure cold and nakedness, poverty and scorn, whips and fetters, halters and hatchets, racks and tortures, ignominy and death, whilst this star seems to open heaven unto us; thus it brings us to him here, and hereafter it fills us with the beatifical vision of him for ever. I need not tell you this is a very sufficient ground of the greatest "joy," itself being almost nothing else.
And yet there is a sixth star, the star that as foretold should "come out of Jacob." "I am the bright morning star." "I" Jesus, says he himself, "am the root and offspring of David, and the bright and morning star." He the star that leads us to himself: his own beauty, the great attractive to him; his mercy, the sure convoy to himself; his humility, his being the root, so low and humble, the conduct to his highness; his incarnation and nativity, his becoming the offspring and son of David, being made man, the only way above all to bring us unto himself. Here is the ground, the very ground indeed of all our joy and comfort, that He thus "came into the world to save sinners'" thus clouded his eternal brightness, his starry nature, his glorious Godhead, with the dark rays of flesh and matter; appearing at best but as a sublunary star, the Doctor and Bishop of our souls, that we might so the easier come under him and be comforted, not confounded, in his brightness.
Thus we have multiplied the star in the text, by the perspective of the Spirit, into six; or showed you the six spiritual rays which issue from it; which reach to us, and even shine (God be thanked) still, though that be gone, or shut up in the treasuries of the Almighty. All of these signal grounds of true Christian joy:--good examples--good teachers--a good word of God--the good Spirit of grace the good hope of glory--the good of goods, our good and gracious Saviour; so good stars, and so good occasion of rejoicing, that there can be no better.
(3.) And yet a degree may be added, from the third con-siderations of the time when this star appeared. Indeed, it had long before this day been seen; had led the wise even all the way, comforted and cheered them up all their long journey through; only at Jerusalem, there it left them; there, where one would think the star should shine the [297/298] brightest. But, (i) what need starlight, when the Sun of Righteousness is so near? Or, what (ii.) should need a type, when the substance was so hard by? Or, what necessity of a star, when they were now in a surer and brighter light, so says S. Peter; the law and prophets at hand to point out him they sought? Or, how (iv.) should we expect any special favour from the God of heaven, while we stay in Herod's courts, in Satan's territories, in wicked company? Or, why (v.) should we think the star should stay upon us when we leave it?--that God should help us when we, as it were, renounce his direction to enquire for men's-go to the Jews and Herod for it? how should we but lose God's grace, if we neglect it?
(i.) It is the great ground here, then, of their rejoicing, that after they had lost it, they here recover it; that they are now got out of Herod's court, a place of sin and darkness, and are now refreshed again with the heavenly light. No joy in the world like that of recovering heaven when it is almost lost; no joy to the woman's, for finding again the groat that she had lost; no rejoicing like the shepherd's, for the lost sheep when he has found it. The joy reacheth up to heaven, says Christ; the very angels rejoice at it when a sinner is returned from the error of his way, when God lights anew this star to him. Truly, when we have lost any of the afore-mentioned stars, and afterwards recover them--whether they be the examples of the saints, that have unluckily slipped out of our memories; or our bishops and pastors, that have been forced or driven from us; or the truth of the holy word, which false glosses and corrupt interpretations have hidden from us; or the inward comforts of the Spirit, which our sins have for sonic time robbed us of; or the true relish of heavenly joy and eternal happiness, which hath awhile been lost by reason of our delighting ourselves wholly in sensual pleasures or employments; or, lastly, the beauty of this Holy Child, which has been some-what clouded from us through our weakness and infirmity in apprehending it;--whichsoever of them it is that we have first lost, and then recovered;--when we either recover our memories, or our ministers, or the truth, or the Holy Spirit, or the sight of heaven, or the beauty of Christ into us,--the [298/299] joy is fair greater than it was at the beginning; carendo magis quam fruendo intelligimus because we never thoroughly understand the comfort and benefit of any of them, till we see the distress we are in without them.
And (ii.) their seeing the star again when they were, as it were, in most distress, and when they were more like to be at a greater loss than ever amongst the cottages of Bethlehem, like utterly to be confounded by the horror of poverty, and the sight of nothing but unkingly furnitures,---this it was that so raised their joy. And it will do ours at any time, to have help and succour come timely to us, to be delivered and raised in the midst of distresses and despair. It is the very nick of time to enhance a joy.
It is not less, neither (iii.), to creatures confounded of flesh and blood, to have even some sensible comforts renewed to stir us up. To see a star, to behold comfort with our eyes, to have the inward comfort augmented by the outward,--to he led to Christ by a star, by prosperities and blessings, rather than a cloud, by crosses and distresses,--this is more welcome, more gladsome to the heart: and so it seems to the wise men themselves, that God, though he had given them inward guidances, and backed them with prophetical instructions out of his own word and prophets, had hoot yet deserted them of his outward assistance, but even added that also to all the former. Now, then, thus to have star upon star, material and mystical, time after time, when we most desire it, when we greatliest need it,--to want no guide, no opportunity, no occasion at all to advance our happiness and salvation,--how can we but, with them in the text, rejoice how, and that with "exceeding great joy?" Three degrees, you see, are apparent in the words, all to be spent upon the star that leads to Christ. We can never be too glad of him, or of his star--any conduct or occasion to come to him: "joy," and "great joy," and "exceeding great joy" is but sufficient.
(1.) Nor is any joy but spiritual, that which is for Christ, really capable of those degrees: that only is truly called joy. The joy in Christ only dilates the heart: all other joys straiten and distress it, fill it up with dirt and rubbish; worldly joys can never fill it otherwise. It is only then [299/300] enlarged when it opens up to heaven; earthly comforts do but fetter and compress it.
That joy (2) is only "great." Earthly ones are petty and inconsiderable, for petty things; heaven only hath great things in it; Christ the only Great One.
That only (3) is "exceeding." That is the joy that passes understanding, that exceeds all other, that exceeds all measure, that exceeds all power-none can take it from us; that exceeds all words and expression too; no tongue what-ever can express it. So you see our joy, that a spiritual joy it 1s, because so "great," so "exceeding."
Yet, being so exceeding, it will exceed also the narrow compass of the inward man, will issue out also into the outward, into the tongue and head. Joy is the dilatation, the opening of the heart, and sending out the spirits into all the parts. And if this joy we have, it will open our hearts to praise Him; open our hearts to heaven to receive its influence; open our hearts to our needy brother, to corn-passionate and relieve him; it will send out life, and heat, and spirit into all our powers--into our lips, to sing unto him, into our fingers, to play to him, into our feet, even to leap for joy; into our eves, perpetually to gaze upon him; into our hands, to open them for his sake plentifully to the poor; into the whole body, to devote it wholly to his service. This is the wise men's joy, "great" and "exceeding." Give me leave to fit it to the parts, to apply the joy to the several grounds: gaudium to videntes, magnum to stellam, valde to the autem of the text. They saw, and so rejoiced with joy they saw the star, and so rejoiced with great joy when they saw it: saw it so opportunely, they rejoiced with exceeding joy.
Let us then (1) rejoice with them with a single joy for both the seers and their seeing; make it our joy, that neither our ignorances nor our sins can keep us always from Christ's presence; that our riches and honours, our learning and wisdom, may rather help than hinder us in the search of Jesus Christ. And rejoice we then again, that God hath given us eyes and sight, to see the ways and means of salva-tion. This will at least deserve our joy in the positive degree.
But the star, or stars, we mentioned, will add this magnum [300/301] to it. Let us then (2) rejoice greatly, or with "great joy," that God thus vouchsafes to lead us to his Son both by outward and inward means; that he hath given us so many lights of good examples to walk by; that He hath lighted up his stars, pastors and teachers in the Church, to direct and guide us; that he continues to us the light and brightness of his truth; that he enlightens us daily inwardly by his grace; that he fills our hearts with hopes of glory; that he is ready more and more to show us Christ in all his beauty, to give him to us with all his benefits, to bring us to him in all his glory. "Great joy" is but little enough, cer-tainly, for such great things as these.
And (3) " exceeding" it must and will be, if we but con-sider the time when such great things are done, or doing, for us. It is when we had in a manner diverted from him, guns aside out of our way, left his "star" for Herod. For God then to renew his mercy to us, to shine upon us in his former beauty, to point us even to the very house and place to find Christ in; to do it then, when we had wilfully de-parted from his conduct, is so "exceeding" a grace and favour, that no joy of ours, be it never so "exceeding," can exceed it.
And if the wise men, for the direction of that single "star," were so extremely affected with joy and gladness, how infi-nitely should we be for so many! Alas, they saw nothing then in comparison of us. The Child was then but in rags and swaddling clothes; lie is now in robes of glory: he was then lying in an earthly cottage; he is now sitting in an heavenly palace. All the ways of salvation were then but mysteries; they are now revealed. Salvation then was but in its clouts; it is now in its perfection. They saw Christ but once; we daily see him" see him and all his stars; see him amidst his stars, walking with some of them in his hands-the stars or angels of the Churches, amongst other of them his saints, with them in glory; creating stars daily in our hearts; shining to us every day in his word and sacraments, there opening his glory unto us, and us a door into it; and all the while the material stars even under his feet.
Seeing all these so much above what they here saw, our joy should be much above what they rejoiced with. But [301/302] theirs being "exceeding," ours can be no more, when we have said all we can. And that it may be so, I shall only tell you, it must exceed the joy we take in earthly things: we must more rejoice in Christ and in his "star," than all the world besides; more in the holiness of a saint, than in the highness of a prince; more in a faithful pastor, than in ally worldly counsellor; more in the word of God, than in all the writings of men; much more in the history of Christ, than in all the romances and histories of the earth; more in the promises of the Gospel, than in the promises of all earthly pleasures and felicities; more in the inward work of grace and the inward comforts of the Spirit, than any sensual satisfactions and contentments; more in the meditation of heaven and hea-venly glory, than in all the glories of the world; more in Christ, than in all things or hopes together : it must exceed them all.
And when it so exceeds, it will bring us to an exceeding high condition; make us exceed in grace, exceed in glory; do great and wonderful things by the power of grace to express our thankfulness, and bring us by it to the reward of exceeding glory: where we shall need no more stars to guide us, nor sun or moon to give us light; but this Eternal Light now pointed at by the star shall give us light both day and night; shall fill us with joy such as neither heart can imagine nor tongue express, that exceeds all we can speak or think; give us joy for joy, great for great, exceeding for exceeding, in his blessed light and presence for evermore.