Joseph Stennett.

The Works of the late Reverend and Learned Mr. Joseph Stennett : in five volumes ; to which is prefix'd some account of his life (Volume 1) online

. (page 26 of 28)
Online LibraryJoseph StennettThe Works of the late Reverend and Learned Mr. Joseph Stennett : in five volumes ; to which is prefix'd some account of his life (Volume 1) → online text (page 26 of 28)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

of Canaan ; and alfo to the reft of the fab-
bath, in which God is faid to have refted
from all his works, and which was defigned
to give men reft from their ordinary toil and
labour : and therefore the words we are con-
fidering, run thus in the original. There re-
mains therefore a fahbatifm for the people of
God J i. e. a ceflation from all toil and la-

(2.) This reft fignifies a ftate of fettlement
and iecurity, in oppofition to the various
changes and vicifiitudes, the hazards and
dangers which attend good men in this life.
Thus when God promifes the people of If-

' * z Cor. $. 8.


394 A funeral fcrmon on the death

rael, that hh prefence Jhould go 'with them^
and that he ivould give them reji " ; 'tis plain,
he hereby lets them know, that whereas
they were now wandering in the defart, he
would bring them to a fettled ftate, and that
he would at length fecure them from the
inconveniences and dangers which attended
them during their pilgrimage. And when
this people were freed from the calamity of
war, 'tis faid, their land had reJi fro?n war °,
On the fame account 'tis faid of David, that
the Lord gave him reJi frojn all his enemies
round about p : and it was prophefied of So-
lomon, that he fhould be a man of reft "^ ;
that is, he {hould have a peaceful reign. To
the like purpofe the Jews are faid to have had
reft from their enemies \ after the defeat of
Haman's plot, to fignify the tranquillity and
fafety they enjoyed on that occalion.

This well agrees with the reference made
in the context to what was promifed the
Ifraelites ; namely, that after all the jour-
neys and toils of the wildernefs for forty
years, and all the wars which fhould attend
them at their entrance into the promis'd land,
they fhould at length attain a flate of fettle-
ment and fecurity. Thus good men, tho in
a ftate of pilgrimage and warfare during
their abode in this world, fhall at lafl arrive
at heaven, where there is perfed: fafety and

" E.tod. 3J. 14.

» ]o(h. 14.15. JuJg. 5.31.

p 1 Sam. 7. I.

•J I Chron. 21. 5.
' Efth. 9. 16.


Serm. IX. of Mr. John Piggotr. 395

tranquillity : tho all things here are fludua-
ting and fubjedt to change, that ftate of
glory is conftant and permanent.

And as the tribes of Ifrael were promifed
the divine protecflion, fo long as they were
fledfafi: in God's covenant ; fo that they
• fliould have no occafion to fear any invafion
from their enemies, nay, that thefe fhould
not fo much as defire their land, when all
the men were withdrawn from their fron-
tiers, which happened thrice a year, when
they were obliged to go up to Jerufalem to
worfhip : fo this might adumbrate that per-
fedl fecurity and uninterrupted tranquillity
which the righteous fhall enjoy in the hea-
venly ftate.

(3.) This term frequently fignifies joy and
pleafure, and is oppofed to a ftate of grief
and pain ; as appears by the account the
apoftle Paul gives of the future judgment,
when he fays to the ThefTalonians, It is a righ-
teous thing with God to recompenfe tribulation
to them that trouble you ; and to you^ who are
troubled^ refi with usy when the Lord Jefus
Jhall be revealed from heaven with his mighty
angels \ &c. And when the apoftle John
defcribes the miferies of thofe who fliall be .
condemned to eternal torments, he fays. They |
have no reft^ day nor night ^ \

The people of Ifrael were promifed reft,
in this fenfe, in the land of Canaan, in cafe

i 2 Their. I. 6, 7. J * Rev. 14. II.


396 A funeral fermon on the death

they were obedient to the divine laws. They
were not only to be protected from calami-
ties and dangers, fo that none fliould make
them afraid, but to fit down under their 'vines
and fig-trees ^ to enjoy health and long life,
peace and plenty " : in fhort, the confluence
of all temporal bleffings, that might give
them innocent pleafure and joy j or, to ufe
the apoftle's words on a like occafion, to
fill their hearts with food and gladnefs ^,

Laftly, Reft is often taken for complacen-
cy, content and fatisfadtion. Thus 'tis faid,
on the occafion of Noah's facrifices, The
Lord fmelled a fweet favour ^^ or, as it is in
the original, a favour of refi j to fhew his
offerings were very acceptable to God. And
this phrafe is elfewhere ufed, to fliew God's
complacency in the oblations which were
prefented him '', according to his own infti-
tution. And when the pfalmift would calm
the troubles of his mind, he thus exprefTes
himfelf. Return unto thy reft^ O my foul j for
the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee y.
As if he had faid. Return, O my foul, to
thy ufual refuge, to that content and fatif-
fadtion thou wert wont to enjoy in refigning
thyfelf to the divine condud, and in reflect-
ing on God's paft favours. Again, Refi in
the Lordj and wait patiently for him % fays

t Zech. 3. 10.

" Deu:. 28. 2— —14.

^ Afts 14. 17.

>* Gen. 8. 21.

« Numb. 2S. 2.
y Pfal. 1 16. 7.
^ pfal. 37. 7,

he J

Serm. IX. of Mr, John Piggotc. 597

he ; that is, reft fatisfied with his wife dif-
pofal of all events. And when the prophet
Zephaniah would fhew how great compla-
cency God takes in his people, he fays, 'The
Lord thy God in the mtdfi of thee is mighty ;
he will rejoice over thee with joy, he will reji
in his love^ he will joy over thee with Jing-
ing *.

Thus we have a general idea of this reft,
which not only fignifies a ceflation from toil
and labour, but a ftate of fettlement and
fecurity, and of joy and pleafure ; nay, that
fulnefs of joy, which complacency and fa-
tisfadiion denote : fo that 'tis a term very
fit to reprefent the happinefs of the heavenly

2. We are now to confider who are the
perfons that ftiall attain this reft, defigned
by this characfter. The people of God.

'Tis well known that this title was, in
antient times, given the tribes of Ifrael j and
'tis to be obfcrved, that the author of this
epiftle conftantly alludes to fuch things, and
ufes fuch terms as that nation was perfed;ly
well acquainted with. They were called the
people of God, becaufe they were feledted from
the reft of mankind to be, after a very par-
ticular manner, inftrudled in the knowledge
of the divine will, and were taken into cove-
nant with God ^. They were form'd into a
political ftate, of which God himfelf was the

« Zeph. 3. 17. I »> Deut. 4. 31 — 35.


ogS A funeral fermon on the death

king, who gave them laws both ecdefiafli-
cal and civil ; and by a long feries of mira-
cles, delivered and proted:ed them from their
enemies, fo long as they remain'd ftedfaft in
his covenant. On this account they were
called, a chofen generatio?j, a royal priejlhood,
a holy 7iatio?2, a pecidiar people ^.

Indeed they were not all Ifrael who were
of Ifrael ^^ nor all the feed of Abraham^ in
the fenfe of the gofpel, who defcended from
him according to thefiejlo ; yet were they ty-
pical reprefentatives of that holy nation^ that
kingdom of priefls^ xhiit pecidiar people, which
God determined to coUedt for himfelf out of
a degenerate world, during the ftate of the
gofpel : which wonderfully altered the face
of religion, and brought in a lively hope and
a new account of things, refining and raifing
the minds of men from carnal and earthly,
to fpiritual and heavenly objeds. Under this
pure difpenfation, they only are counted A-
brahams feed, and heirs accordijig to the pro-
mife % who imitate the father of the faith-
fid in believing the word of God, and prove
themfelves to be his children by imitating his
example : they are reckoned Ifrael ites indeed,
in whom there is no guile ; who are born fiot of
blood, nor of the will of the flejh, nor of the will
of mati, but of God ^ ; who are regenerated
by the efficacy of the holy Spirit s. Thefe

c Exod. 19.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 26 28

Online LibraryJoseph StennettThe Works of the late Reverend and Learned Mr. Joseph Stennett : in five volumes ; to which is prefix'd some account of his life (Volume 1) → online text (page 26 of 28)