Paradise Opened, or the Secrets, Mysteries, and Rarities of Divine Love, of Infinite Wisdom, and of Wonderful Counsel—Laid Open to Public View

XI. The eleventh and last plea that a believer may form up as to these ten scriptures, [Eccles. 10:9, and 12:14; Mat. 12:14, and 18:23; Luke 16:2; Romans 14:10; 2 Cor. 5:10; Heb. 9:27, and 13:17; 1 Pet. 4:5. 3] which refer to the great day of account, or to a man's particular account, may be drawn up from the consideration of the book of life, out of which all the saints shall be judged in the great day of our Lord. "Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." Revelation 20:11-15.

In the 11th verse John describes the judge with his preparation; in the 12th verse he describes the people who will be judged; and then he describes the process and sentence; and lastly, he describes the execution of the sentence, namely—the casting of the reprobates into the lake of fire, and the placing and fixing of the elect in the heavenly Jerusalem, verse 13-15.

In these five verses, you have a clear and full description of the last general judgment, as is evident by the surrounding context and series of this chapter, Rev. 20:1-3. For having spoken of the devil's last judgment, which, by Jude, is called "The judgment of the great day," Jude 6; it is in agreement, therefore, to understand this of such a judgment whereby he is judged. And, indeed, the expressions are so full, and the matter and circumstances so satisfying and convincing, that they leave no place for fears, doubts, or disputes. This scripture runs parallel with that Dan. 12:1-3, and several other places of Scripture where the day of judgment is spoken of; and let him who can, show me at what other judgment all the dead are raised and judged, and all reprobates sent to hell, and all the elect brought to heaven, and death and hell cast into the lake; all which are plainly expressed here. He shall be an Apollo to me, who can make these things which are here spoken of, to agree with any other judgment than the last judgment. Let me give a little light into this scripture, before I improve it to that purpose for which I have cited it.

"And I saw a great white throne, and him who was seated on it." This is a lively description of the last judgment, "a great throne." "Great," because it is set up for the general judgment of all, for the universal judgment of the whole world. Before this throne all the great ones of the world must stand—popes, emperors, kings, princes, nobles, judges, prelates—without their miters, crowns, scepters, royal robes, gold chains—and before this throne all other sorts and ranks of men must stand. And he who sits upon this throne is a great King, and a great God above all gods; he is "Prince of the kings of the earth, who is King of kings, and Lord of lords," [All the thrones of the kings of the earth, with Solomon's golden throne, are but petty thrones, compared to this throne; yes, they are but footstools to this throne; and therefore upon this single ground it may well be called a great throne.] Rev. 1:5, 17:14, and 19:16. Upon all which accounts this throne may well be called a great throne.

It is also called "a white throne," because of its celestial splendor and majesty, and to show the uprightness and glory of the judge. The color white in Scripture is used to represent purity and glory. Here it signifies that Christ, the judge, shall give most just and righteous judgment, free from all spot of partiality.

"From whose face the earth and the heaven fled away." The splendor and majesty of the judge is such, as neither heaven nor earth is able to behold or abide the same; how then shall the wicked be able to stand before him? Augustine says, "the judgment being finished, then shall this heaven and earth cease to be—when the new heaven and earth shall begin." For this world shall pass away by a change of things, not by an utter destruction. "The heaven and the earth shall flee away;" that is, this shape of heaven and earth shall pass away; because they shall be changed from vanity, through fire, that so they may be transformed into a much better and more beautiful estate; according to that which the apostle Peter writes, "The heaven shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements melt with heat; but we expect new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwells righteousness," 1 Pet. 3:12.

How this passing away, or perishing of heaven and earth, shall come to pass—there are divers opinions of learned men. Some think that the substance or essence itself of the world shall wholly perish and be annihilated. Others are of opinion, that only the corruptible qualities thereof shall perish and be changed, and the substance or essence remain. There shall be a renovation of all things, say most, and that only the fashion of the world, that is, the outward form and corruptible qualities, shall be destroyed; and so the earth shall be found no more as it was, but shall be made most beautiful and glorious, being to be "delivered into the glorious liberty," as far as it is capable, "of the sons of God," Romans 8:19-22; being to be freed from corruption and bondage; and with these I close. The sum of the 21st verse is, that the creature shall not be always subject to vanity, but shall have an emancipation from bondage; of the which deliverance, three things are declared;

First, Who the creature is—that is, "the world;"

Secondly, From what—from "corruption," which is a bondage;

Thirdly, Into what estate—into "the glorious liberty of the sons of God."

Some here note the time of the deliverance of the creature, namely, when the children of God shall be wholly set free; for though they have here a freedom unto righteousness, from the bondage of sin, yet they have not a freedom of glory, which is from the bondage of misery. But others take it for the state itself which shall be glorious, yet not the same with each of the children of God—but proportioned according to its kind with them; for it is most suitable to the liberty of the faithful, that as they are renewed, so also should their habitation. And as when a nobleman mourns, his servants are all clad in black; so it is for the greater glory of man, that the creatures, his servants, should in their kind partake of his glory. And whereas some say that it is deliverance enough for the creature, if it ceases to serve man, and have an end of vanity, by annihilation, I affirm, it is not enough, because this 21st verse notes, not only such deliverance, but also a further estate which it shall have after such deliverance—namely, to communicate in some degree, with the children of God in glory.

Certainly the creatures, in their kind and manner, shall be made partakers of a far better estate than they had while the world endured; because God shall fully and wholly restore the world, being fallen into corruption through the transgression and sin of mankind. And this does more plainly appear by the apostle's opposing subsequent liberty against former bondage; which, that he might more enlarge, he calls it not simply freedom or liberty—but liberty of glory, as it is in the Greek text, meaning thereby, according to the phrase and propriety of the Hebrew tongue, glorious liberty, or liberty that brings glory with it; under which term of glory, he comprises the excellent estate that they shall be in after their delivery from their former baseness and servitude.

As for those words, of the "sons of God," to which we must refer the glorious liberty before mentioned, they must be understood by a certain proportion or similitude thus; that as in that great day, and not before, God's children shall be graciously freed from all dangers and distresses of this life whatever, either in body or soul, and on the other side, made perfect partakers of eternal blessedness; so the creatures then, and not before, shall be delivered from the vanity of man, and their own corruption, and restored to a far better estate than at present they enjoy; which also may further appear by the words the apostle uses, setting glorious liberty, deliverance and freedom, against servile bondage and slavery. Chrysostom reads, for the glorious liberty of the sons of God: as if the end or final cause of their deliverance were pointed at, namely, that as God made the world for man, and for man's sin subdued it to vanity; so he would deliver it and restore it for men, even to illustrate and enlarge the glory of God's children. I could, by variety of arguments, prove that this deliverance of the creature that our apostle speaks of, shall not be by a reduction into nothing, but by an alteration into a better estate. But I must hasten to a close.

[If any shall inquire what shall be the particular properties, works, and uses of all and every creature after the last judgment, I answer, (1.) That as to these things the word is silent, and it is not safe to be wise above what is written; (2.) Here is place for that which Tertullian calls a learned ignorance.]

Verse 12, "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God." The judge, before whom all do appear, is our dear Lord Jesus, "who has the keys of hell and death in his hands," Rev. 1:18; Acts 17:30-31, and who is designed and appointed by God the Father to be the judge of the living and the dead. He has authority, and a commission under his Father's hand, to sit and act as judge. Here you see that John calls the judge absolutely God, but Christ is the judge; therefore Christ is God absolutely; and he will appear to be God in our nature in that great day.

The parties judged, who stand before the throne, are,

Generally "the dead," all who had died from Adam to the last day. He calls them "the dead," after the common law of nature, but then raised from death to life by the power of God, Eph. 2:5; Col. 2:13. He speaks not of men dead in sins and trespasses, but of such as died corporally, and now were raised up to judgment. But shall not the living then be judged? Oh, yes! "For we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ: that he may be judge of the living and the dead, and be Lord both of the dead and the living," 2 Cor. 5:10; Romans 14:9-10. Under this phrase, "the dead," are comprehended all those that then shall be found alive. By "the dead" we are to understand the living also, by an argument from the lesser. If the dead shall appear before the judgment-seat, how much more the living! But the dead alone are named, either because the number of the dead, from Adam to the last day, shall be far greater than those that shall be found alive on earth in that day, or because those who remain alive shall be accounted as dead, because "they shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye," 1 Cor. 15:52.

Secondly, He describes them from their age and condition, for the words may be understood of both "great and small," which takes in all sorts of men, tyrants, emperors, kings, princes, dukes, lords, etc., as well as subjects, vassals, slaves, beggars; rich and poor, strong and weak, bond and free, old and young. All and everyone, without exception, are to be judged; for the judgment shall be universal. No man shall be so great as to escape the same, nor none so small as to be excluded; but everyone shall have justice done him, without respect of persons, as that great apostle Paul tells us, "We must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he has done, whether it be good or bad," 2 Cor. 5:10. I am no admirer of the schoolmen's notion, who suppose that all shall be raised about the age of thirty-three, which was Christ's age; but do judge that that perfection, which consists in the conforming them to Christ's glorious body, is of another kind than to respect either age, stature, or the like.

"Stand before God," that is, brought to judgment. The guilty standing ready to be condemned, and the saints standing ready in Christ's presence to be absolved and pronounced blessed, John 3:18.

"And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works." Christ the judge being set on his throne, and having all the world before him, "the books are opened."

(1.) In the general, the books are said to be open.

(2.) Here is a special book for the elect, "The book of life was opened."

(3.) Here you have sentence passed and pronounced, according to what was written in these books, and according to their works. Here the judicial process is noted by imitation of human courts, in which the whole process is accustomed to be drawn up, and laid before the judge, from whence the judge determines for or against the person, according to the acts and proofs that lie open before him. The equity, justice, and righteousness of Christ the judge, who sits on his white throne, is set forth by a metaphor taken from human courts, where the judge pronounces sentence according to the written law, and the acts and proofs agreeing thereunto. "All things are naked and bare before him, whose eyes are as a flame of fire," Heb. 4:13; Rev. 1:14.

But to show that the judgment shall be as accurate and particular in the trial, and just and righteous in the close, as if all were registered and put on record, nothing shall escape or be mistaken in its circumstances, but all things shall be so cleared and issued beyond all doubts and disputes, as if an exact register of them had been kept and published; in all which there is a plain allusion unto the words of Daniel, speaking thus of this judgment, "The judgment was set, and the books were opened," Dan. 7:10.

We find six different BOOKS mentioned in the Scripture.

[1.] The book of NATURE. This is mentioned by David, "You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed" Psalm 139:16. ["The world," says Clemens Alexandrinus, "is the first Bible that God made for the instruction of man."] It is a metaphor from precise workmen, that do all by the book, or by a model set before them, that nothing may be deficient or done amiss. "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the skies show his handiwork." The psalmist looks upon that great volume of heaven and earth, and there reads in capital letters the prints and characters of God's glory.

In this book of nature, which is made up of three great leaves, heaven, earth, and sea, God has made himself visible, yes, legible, "even his eternal power and godhead," Romans 1:20. So that all men are left without excuse. Out of this book of nature, the poor blind heathen might have learned many choice lessons, as:

first, that they had a maker;

secondly, that this maker, being before the things made, is eternal, without beginning or ending;

thirdly, that he who made all things out of nothing, and sustained such a mass of creatures—must needs be almighty,

fourthly, the order, variety, and distinction of creatures declare his marvelous wisdom;

fifthly, in this book they might run and read the great goodness, and the admirable kindness of God to the sons of men, in making all the creatures for their good, for their service, and benefit;

sixthly and lastly, in this book they might run and read what a most excellent, what a most admirable, what a most transcendent workman God was. What are the heavens, the earth, the sea—but a sheet of royal paper, written all over with the wisdom and power of God?

Now, in the great day of account, this book shall be produced to witness against the heathen world, because they did not live up to the light which was held forth to them in this book, but crucified that light and knowledge by false ways of worship, and by their wicked practices, whereof the apostle gives you a catalogue, from verse 21st to the end of that 1st chapter of Romans. But,

[2.] Secondly, There is the book of PROVIDENCE, wherein all particulars are registered; even such particulars, as we may count trivial and inconsiderable. Mat. 10:30, "But the very hairs of your head are all numbered." And where is their number summed up? Even in the book of providence. The three Hebrew worthies were taken out of the fiery furnace, with their hairs in full number, not one of them singed, Dan. 3:27. Paul, encouraging the passengers to eat, who were in fear and danger of death, tells them that "there should not a hair fall from the head of any of them," Acts 27:34. And when Saul would have put Jonathan to death, the people told him "that there should not a hair of his head fall to the ground," 1 Sam. 14:45. Christ does not say that the hairs of your eyelids are numbered, but the hairs of your head, where there is the greatest plenty, and the least use. Though hair is the least significant part of man, yet every hair of an elect person is observed and registered down in God's books, and not one of them shall be lost. God has already booked them all down, and all to show us that special, that singular care that God takes of the smallest and least concerns of his chosen ones. God will produce this book of providence in the great day—to confute and condemn the atheists of the world, who have denied a divine providence, and whose hearts have swelled against his government of the world, "according to the counsels of his own heart." But,

[3.] Thirdly, There is the book of men's AFFLICTIONS. This some account an entire book of itself: Psalm 56:8, "You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book." God counted all those weary steps that David took in passing over those two great forests, when he fled from Saul. While David was hunted up and down like a partridge, and chased out of every bush, and had no certain dwelling-place, but driven from post to pillar, from one country to another, God was all this while a-noting down and a-numbering of his sorrows, and a-bottling up his tears, and a-booking down his sighs: "You have collected all my tears in your bottle." Not a single tear of mine is ever lost, but kept safe in God's bottle, as so much sweet water. God is said in Scripture to have a bag and a bottle: a bag for our sins, and a bottle for our tears. ("My offenses will be sealed up in a bag; you will cover over my sin." Job 14:17) And oh that we would all labor to fill his bottle with our tears of repentance, as we have filled his bag with our sins!

And certainly if the white tears of his servants be bottled up, the red tears of their blood shall not be cast away. If God treasures up the tears of the saints, much more will he remember their blood, to avenge it! And though tyrants burn the bones of the saints, yet they cannot blot out their tears and blood out of God's register: "Are they not in your book?" Are they not in your register or book of accounts, where they cannot be blotted out by any time or tyrants? That is—yes, certainly they are! You assuredly book them down, and will never forget one of them. Let the great Nimrods and oppressors of the saints look to themselves, for God books down all the afflictions, sufferings, and persecutions of his servants; and in the great day he will bring in this book, this register, to witness against them.

Ah, sinners, sinners! look to yourselves. In the great day of account, the Lord will reckon with you for every rod that he has spent upon you; he will reckon with you, not only for all your mercies, but also for all your crosses; not only for all your sweets, but also for all your bitters; not only for all your cordials, but also for all your corrosives. In this book of afflictions there is not only item for this mercy and that, but item also for this affliction and that, this sickness and that, this cross and that, this loss and that. And will not the opening of this book of the saints' afflictions and sufferings, and of sinners' afflictions and sufferings, be as the handwriting upon the wall, to all the wicked of the earth, in the great day of account? Dan. 5:5-6. Surely yes; for as they cannot answer for one mercy of ten thousand that they have enjoyed, so they cannot answer for one affliction of ten thousand that they have been exercised with. But,

[4.] Fourthly, There is the book of CONSCIENCE. "Conscience," says Philo, "is the little tribunal of the soul." Conscience is a thousand witnesses, for or against a man, "Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them." Romans 2:14-15.

Conscience is God's preacher in the heart. "Conscience has a good memory," says one. The chief butler forgot the promise that he had made to Joseph, but conscience told him of it, Gen. 41:9. "A good name acquit us among men, but it is a good conscience only that can acquit us before God," says Augustine. In this great day, the book of every man's conscience shall be opened for their conviction, wherein they shall read their guilt in legible characters; for that is a book of record, wherein men's actions are entered. And although now it be shut up close, and sinners will by no means be brought to look into it, and though many things that are written in this book seem to be so greatly obliterated and blotted, that they can hardly be read, yet in that great day of accounts God will refresh and recover the luster of those ancient writings; and sinners, in that day, shall find that conscience has an iron memory!

In the last day God will bring the book of conscience out of the rubbish, as they did the book of the law in Josiah's time; and the very laying open of this book before sinners will horrify them, and fill them with unspeakable dread and terror, and be a hell on this side hell unto them. In this book they shall find an exact account of every vain thought they have had, and of every idle word they have spoken, and of every evil action they have done; and oh, what amazement and astonishment will this fill them with!

By the books in this Rev. 20:12, Origen does understand the books of conscience, which now are hidden, not from God, but from most men; for the hidden things of the heart are not now known, but then they shall be opened, and manifested to the consciences of every sinner, so as there shall be no place, no room left for any excuse or plea. Ambrose says that the books that are here said to be opened are the books of men's consciences and God's omniscience. Oh, what dreadful accusations will every sinner be forced to read out of this book of conscience in the great day! Oh, how in that great day will all wicked men wish that they had followed the counsel of the heathen orator when he said, "A man may not depart an hair's-breadth all his life long from the dictates of a good conscience." The book of God's omniscience takes in all things past, present, and to come, as if he had kept a diary of every man's thoughts, words, and actions. But,

[5.] Fifthly, There is the book of SCRIPTURE. And of all books, this book is the most precious book. The book of the creature is but as the inventory of the goods; the book of the Scripture is the evidence, and conveyance, and assurance of all good to us. The book of Scripture is the book of the statutes and ordinances of the King of heaven, which must be opened and consulted, and by which all must be judged in the great day: James 2:12, "So speak, and so do, as those who shall be judged by the law of liberty;" that is, by the gospel of Jesus Christ, by the whole word of God, registered in the blessed Scriptures, James 1:23-25. Now the whole word of God is called the law of liberty; because thereby we are born again to a new spiritual life, and so freed from the bondage and slavery of sin and Satan. ["Let the word be president in all assemblies and judgments," says Beza. In the Nicene Council, Constantine caused the Bible to be set upon the desk as judge of all controversies. The word shall be the judge of all men's estates at last; every man shall stand or fall, according as he holds weight in the balance of the sanctuary.]

Our Lord Jesus Christ, in his proceedings in the great day of account, will judge us by the Scriptures, and pass everlasting sentence upon us according to the tenor of the Scriptures. At the great and general assize, Christ will try all causes by the word of God, and pass judgment upon all people according to the word: John 12:48, "He who rejects me, and receives not my words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day." The people that are to be judged in the great day are not believers in Christ, they are not receivers of Christ, but such as reject his person, and receive not his doctrine. "He who rejects me, and receives not my words, has one that judges him," etc.

However the rejecters of Christ may escape judgment for a time, yet they shall never be able to escape the judgment of the last day; they shall assuredly, they shall unavoidably, be judged in the last day. Though the rejecters of Christ had none to witness against them, yet the word of the Lord shall be more than a thousand witnesses against them in the great day, "The word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day." The word of the Lord is so sure and infallible a word, that Christ's sentence in the great day, when heaven and earth shall pass away, 2 Pet. 3:7, 10-12, shall proceed according to the verdict and testimony thereof, "For the word that I have spoken shall judge him in the last day." Christ will pronounce then according to what it says now; and that as well in favor of believers as against unbelievers. Look, as Christ himself is "ordained to be the judge of the living and the dead," Acts 17:31; so the word, the doctrines which he has delivered, will be the rule of all his judicial proceedings, both in acquitting the righteous, and condemning the wicked.

By the books in this Rev. 20:12, Augustine understands the books of the Old and New Testament, which shall then be opened; because, according to them, the judge will pronounce sentence: Romans 2:16, "When God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel," which promises heaven and happiness to all believers. The sentence of the last day shall be but a more manifest declaration of that judgment, that the Lord, in this life, generally has passed upon men. Heathens shall be judged by the law of nature; profligate professors by the written law, and the word preached; true believers by the gospel, which says, "He who believes shall be saved; he who believes shall not perish, but have eternal life; he who believes on the Son has everlasting life; he who believes shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death to life," Mark 16:16; John 3:15-16, 36, and 5:24. Christ shall, in the great day, give sentence according to the doctrine of the gospel, which says, "If there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man has, and not according to that he has not." Upon the credit of the word of God, if we believe, really, savingly, and repent sincerely—all our sins shall be blotted out; and a book of clean paper, in respect of sin, shall be presented to the judge. But,

[6.] Sixthly and lastly, There is a book of LIFE. Rev. 20:12, "And another book was opened, which is the book of life." The book of life is the book of all those who were elected and redeemed to life through Christ Jesus. [God neither needs nor uses books to judge by, but this is spoken after the manner of men.] This book of life contains a register of such particular persons in whose salvation, God from all eternity determined to have his mercy glorified, and for whom Christ merited faith, repentance, and perseverance, that they should repent, believe, and be finally saved. "The book of life shall be opened;" that is to say, the decrees of God will be then published and made known, which now are sealed up in his bosom and locked up in his archives. Then it will be seen whom are appointed to eternal life, for the glorifying of God's free, rich, and sovereign grace; and whom he purposed to leave in their sins, and to perish forever, for the exaltation of his justice. It is called "a book of life," not that God has need of a book, but to note the certainty of predestination—namely, that God knows all and each of the elect, even as men know a thing which, for memory's sake, they set down in writing. This book of life shall be opened in the great day, because then it shall be shown . . . who were elect—and who were reprobates; who truly believed in Christ—and who did not; who worshiped God in spirit and in truth—and who did not; who walked with God as Noah did—and who did not; who truly reverenced God—and who did not; who followed the Lamb wherever He went—and who did not; who were sincere—and who were not; who are sheep—and who are goats; who are sons of God—and who are slaves of Satan; who have mourned for their sins—and who have made a sport of sin; who preferred Christ above ten thousand worlds—and who did not; who preferred their farms, and their oxen, and their swine, yes, their very lusts—before a Savior, a Redeemer! Ezek. 9:4,6, etc.

Of this book of life you read often in Scripture: Phil. 4:3, "And I entreat you also, true yoke-fellow, help those women which labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellow-laborers, whose names are in the book of life." Vorsitus thinks it a speech taken from the custom of soldiers or cities, in which the chosen soldiers or citizens are by name written in a certain book or scroll. This book or scroll is called here "the book of life," because therein are written all the elect who are ordained to eternal life: Rev. 3:5, "He who overcomes, the same shall be clothed in white raiment, and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life." In this book of life all "the just, who live by faith," are written. The elect are certain of eternal life, they shall never perish, nor none can ever pluck them out of the Father's hand, nor out of Christ's hand, John 10:28-31.

God is said to have books metaphorically; he needs no books to help his memory; he does all things by his infinite wisdom, eternal foreknowledge, counsel, government, and judgment. But thus men cannot do; for whatever is done in their councils, cities, families, contracts, etc., for memory's sake, is set down in writing, that so, as there is occasion, they may look it over, and call to mind such things as they desire. [The holy God, by an anthropomorphism, speaks to our capacity; for he does all things without the help of books.] Mark, not to have our names blotted out of the book of life is to have them always remain therein; that is, to enjoy eternal glory; and what can the soul desire more?

The names of the elect are written in the book of life. They do not obtain salvation by chance, but were elected of God to eternal life and happiness before the foundation of the world. Now their names being once written in the book of life, they shall never, never be blotted out of that book. In the book of predestination there is not one blot to be found—the salvation of the elect is most sure and certain: Rev. 13:8, "All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast--all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world." The names of the elect are said to be written in the book of life by a usual metaphor; for we commonly write down the names of such as are dear unto us, that we may continually remember them. So God having in his eternal counsel elected some to salvation, has written their names in the book of life; as our Savior tells us, "Rejoice, because your names are written in heaven," Luke 10:20. Some understand the metaphor of the sonship of the elect; so that to be written in the book of life shows that they are heirs of glory; for we know that such are to inherit whose names are written in the last will and testament of men. Of this book of life you may further read, Rev. 17:8, 20:15, 21:27, and 22:19.

Now from this book of life, which shall be opened in the great day, when the other books shall be opened, as has been showed, every sincere Christian may form up this eleventh plea as to these ten scriptures, [Eccles. 11:9, and 12:14; Mat. 12:14, and 18:23; Luke 16:2; Romans 14:10 2 Cor. 5:10; Heb. 9:27, and 13:17; 1 Pet. 4:5; Dan. 9:24; Col. 2:14.] that refer to the great day of account, or to a man's particular account.

Most holy and blessed Lord, cast your eye upon the book of election, and there you will find my name written. Now my name being written in that book, I am exempt from all condemnation, and savingly interested in the great salvation. My name being written in the book of life, I am secured from coming into the judgment of reprobation or condemnation, John 5:14; Rev. 21:27. Jesus Christ, who has written my name in the book of life, has made up my accounts for me; he has satisfied your justice, and pacified your wrath, and borne my curse, and purchased my pardon, and put upon me an everlasting righteousness. He has crossed out the black lines of my sins—with the red lines of his blood; he has cancelled all the bonds wherein I stood obliged to divine justice. I further plead, O blessed Lord, that there is an immutable connection between being written in this book of life and the obtaining of eternal life; and if the connection between being written in this book of life and the obtaining of eternal life were not commanding, what reason could there be of opening this book in the day of judgment? The book of life is a book of sovereign grace, upon which lies the weight of my salvation, my happiness, my all; and therefore by that book I desire to stand or fall."

"Well," says the Lord, I cannot but accept of this plea as holy, honorable, just, and righteous; and therefore enter into the joy of your Lord, inherit the kingdom prepared for you!" Mat. 25:21, 34.

Thus, by divine assistance, and by a special and a gracious hand of providence upon me—I have finished those select and important cases of conscience which I designed to speak to.