The godly man whose corrupt nature is renewed by grace in Christ and become a new creature, is blessed in a threefold respect -- First, in his life; Secondly, in his death; Thirdly, after death.
I. His blessedness during his life is but in part, and that consists in seven things: --
1. Because he is conceived of the Spirit (John iii.5), and is born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (John i.13), who in Christ is his Father (Gal. iv.6, 7; 2 Cor. ix.8:) so that the image of God his Father is renewed in him every day more and more (Ephesians 4:2,3,13; Col. iii.10.)
2. He has, for the merits of Christ's sufferings, all his sins, original and actual, with the guilt and punishment belonging to them (Rom. iv.8, 25; viii.1, 2; 1 Pet. ii.24), freely and fully forgiven him; and all the righteousness of Christ as freely and fully imputed to him (Rom. iv.5, 19;) and so God is reconciled to him (2 Cor. v.19;) and approveth him as righteous in his sight and account (Rom. viii.33, 34.)
3. He is freed from Satan's bondage (Act. xvi.18; Eph. ii.2), and is made a brother of Christ (John xx.17; Rom. viii.20), a fellow-heir of his heavenly kingdom (Rom. viii.17), and a spiritual king and priest (Rev. i.6), to offer up spiritual sacrifices to God by Jesus Christ (1 Pet. ii.5; Mal. iii.17.)
4. God spareth him as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. And this sparing consists in,
(1.) Not taking notice of every fault, but bearing with his infirmities (Exod. xxxiv.6, 7.) A loving father will not cast his child out of doors in his sickness.
(2.) Not making his punishment, when he is chastened, as great as his deserts (Psal. ciii.10.)
(3.) Chastening him moderately when he seeth that he will not by any other means be reclaimed (2 Sam. vii.14, 15; 1 Cor. xi.32.)
(4.) Graciously accepting his endeavours, notwithstanding the imperfection of his obedience; and so preferring the willingness of his mind before the worthiness of his work (2 Cor. viii.12.)
(5.) Turning the curses which he deserved to crosses and fatherly corrections; yea, all things, all calamities of this life, death itself, yea, his very sins, to his good (Rom. viii.28; Psal. lxxxix.31, 33; cxix.71; Heb. xii.10; 2 Cor. xii.7; 1 Cor. xv.54, 55; Hebrews 2:14,15; Luke xxii.31, 32; Psal. li.13, 14; Rom. v.20, 21.)
5. God gives him his Holy Spirit, which,
(1.) Sanctifies him by degrees throughout (1 Thess. v.23), so that he more and more dies to sin and lives to righteousness (Rom. viii.5, 10.)
(2.) Assures him of his adoption, and that he is by grace the child of God (Rom. viii.16.)
(3.) Encourages him to come with boldness and confidence into the presence of God (Heb. iv.16; Eph. iii.12.)
(4.) Moves him without fear to say unto him, Abba, Father (Gal. iv 6; Rom. viii.15, 16.)
(5.) Pours into his heart the gift of sanctified prayer.
(6.) Persuades him that both he and his prayers are accepted and heard of God, for Christ his mediator's sake.
(7.) Fills him with, 1st, Peace of conscience (Rom. v.1; xiv.17;) 2d, Joy in the Holy Ghost (Rom. xiv.17:) in comparison whereof all earthly joys seem vain and vile to him.
6. He has a recovery of his sovereignty over the creatures (Psal. viii.5, &c.; Heb. ii.7, 8), which he lost by Adam's fall; and from thence free liberty (Rom. xiv.14; 1 Tim. iv.2, &c.) of using all things which God hath not restrained (1 Cor. ix.19, 20), so that he may use them with a good conscience (1 Cor. iii.22, 32; Heb. i.7.) For to all things in heaven and earth he hath a sure title in this life (1 Cor. iii.22;) and he shall have the plenary and peaceable possession of them in the life to come (Matt. xxv.34; 1 Pet. i.4.) Hence it is that all reprobates are but usurpers of all that they possess, and have no place of their own but hell (Acts i.25.)
7. He has the assurance of God's fatherly care and protection day and night over him; which care consists in three things:
(1.) In providing all things necessary for his soul and body, concerning this life (Matt. vi.32; 2 Cor. xii.14; Psal. xxiii; xxxiv.9, 10), and that which is to come; so that he shall be sure ever either to have enough, or patience to be content with that he hath.
(2.) In that God gives his holy angels, as ministers, a charge to attend upon him always for his good (Heb. i.14; Psal. xxxiv.7; xci.11;) yea, in danger to pitch their tents about him for his safety wherever he be: yea, God's protection shall defend him as a cloud by day, and as a pillar of fire by night (Isa. iv.5;) and his providence shall hedge him from the power of the devil (Job i.10.)
(3.) In that the eyes of the Lord are upon him, and his ears continually open, to see his state (Psal. xxxiv.15; Gen. vii.1), and to hear his complaint, and in his good time to deliver him out of all his troubles (Psal. xxxiv.19.)
Thus far of the blessed state of the godly and regenerate man in this life: Now of his blessed state in death,