Then said he to me, See you do it not: for I am your fellow servant, and of your brothers the prophets…
I. THE MOTION. "Enter in." They are blessed that enter in. Perseverance only makes happy. Some came into the vineyard in the morning, some at noon, others later; none received the penny but they that stayed till night. Indeed, this grace perfects all graces. We believe in vain if our faith hold not out to the end. We love in vain if our charity grow cold at last. We pray in vain if our zeal grows faint. We strive in vain at the strait gate if not till we enter. Man is naturally like a horse that loveth short journeys; and there are few that hold out. Whence it comes that the last are often first, and the first last. But he that at every step looks at every stop, and numbers his perils with his paces, either turns aside faintly, or turns back cowardly. Thou walkest every day little or much. Continue this walk forward thy way, and a few days shall bring thee to Olympus. Every day every man takes some pains; let him bestow that measure of pains in travelling to heaven; and the further he goes the more heart he gets, till at last he "enter through the gates into the city."
II. THE MANNER. "Through the gates." Not singularly a gate, but gates. For Revelation 21:12 the city is said to have twelve gates. "On the east three gates," etc. To declare that men shall come from all the corners of the world: "from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God." These gates are not literally to be understood, but mystically, for the manner of entrance. The gates are those passages whereby we must enter this city. Heaven is often said to have a gate (Matthew 7:13; Psalm 24:7; Genesis 28:17). There must be gates to a city. Doing the commandments is the way to have right in the tree of life. Obedience and sanctification is the gate to this city of salutation. The temple had a gate called Beautiful (Acts 3.). But of poor beauty in regard of this gate. Of the gates of the sanctuary spake David in diverse Psalms, with love and joy. "Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise." These are holy gates; let every one pray with that royal prophet, "Open to me the gates of righteousness; I will go into them, and I will praise the Lord. This is the gate of the Lord, into which the righteous shall enter." In brief, we may distinguish the gates leading to this city into two — Adoption and Sanctification. Both these meet in Christ, who is the only Gate or Door whereby we enter heaven.
III. THE CITY.
1. The situation. " It is placed above" (Galatians 4:26). "Heaven is in excelsis (Psalm 87:1).
2. The society. The King that rules there is one Almighty God in three distinct persons. He made this city for Himself (Psalm 16:11). And we have three happy privileges of citizens.
(1) Freedom from the law. Not from obedience to it, but from the curse of it.
(2) The King's protection (Psalm 91:4, 11). Our dangers are many in some places, and some in all places. We have God's own guard royal to keep us (Hebrews 1:14).
(3) The defensive protection of the Law. Christ is our Advocate.
3. The glory. Heaven shall make them that enter it like itself — glorious. As the air by the sun's brightness is transformed bright. How great is that blessedness, where shall be no evil present, no good absent! This is a blessed city.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.