The advantage of godliness in respect of the life to come

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If we shall consider beside all this, the advantage of godliness in respect of the life to come, here we turn into an ocean where words are swallowed up. Eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive it [1 Cor. 2:9; Isa. 64:4]. The greatness of the privilege and advantage of the godly being set apart for God himself [Ps. 4:3], will clearly and conspicuously appear at that great and notable day of the Lord, when all the world will be ranked on the right and left hand of the Judge [Matt. 25:33]. Who {do you} think will get the honor of the right-hand that day? Who but the godly; such as have been suitably exercised in the practice of the common duties of Christianity? When I was hungry (says he), ye fed me, when I was naked ye clothed me, when I was a stranger, ye took me in, etc. [Matt. 25:35]. Is it possible to conceive to the full, or near to the full, what advantage is here? Essay by faith to sist yourselves before the Judge, and then consider if there be not great gain in being set on His right hand, to be saved from the pit and in getting that heartsome word of welcome from Christ’s sweet mouth [Matt. 25:34; 1 Thess. 4:18], Come ye blessed of my father and in being forever with the Lord. If all this, and infinitely much more than we can speak of, be in godliness, it is surely the greatest gain. In this life it is very profitable and in the life to come inconceivably so. And if upon the other hand, you could rightly conceive the horror that ungodly men will fall under—how loud and shrill their cries and screakes [screeches] will be when pressed from the unsupportable weight of the wrath of God, and from the pangs of an evil and tormenting conscience, and when boasted away with that dreadful, depart from me ye cursed [Matt. 25:41], there being no possibility to see God without holiness [Heb. 12:14]; while the godly’s peace and tranquility shall flow as a river and as a mighty stream and when they shall have fullness of joy in His presence and pleasures for evermore at His right hand; what joy unspeakable and full of glory the one will have at Christ’s coming, and what overwhelming sorrow of heart the other will then have—could you aright conceive of the vast difference that will then be between the godly and ungodly, you would doubtless the more easily conceive the great advantage and gain of godliness. Let me therefore seriously commend it unto you again and again; for without all controversy as the mystery of godliness is great [1 Tim. 3:16], so is also the gain and advantage of it. In all the debates of the time wherein we live, has there ever been one found that had the confidence to dare to say downright that there is no gain in godliness, or that there is no profit in serving the Almighty? though this, alas! be the language of the hearts and practice of many. Let me therefore, yet once more, commend it unto you as unspeakably profitable, both here and hereafter.

Early form of the text, now published. Sermon 52, “The Great Gain of Contenting Godliness,” Sermon Two on 1 Timothy 6:6–8, in Collected Sermons of James Durham, 2 vols. (Naphtali Press and Reformation Heritage Books, 2017), 1.817–818.
http://www.joelbeeke.org/2017/08/james-durhams-sermons/
 
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