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Red-sea, of God's wrath, to make a path in the midst of it for us, by which we might pafs safely to Canaan's land: then we will see what a glorious One he was, who suffered all this for us; what entertain. ment he had in the upper-house; what hallelujahs of angels could not hinder him to hear the groans of a pershing multitude on earth, and to come down for their belp: and what a glory he laid aside for us. Then will we be more “ able to comprehend with all faints, what is the
breadth, and length, and depth, and heighth: and to know the love “ of Christ, which passeth knowledge,” Eph. ii. 19. When the saints shall remember, that the waters of wrath he was plunged into, are the wells of salvation from whence they draw all their joy; that they have got the cup of salvation, in exchange of the cup of wrath his Father gave
him to drink, which his finless human nature shivered at: how will their hearts leap within them, burn with feraphick love, like coals of juniper, and the arch of heaven ring with their songs of falvation? The Jews celebrating the feast of tabernacles, (which was the most joyful of all their feaits, and lasted seven days) went once every day about the altar, singing hosanna, with their myrtle, palm and willow.branches in their hand, the two former signs of victory, the last of chastity) in the mean time bending their boughs towards the altar When the faints are presented as a chafte virgin to Chrift, and as conquerors have got their palms in their hands, how joyfully will they compass the altar evermore; and sing their hosannas, (or rather their hallelujahs) about it, bending their palms towards it, ac. knowledging themselves to owe all unto the Lanib that was slain, and redeemed them with his blood! and to this agrees what John faw, Rev. vii 9, 10.
" A great multitude---stood before the throne, and 6 before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their “ hands : and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God 66 which sitteth
upon the throne, and unto the Lamb." (2.) They shall see God, Matth.v. &. They will be happy in seeing the Father, Son, and holy Ghost (not with their bodily eyes, in respect of which God is invisible i Tim. i. 17. but) with the eyes of their un. derstanding; being bleft with the most perfect, full, and clear know. ledge of God and divine things, which the creature is capable of. This is called the beatifick vision, and is the perfection of the understanding, the utmost term thereof. It is but an obscure delineation of the glory of God, that mortals can have on earth; a sight, as it were of his hack part, Exod. xxxiii. 25. But there they will see his face, Rev. xxii. 4. They shall fee him in the fulness of his glory, and behold him Axedly; whereas it is but a paffing view they can have of him here, Exod. xxxiv. 6. There is a valt difference betwixt the light of a king in his night-clothes, quickly passing by us; and a fixed leisure view of him fitting on his throne in his royal robes, his crown on his head, and his feptre in his hand : such a difference will there be, between the greatest manifeftation of God that ever a faint had on earth; and the display of his glory thar fhall be seen in heaven, There the faints fhall eternally, without interruption, feed their eyes upon him, and be ever viewing his glorious perfections. And as their bodily eyes shall be strengthened and fitted, to behold the glorious majesty of the man Chrift; as eagles gaze on the sun, without being blinded thereby : fo their minds shall have such an elevation, as will fit them to fee God in his glory : their capacities thall be enlarged, according to the measure in which he shall be pleased to communicate himself unto them for their compleat happiness.
This blissful sight of God, being quite above our present capacities, we must needs be much in the dark about it. But it seems to be Something else, than the fight of that glory, which we will fee with our bodily eyes, in the fatuts and in the man Christ, or any other splendor or refulgence from the Godhead whatsoever: for no created thing can be our chief good and happiness, nor fully fatisfy our souls; and it is plain, that those things are somewhat different from God himself. Therefore I conceive, that the souls of the faints thall fee God him. felf: so the scriptures teach us, that we shall fee face to fuce, and know even as we are known, 1 Cor xiii. 12. And that we shall see him as he is, 1 John iii. 12. Howbeit the saints can never have an adequate conception of God; they cannot comprehend that which is infinite. They may touch the mountain, but cannot grasp it in their arms. They cannot with one glance of their eye, behold what grows on every fide: but the divine perfections will be an unbounded field, in which the glorified shall walk eternally, seeing more and more of God: since they can never come to the end of that which is infinite. They may bring their vessels to this ocean every moment, and fill them with new waters. What a ravishing fight would it be, to see all the perfections, and lovely qualities, that are scattered here and there among the creatures, gathered together into one! but even such a sight would be infinitely below this blissful fight the saints shall have in beaven. For they fall fee God, in whom all these perfections shall eminently appear, with infinitely more; whereof there is no vestige to be found in the creature. In! - n shall they see every thing desirable, and nothing but what is desirable.
Then shall they be perfectly satisfied, as to the love of God towards them, which they are now ready to question on every turn. They will be no more set to persuade themselves of it, by marks, signs, and. teftimonies: they will have an intuitive knowledge of it. They shall (with the profoundeit reverence be it spoken) look into the heart of God, and there see the love he bore to them from all eternity, and the love and good-will he will bear to them for evermore. The glorified shall have a most clear and distinct understanding of divine truths, for in his light we shall see light, Pfal. xxxvi. 9. The light of glory will be a compleat commentary on the Bible, and loose all the hard and knotty questions in divinity. There is no joy on earth, comparable to that which ariseth from the discovery of truth; no disco. very of truth coinparable to the discovery of Scripture-truth, made by
the Spirit of the Lord unto the soul. I rejoice at thy word, says the Pfalmift, as one that finneth great poil, Pfal.cxix 162. Yet it is but an imperfect discovery we have of it while here. How ravishing then will it be, to see the opening of the whole treasure, hid in that field! they thall also be let into the understanding of the works of God. The beauty in the works of creation and providence will then be set in a due light. Natural knowledge will be brought to perfection by the light of glory. The web of providence concerning the church, and all men whatsoever, will then be cut out, and laid before the eyes
of the faints, and it will appear a molt beautiful mixture; so as they shall say together, on the view of it, he hath done all things well. But, in a special manner, the work of redemption thall be the eternal won. der of the saints, and they will admire and praise the glorious contriva..ce for ever. Then ihall they get a tull view of its luitableness to the divine perfections, and to the case of finners': and clearly read the covenant, that past betwist the Father and the Son, from all eternity, touching their salvation. They fall for ever wonder and praise, and praise and wonder at the myfteries of wisdom and love, goodness and holiness, mercy and justice, appearing in the glorious device. Their souls shall be eternally satisfied with the fight of God himself, and of cheir election by the Father, their redemption by the Son, and application thereof to them by the Holy Spirit.
2. The faints in heaven shall enjoy God in Christ by experimental knowledge, which is, when the object its. If is given aod poffefsed. This is the participation of the divine goodness in full measure; which is the perfection of the will, and utmolt term thereof. The Lamb shall lead them unto living fountains of waters, Rev. vii. 17. These are no other but God biníelf, the fountain of living waters, who will fully and freely communicate himself unto them. He will pour out of his goodness eternally into their souls: and then shall they have a most lively sensation, in the innermost part of their fouls, of all that goodriess they heard of, and believed to be in him; and of what they see in him by the light of glory. This will be an everlasting practical exposition of that word, which men and angels cannot fufficiently unfold, to wit, God himself fhall--be their God, Rev. xi. 3. God will communicate himself unto them fully: they will no more be fit to taste of the streams of divine goodness in ordinances, as they were wont, but shall drink at the fountain-head. They will be no more entertained with fips and drops, but filled with all the fulness of God. And this will be the entertainment of every faint: for though in created things, what is given to one, is withheld from another; yet an infinite good can fully communicate itself to all, and fill all.' These who are heirs of God, the great heritage, thall then enter into a full poffeffion of their inheritances: and the Lord will open his treasures of goodness unto them, that their enjoyment may be full. They shall not be Minted to any
measure: but the enjoyment shall go as far as their enlarged capa. cities can reach. As a narrow vesel cannot contain the ocean, fo neither can the infinite creature comprehend an infinite good: but no measure shall be set to the enjoyoient, but what arilech from the capacity of the creature. So that, al hough there be degrees of glory, yer all shall be filled, and have what they can hold; tho' some would be capable to hold more than others, there will be no want to any of them, all shall be fully satisfied, and perfeetly bler. sed in the full enjoyment of divine goodness, according to their enlarged capacities. As when bottles of different sizes are filled, some contain more, others less; yet all of them have what they can contain. The glorified shall have all, in God, for the satisfaction of all their defires. No created thing can afford satisfaction to all our desires : clothes may warın us, but they cannot feed us; is comfortable, but cannot nourish us. Bui in God we shall have all our desires, and we shall desire nothing without him. They shall be the happy ones, that delire nothing but what is truly desirable; and withal have all they desire. God will be all in all to the saints; he will be their life, health, riches, honour, peace, and all good things. He will communicate himself freely to them: the door of access to him shall never be shut again, for one moment. They may, wben they will, cake of the fruits of the tree of life, for they will find it on each side the river, Rev. xxii. 2. There will be no vail betwixt God and them, to be drawn aside; but his fulness shall ever stand open to them. No door to knock at,
in heaven; no alking to go before receiving; the Lord will allow his people an unreltrained familiarity with himself there.
Now they are in part made partakers of the divine nature: but then they all perfectly partake of it; that is to say, God will cominynicate to them his own image, make all his goodness not only pass before them, but pass into them, and stamp the image of all his own perfections upon them, so far as the creature is capable to receive the same ; from whence shall result a perfect likeness to bim, in all things in or about them, which completes the happiness of the creature. And this is what the Pfalmift seems to have had in view, Pfal. xvii. 15. I shall be satisfied when I awake, with thy likeness; the perfection of God's image, following upon the beati, fick vision. And so says John, 1 John iii 2. We mall be like him ; for we shall see him as he is. Hence there fhall be a molt close and intimate union betwixt God and the saints; God Mall be in them, and they in God, in the way of a molt glorious and perfect union; for then fhall they dwell in love inade perfect. God is love, and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleih in God, and God in bim, 1 John iv. 16. How will the faints knit with God, and he with them; when he shall see nothing in them but his own image; when their love shall arrive at its perfection, no nature, but the divine nature, being left in them, and all imperfection (wallowed up in that glorious transfor
fong of the heavenly holt, when Christ was born: but thrice happy they, who shall join their voices with theirs, in the choir of saints and angels in heaven, when he fhall be glorified in all, who shall be about him there. Then thall we'be brought acquainted with the blessed spirits, who never finned. How bright will these morning-Itars fhine in the holy place! they were ministring, fpirits to the heirs of salvation, loved them for their Lord and Master's fake; encamped round about them, to preserve them from danger; how joyfully will they welcome them to their everlasting habitations; and rejoice to see them come at length to their kingdom, as the tutor doth in the prosperity of his pupils! The faints shall be no more afraid of them, as sometime they were wont to be: they shall then have put' off mortality, and infirmides of the flesh, and be themselves, as the an. gels of God, fit to entertain communion and fellowship with these shining ones. And both being brought under one head, the Lord Jesus Christ; they shall join in the praises of God, and of the Lamb, saying, with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was sain, &c. Rev. v. 11, 12. Whether the angels fliall (as some think) assume airy bodies, that they may be seen by the badily eyes of the saints, and be in nearer capacity to converse with them, I know not: but as they want not ways of converse amongst themselves, we have reason to think, that conversation, betwixt them and the faints, shall not be for ever block
Lastly, They shall have society with the Lord himself in heaven, glorious communion with God and Christ, which is the perfection of happiness. I chuse to speak of communion with God, and the man Christ together; because as we derive out grace from the Lamb, so we will derive our glory from him too; the man Christ being (if I may be allowed the expression) the centre of the divine glory in heaven, from whence it is diffused unto all the saints. This seems to be taught us by these scriptures, which express heaven's happiness by being with Chrift, Luke xxiii. 43. This day shalt thou be with me in paradise, John xxvii. 24. Father I will that these also, whom thou hast given me, be with me. (Andremarkable to this purpose is what follows, that they may behold ny glary.) i' Thess.iv.17. So Shall we ever be with the Lord, to wit, the Lord Chriit, whoin we fall meet in the air. This also seems to be the import of these scriptures, wherein God and the Lamh, the slain Saviour, are jointly spoken of, in the point of the happiness of the saints in heaven, Rev. vii. 17. “ For the Lamb which is in the midst " of the throne, shall feed them, and thall lead them unto living four56 tains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, Chap.xxi. 3. “Behold the tzbernacle of God is with men, and he will • dwell with thein,” to wit, as in a tabernacle, (so the word fignifies) that is, in the fleik of Christ, (compare John i. 14. and ver. 22.)
The Lord God Almighty, and the Lanb are the temple of it." Here lies the chief happiness of the saints in heaven, that without which they could never be happy, though lodged in that glorious