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place, and blessed with the society of angels there. What I will venture to say of it, thall be comprised in three things.
ift, The saints in heaven shall have the glorious presence of God, and of the Lamb: God himfelf shall be with them, Rev. xxi. 3. And they shall ever be with the Lord. God is every where present, in respect of his essence; the faints inilitant have his fpecial gracious prefence: but in heaven they have his glorious presence. There they are brought near to the throne of the great King, and stand before him, where he lhews his inconceivable glory. There they have the taber. macle of God, on which the cloud of glory rests, the all glorious human nature of Christ, wherein the fulness of the Godhead dwells, not vailed as in the days of his humiliation, but thining through that blessed flesh, (that all the faints may behold his glory) and making that body more glorious than a thousand funs: fo that the city has no need of the sun, nor of the moon, but th: glory of God doth lighten it, and the Lamh is the light thereof, (properly, the candle thereof) Rev. xxi. 23. i. e. The Lamb is the luminary, or luininous body, which gives light to the city; as the sun and moon now give light to the world, or as a candle lightens a dark room: and the light proceeding from that glorious luminary, for the city is the glory of God. Sometime that candle burnt very dim, it was hid under a buihel, in the time of his humiliation; but that, now and then, it darted out fome rays of this light, which dazzled the eyes of the spectators: but now it is set on high, in the city of God, where it shines, and shall shine for ever, in perfection of glory. It was sometimes laid aside, as a stone disallowed of the build. ers': but now it is, and for ever will be, the light or luminary of that city; and that, like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper Stone clear as crystal, ver. 11.
Who can conceive the happiness of the saints, in the presencechamber of the great King, where he fits in his chair offtate, making his glor; eminently to appear in the man Chrift? His gracious prefence makes a mighty change upon the faints in this world : his glorious presence in heaven then inuft needs screw up their graces to their perfection, and elevate their capacities. The saints do experience, tk it the presence of God now with them in his grace, can make a little heaven of a fort of hell: how great then must the glory of heaven be, by his presence there in his glory! If a candle, in fonie fort, beautifies a 'cottage or prison, how will the thining sun beautify a palace or paradise! The gracious presence of God made a wilderness lightsom to Mofes, the valley of the shadow of death to David, a fiery furnace to the three children: what a ravishing beauty shall then arise from the fun of righteousness, shining in his meridian brightness on the street of the city laid with pure gold? This glorious presence of God in heaven will put a glory on the saints themselves. The pleasant garden hath no beauty, when the darkness of the night sits down on it; but the shining fun puts a glory on the blackest mountains: To these Qq
who are now as bottles in the smoak, when set in the glorious presence of God, will be glorious both in soul and body.
2dly, The saints in heaven fhall have the full enjoyment of God and of the Lainb. This is it that perfectly satisfies the rational creature; and here is the saints everlasting rest. This will make up, all their wants, and fill the delires of their souls, which after all here obtained, still cry, Give give, not without some anxiety; because though they do enjoy God, yet they do not enjoy him fully. As to the way and manner of this enjoyment, our Lord tells us, John xvii. 3.
« This is “ life eternal, that they may know thee the only true God, and
Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” Now there are two ways, how a desirable object is known most perfectly and satisfyingly; the one'is by sight, the other by experience : sight satisfies the understanding, and experience satisfies the will. Accordingly one may say, that the saints enjoy God and the Lamb in heaven, (1.) By an intuitive knowledge. (2.) By an experimental knowledge, both of them perfect, I mean, in respect of the capacity of the creature; for otherwise a creature's perfect knowledge of an infinite Being is impossible. The saints below enjoy God, in that knowledge they have of him by report, from his his holy word which they believe; they see him likewise darkly in the glass of ordinances, which do, as it were, represent the bridegroom's picture, or shadow, while he is abfent: they have allofome experimental knowledge of him, they taste that God is good, and that the Lord is gracious. But the faints above shall not need a good report of the King, they shall see himself; therefore faith ceaseth: they will behold his oven face; therefore ordinances are no inoré; there is no need of a glåss: they shall drink, and drink abundantly of that whereof they have tafted; and so hope ceaseth, for they are at the utmost bounds of their desires.
1. The faints in heaven fall enjoy God and the Lamb, by sight, and that in a must perfect manner, i Cor. xiii, 12. For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face. Here our sight is but mediate, as by a glass, in which we see not things themselves, but the images of things: but there we hall have an immediate view of God and the Lamb. Here our knowledge is but obscure; there it shall be clear without the least mixture of darkness. The Lord doth now converse with his faints, through the lattesses of ordinances: but then shall they be in the presence-chamber with him. There is a vail now on the glorious face, as to us: but when we come to the upper house, that vail, through which fome rays of beauty are now darted, will be found entirely taken off; and then thall glorious excellencies and perfections, not leen in him by mortals, be clearly discovered, for we shall fee his face, Rev. xxii. 4. The phrase seems to be borrowed from the honour put on some in the courts of monarchs, to be attendants on the king's person. We read, Jer. liii. 3-5. of seven men of them that were (Heb. Seers of the king's face, i. e, as we read it) near the king's person. O unspeakable glory! the great King keeps his court in hea
ven; and the faints shall all be his courtiers, ever near the King's person, seeing his face. The throne of God and of the Lamb Mall be in it, and his fervants Mall serve him, and they shall fee, his face, Rev.
(.) They shall fee Jesus Christ with their bodily eyes, since he will never lay aside the human nature. They will always behold that glorious blessed body, which is perfonally united to the divine nature, and exalted far above principalities and powers, and every name that is sramed. There we will see, with our eyes, that very body, which was born of Mary at Bethlehem, and crucified at Jerusalem betwixt two thieves; that blessed head that was crowned with thorns; the face that was spit upon; the hands and feet that were nailed to the cross; all shining with unconceivable glory. The glory of the man Chrilt will attract the eyes of all the saints, and he will be for ever admired in all them that believe, 2 Thess. i. 10. Were each star, iu the heavens, shining as the sun in its meridian brightness, and the light of the fun fo increased, as the stars, in that case, Thould bear the same proportion to the fun, in point of light, that they do now; it might poffibly be some faint resemblance of the glory of the man Christ, in comparison with that of the saints; for though the saints shall shine forth as the fun. yet not they, but the Lamb Thall be the light of the city. The wise men fell down, and worshipped him, when they saw him a young chill, with Mary his mother, in the house. But O! what a ravishing fight will it be to see him in his kingdom on his throne, at the Father's right hand! The Word was made flesh, (John i. 14.) and
the glory of God shall shine through that flesh, and the joys of heaven - spring out from it, unto the saints, who shall see and enjoy God. in - Christ. For since the union betwixt Christ and the saints is never
dissolved but they continue his members for ever; and the members cannot draw their life, but from their Head; seeing that which is dependent on the head, as to the vital influence, is no member: therefore Jesus Christ will remain the everlasting bond of union betwixt God and the saints; from whence their eternal life shall spring, John xvii.2, 3." Thou hast given hiin power over all flesh, that he should give " eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eter“ nal, that they might know thee the only true God, &c. Ver 22, 6 23. And the glory which thou gavelt me, I have given them, that
be one, even as we are one : I in them, and thou in me, " that they may be made perfect in one." Wherefore the immediate i enjoyment of God in heaven is to be understood, in respect of the
laying aside of word and facraments, and such external means, as we enjoy God by in this world; but not, as if the saints should then cast off their dependence on their Head for vital influences: nay, “ the “ Lamb which is in the midst of the throne, fhall feed them, and thall “ lead them unto living fountains of waters," Rev. vii. 17.
Now when we fall behold him, who died for us, that we might live for evermore, whose matchless love made him (wim through the
" they may
Red-sea, of God's wrath, to make a path in the midst of it for us, by which we might pass safely to Canaan's land: then we will see what a glorious One he was, who suffered all this for us; what entertainment he had in the upper-house; what hallelujahs of angels could not hinder him to hear the groans of a perthing multitude on earth, and to come down for their help: and what a glory he laid aside for us. Then will we be 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. iii. 19. When the saints fhall remember, that the waters of wrath he was plunged into, are the wells of falvation 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 fal. vation? The Jews celebrating the feast of tabernacles, (which was the most joyful of all their feasts, and lasted seven days) went once every day about the altar, singing hosanna, with their mystle, 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 saints are presented as a chofte 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 Lamb 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 “ before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their “ hands : and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God “ 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 knowledge 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 fight, as it were of his hack part, Exod. xxxiii. 25. But there they will see his face, Rev. xxii. 4. They shall see him in the fulness of his glory, and behold him Axedly; whereas it is but a passing view they can have of him here, Exod. xxxiv. 6. There is a valt difference betwixt the fight of a king in his night-clothes, quickly passing by us; and a fixed leisure view of him sitting 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 manifeâation of God that ever a faint had on earth; and the display of his glory thar fhall be seen in heaven, There the saints
fhall eternally, without interruption, feed their eyes upon him, and be ever viewing his glorious perfections. And as their bodily eyes fall # be strengthened and fitted, to behold the glorious majesty of the man Christ; as eagles gaze on the sun, without being blinded thereby : fo their minds thall have such an elevation, as will fit them to fee God in his glory : their capacities thall be enlarged, according to the meafure in which he shall be pleased to communicate himself unto them for their compleat happiness.
This blissful light 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 see with our bodily eyes, in the fatuts and in the man Chriit, or any other fplendor or refulgence from the Godheal whatsoever: for no created thing can be our chief good and happiness, nor fully satisfy 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. self: so the scriptures teach us, that we shall fee face to face, and know even as we are known, 1 Cor xiii. 1-2. And that we shall see him as he is, 1 John iii. 12. Howbeit the saints can never have an adequate con 4 ception of God; they cannot comprehend that which is infinite. They may touch the mountain, but cannot grasp it in their arms. cannot with one glance of their eye,
grows on every fide: but the divine perfections will be an unbounded field, in which the glorified fhall 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 ravissing 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 fight would be infinitely below this blissful sight the saints shall have in heaven. For they fall fee God, in whom all these perfections fhall 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 fhal} (with the profoundest reverence be it fpoken) 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 thall have a most clear and distinct understanding of divine truths, for in his light we shall fev 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 fcripture-truth, made by