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be, till then, without all sense of happiness; but only, that what they have till then been favoured with, is but a kind of prelibation, till the work of salvation shall be in every refpect completed. For certainly it cannot be denied, that there is a great difference between that measure of happiness, which the fouls of believers enjoy, while they are separated from the body, and that consummation of glory, which is to be revealed at the last day; and that because the happiness of a part is not to be compared with that of the whole, fince even that part, which is already received into heaven, has not attained to that perfection, which the gospel
' has promised ; as we will presently more fully shew. Hence also, the ancients said, that the souls of believers have, indeed, a joy, but it is only enjoyed in part; as finners have a forrow and a punishment in part, while they are shut up in prison, they are reserred for the coming of the judge, Auctor quaft. &* Respos. que/?. 2o. Who is faid to be Athanasius. And Chryfoftom places these fouls as in a kind of porch. Bernard called it a hall, Serm. 3. de Sanctis ; diftinguishing three states of men, or of fouls, the first in the tabernacle ; the second, in the hall; the third, in the house of God. Which, however, is to be understood with caution, not that the souls of believers are out of heaven, and have not the vision of God; but we are to think, that then they will obtain their most perfect happiness, when they shall be reunited to their bodies.
XXXIV. The things, which the last day will coptribute to the consummation of happiness, we comprise chiefly under three heads. First, the bodies - of believers, when raised in glory, shall be restored to their souls. The Apostle has fully treated on this subject, 1 Cor. xv. The bodies indeed, shall be the fanre, which believers, as was their duty, tenderly cherished in this life, in which as in temples dedicated to the most holy God, they glorified God, and often underwent fo many afflictions for the cause of Christ and religion. For, both the justice of God, the comfort of the godly, and the very term resurrection, which can only be applied to what fell by death, do require them to be the same. But though they are to be the same as to substance : yet they shall be so changed as to qualities, that they will seein to be altogether different : " For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mor, tal put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the fay-' ing that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory," 1 Cor. xv. 53, 54. Great therefore shall be the change of the body, but the fame subject shall remain, which the Apostle intmates by the term this, as if he had pointed to his own body.
And to what purpose is the repetition of the same particle, four several times, but to remove all ambiguity, and every cause of hesitation ? And in fine, how otherwise can death be said to be swallowed up in victory? Ought it not rather to be said, that death swallowed up our bodies ses vixos or as it is in the Prophet nx', which may also be translated for ever, if the fame numerical bodies do not rise ?
XXXV. Moreover, we cannot here but admire the almost incredible goodness of God. The divine mercy was willing to bless our bodies also with a participation of heavenly felicity. But their present constitution renders them incapable of so, great a glory. As herbs and flowers wither and fade by the excellive heat of the radiant sun, so also our bodies, such as we now carry about with us, are unequal to bear the heavenly glory; “ Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingom of God," 1 Cor. xv. 50.
Where flesh and blood do not denote our nature, corrupted by fin, but the very substance of the human body, with those infirmities of animal life, which naturally follow it. Our flesh is from blood ; blood from meat and drink : and in blood confifts that animal life, from which the body is called animal, v. 44. By flesh and blood therefore is signified the nature of the human body, as it is nourished and preserved in this life, by taking in meat and drink, and by the circulation of the blood. But such flesh and blood is incapable of the heavenly glory. What then? Is God to diminish the heavenly glory, that our body may also be admitted to have some participation of it? By no means.
He will rather change the qualities of our body, and of terrestrial, make it heavenly, and of animal, spiritual, so as thus to bear a suitable proportion to the glory, wherewith it shall be endowed, y. 40, 43. But who, while he still remains on this earth, can take in this heavenly language? Who can form an idea of such a spiritual body? And yet it is evident from undoubted testimonies of holy writ, that the righteous shall have this granted to them, and we are to look for it from our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, “who shall change our vile body, that it may be fafhioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working, whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself," Phil. iii. 21. that we may shine forth, not as to our soul only, but also as to our body, “ as the sun in the kingdom of our Father,” Mat. xiii. 43.
XXXVI. The second thing, in which the last day. shall cona tribute to the consummation of our happiness, is such a great julgence of the divine perfections in the works of glory, that a more illuftrious neither the understanding can conceive, nor
the heart wish for. Undoubtedly the foul of man, immediately upon
its reception into heaven, most distinctly sees very many things in and concerning God, which on earth it understood only by the faint glimmering light of faith : but yet God has postponed the full display of his glory to that day. And therefore that vision of God, which we maintain to belong to the separate Toul, though more evident than we can now well conceive ; is not yet so perfect, but a greater hieasure of new light may be superadded. For, as knowledge depends most of all on the revelation, or discovery of the objects; so that knowledge cannot be brought to its perfection, while a great part of the objects lie concealed. But a great part of the objects in the contemplation of which our mind shall be employed, lie concealed, till a new. heaven and a new earth are made, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Indeed, the more illustrious the works of God are, with which the blessed find themselves surrounded, the greater is the pleasure, with which they contemplate the glory of God therein. But what more illustrious, than to see this vast universe, delivered from the bondage of corruption; and brought into the glorious liberty of the fons of God, which this created world with earneft expectation waited for ? Rom. viii. 19, 21. What more noble and divine, than that general judgment, in which they ihall hear themselves not only acquitted, their enemies not only condemned, but themselves also appointed to judge angels in Christ their head ? 1 Cor. vi. 3: What more illustrious, than that general assembly of all the elect, from the beginning of the world to the last day, who, being clothed with heavenly bodies, shall each of them thine, as the sun in the kingdom of their Father? And with what pleasing astonishment may we imagine, the foul will look upon its body, which it formely knew to be subject only to very many and great infirniities, but shall then behold it glittering with such a blaze of light, as that it may seem, not indeed, equal to, but yet greatly resembling the glorious body of Christ ? And as, in all these things, it can admire nothing but the effulgence of the divine glory, may it not be faid, while it beholds them, to see God himself in a most eminent manner? Hence Johri fays, 1 John. iii. 2. “ but we know, that when he fhall appear, we shall be like him ; for we shall see him as he is." And David in like manner promises himself, only after the resurrection, that contemplation of God, which gives the most full fatisfaction, Pf. xvii. 15. “ As for me, I will behold thy face in righteoufness: I shall be fatitfied, when I awake with thy likeness.” To this also we are to
refer that of Paul; “ For now we see through a glass, darkly ;
but then face to face : now I know in part, but then shall I , know even as also I am known,”. 1 Cor. xiii, 12. That is, in a manner most perfect and altogether divine, a more excellent than which cannot, it seems, be the portion of any creature. For, both the object shall be most clearly represented, as well in its most glorious operations as in its immediate illapse, or entrance into the mind, in a manner which at present we cannot explain; and the subject will be disposed in the best manner, in order to behold and observe in God, whatever can complete its happiness.
XXXVII. Thirdly, That day shall bring the blessed to that fruition of God, which Ihall be much more perfect and immediate, than whatever they had enjoyed before.
As long as there are some believers, who are still in this miserable life; as long as the bodies of the elect, who are departed out of it, are detained in the prison of death, and lie hid in the dust, the faints in heaven cannot be ignorant, that very many remains of that power, which, sin had gained over man, must still subfift. And consequently something must be wanting to the full perfection of their joy. And seeing the effects and remains of fin are not yet abolished in their own bodies, and in believers not yet made perfect, who, together with them are members of the same mystical body; which is the reason, why God does not communicate himself to them, but by the intervention of a Mediator. But by, the resurrection, death itself, which is the last enemy; shall be abolished, i Cor. xv. 26. and cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, Rev. xx. 14. never
more to have any power but over the enemies of God and of believers. Nor Thall there be any member of the whole mystical body of Christ, which shall not be perfectly holy, and absolutely subject to him. And after all the remains and effects of fin, ihall be entirely destroved, nothing shall hinder God from communicating himself immediately to men without the intervention of a Mediator, as he does to the holy angels. We are of the opinion, with the best interpreters, that this is the meaning of Paul, in 1 Cor. xv. 28. and when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him, that put all things under him, THAT GOD MAY BE ALL IN ALL.
XXXVIII. To this happiness likewise belongs a boundless and immutable eternity: without which, it would in reality be no happinefs. For, no good, how great foever, that one is pofseffed of with a fear of losing it, can, by its fruition, yield
that perfect and solid joy, which is requisite to happiness. Wherefore happiness is called eternal life, Matt. xxv. 46. Rom. č. 7. and a crown of glory, that fadeth not away, 1 Pet.. V. 4. and an incorruptible crown, 1 Cor. ix. 25. and the Apostle de clares concerning the righteous, 1 Thess. 4. 17. that they fall ever be with the Lord.
XXXIX. Here it is usual to enquire whether there will be any difference of degrees among the blessed. In this question, indeed (though we utterly disclaim the proud doctrine of the Romanists concerning the disparity of glory, founded on the inequality of merits) the arguments of those, who think, that God will crown the unequal measure of the gifts of grace
with a disparity of gifts of glory, seem more probable to us. To this purpose are those scriptures, Rom. ii. 6. “ who will render to every one according to his deeds," and 2 Cor. v. 10. " that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done.” By which words is not barely signified the quality of the free reward, which shall be grant, ed the righteous according to their works ; but also the quantity of that reward, answering in a certain proportion to their works. Which is expressly explained by the Apostle, 2 Cor. ix. 6. « he which soweth sparingly, shall reap also sparingly : and he which soweth bountifully, shall reap also bountifully." Moreover, that this harvest, and its diversity, or different product, is erroneously confined to this life, appears from comparing this place with Gal. vi. 8. “ he that soweth to his flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption : but he that foweth to the spirit shall of the spirit reap life everlasting.” To the fame effect is į Cor. iii. 8. “ he that planteth and he that watereth are one : and every man shall receive his own reward, according to his own labour.” Where it is clearly enough declared, that the proportion of the reward will be adjusted to that of the labour. Nor unlike to this is the discourse concerning the resurrection of the dead, 1 Cor. xv. 40, 41: “ there are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial ; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars ; for one star dif. fereth from another star in glory." Where first, the bodies laid aside at death are compared with those assumed at the resurrection : and then, the celestial bodies are said to differ very much in glory from each other. As the sun, moon, and stars, are all truly celestial bodies, but greatly unlike in glory. And to what purpose is that distinct mention of sun, moon and VOL. II. 0