« הקודםהמשך »
place, and blessed with the society of angels there. What I will ven. ture 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 himself Shall be with them, Rev. xxi. 3. And they shall ever be with the Lord. God is every where present, in refpect of his essence; the saints inilicant have his special gracious presence: 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 tabernacle 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 shining through that blessed flesh, (that all the faints may behold his glory) and making that body more glorious than a thousand suns: so 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 luminous 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 some 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 fone clear as crystal, ver. 11.
Who can conceive the happiness of the faints, in the presence. chamber of the great King, where he fits in his chair of ftate, making his glor; eminently to appear in the man Chrift? His gracious préfence makes a mighty change upon the faints in this world : his glo. rious presence in heaven then inult needs screw up their graces to their perfection, and elevate their capacities. The saints do experience, tl it the presence of God now with them in his grace, can make a little heaven of a sort 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, hový will the shining sun beautify a palace or paradise! The gracious presence of God made a wilderness lightsom to Moses, the valley of the shadow of death to David, a fiery furnace to the three children: what a ravishing beauty thall then arise froni 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 faints themselves. The pleasant gar. den hath no beauty, when the darkness of the night sits down on it; but the shining sun puts a glory on the blackelt mountains: fo thefe
this enjoy they mint rent. caly and the under that che
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 Thall have the full enjoyment of God and of the Lamb. 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 perfely 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. (20) 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 absent: 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 own face; therefore ordinances are no inoré; there is no need of
a glass: they shall drink, and drink abundantly of that whereof they · have tasted, and so hope ceaseth, for they are at the utmost bounds
of their desires. .., 1. The saints in heaven fhall enjoy God and the Lamb, by sight, and that in a most perfect manner, i Cor. xiii. 12. For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face. Here our light is but mediate, as by a glass, in which we see not things themselves, but the images of things: but there we shall have an immediate view of God and the Lamb. Here our knowledge is but obscure; there it Nall 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 hiin by mortals, be clearly discovered, for we lhall See 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. 2-5. of seven men of them that were (Heb. Scers of the king's face, i. e. as we read it) near the king's perfon. O unspeakable glory! the great King keeps his court in hea
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ven; and the saints 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 shall ferve him, and they shall see his face, Rev. xxii. 344.
(1.) They hall see 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 personally united to the divine nature, and exalted far above principalities and powers, and every name that is named. There we will fee, with our eyes, that very body, which was born of Mary at Bethlehem, and crucified at "Jerufalem 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, in the heavens, shining as the sun in its meridian brightness, and the light of the sun so increased, as the stars, in that case, Thould bear the same proportion to the sun, in point of light, that they do now; it migho posibly be fonie faint resemblance of the glory of the man Christ, in comparison with that of the saints; fur though the saints fall 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 sight 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 fhall shine through that flesh, and the joys of heaven
spring out from it, unto the saints, who shall fee and enjoy God. in : Chrilt. 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 thould 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, :56 23. And the glory which thou gaveit me, I have given them, that
" they may be one, even as we are one: I in thein, and thou in me, " that they may be made perfect in one." Wherefore the immediate
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 thould then cast: off their dependence on their Head for vital influences: nay, “ the "Lamb which is in the midst of the throne, shall feed them, and shall " lead them unto living fountains of waters," Rev. vii. 17.
Now when we shall behold him, who died for us, that we might live for evermore, whose matchless love made him fivim through the 292
Red-fea, 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 help: and'what a glory he laid aside for us. Then will we be more “ able to comprehend with all faints, what is the 6 breadth, and length, and depth, and heighth: and to know the love « of Christ, which passeth knowledge,” Eph.jïi: 19. When the saints Thall 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 ferarhick love, like coals of juniper, and the arch of heaven ring with their songs of fale 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 myrtle, paim 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 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 Lanıb that was slain, and redeemed them with his blood! and to this agrees what Jolm faw, Rev. vii 9, 10. "A great multitude---stood before the throne, and “ before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palins 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 fee 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 fee him in the fulness of his glory, and behold him Axedly; whereas it is but a pafling view they can have of him here, Exod. xxxiv. 6. There is a valt difference betwixt the sight of a king in his night-clothes, quickly passing by is; and a fixed leisure view of him sitting on kais 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 manifestation of God that ever a faint had on earth; and the display of his glory that thall be seen in heaven, There the faints
fhall eternally, without interruption, feed their eyes upon him, and be
Then shall they be perfectly satisfied, as to the love of God towards