Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

its House which is from Heaven: To have its late Corruption, put on Ircorruption ; and the whole Man entirely to be with the Lord. But even this desire, shall be without Pain or Impatience; with the highest Submission to, and Complacency in, the Will of God, till the happy Day of Accomplishment come. There will be no desire, which will not resolve it self into Delight: And in every act of desire, will meet with infinite Satisfaction in the sight of God. And that sight, still inflame new desires; and thus a constant circulation of Delight, and Desire, and Satisfaction be maintained till all be consummated at the Resurrection, and thence to Eternity. O the depth of the Riches of che Goodness and Grace, and Glory of God! Thus briefly as to the Perfection of the Will

Lastly, we may yet conceive of a Third Faculty, even in the separate Soul, and, that is Memory and Conscience; as Conscience will then fignifie a lasting sense of what we have done in the Body. Now I say, that in the future blessed Estate, even this shall be perfected. That is, all evil Conscience, (all Conscience of Guilt) all Sin Hall be washed aZoay, with the Blood of the Lamb. The penal Sense or Memory of Sin, hall be entirely taken off and extinét. Only we inay conceive so much Remembrance of our own Vileness to remain, as may serve, amicii all our Glories, to raise in us a higher Admiration of the most glorious Goodness of God, and more Pallionate Love of Christ. Thus in the Revelation, while the Angels cry Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, the Four and Twenty Elders fall down before him that fits on the Throne, and Worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and caft their Corwns before the ! I brone saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive Glory, and Honour, and Power : For Thok haft Created 'all Things, and for thy Pleasure they are and were created. Rev. iv. 10, II. They remember themselves naturally Vile; however, now Crown'd and Glorious. They Adore, Love, and Praise the God that has made them otherwise than they were by Nature ; and lay all their Glories at the Feet of him who gave them. But I fay, all uneasy memory of Sin, and even of their Infirmities, while they were here below, will be banished. The comfort of their good Works will stick. These follow them, even in Death, (Rev. xiv. 13. ) and the solace of good Conscience, advances into Joy unfpeakable, and full of Glory. Thus as to the Perfection of the Faculties of the separate Spirits of Just Men made perfect.

Before we proceed further : Something should be said, that besides the old Faculties which we now have, we do not know but we may have some new ones added, suitable to that Nevz World, into which we enter : It seems to me very probable, we shall. But of these things, we can yet only make Conjectures: However, a word in brief, as to the l'erfetion of their Graces,

Some

Some Graces, even amongst them that seem here of the First Magnitude; there are, which in their own Nature argue Imperfection, such are Faith, and Hope, and Patience, and Long-suffeving, and some like them. Now all these by reason of the Perfection of the Future Condition, shall cease and be changed into what is agreeable to Perfection. Faith will pass into Vision: What we now believe, we shall then see; and so the Evidence of things not seen, will be at an end. Hope will pass into Enjoyment, and being polleft of the Substance of things hoped for, we shall hope no more. Expectation in which the nature of hope essentially lies, must in such case, needs be at an end. Patience of Evils can there have no place where no Evil dwells. Nor bearing with one anothers Infirmities when all our Infirmities (personal and social or both our, and our Brethrens) are taken away. And fo of other like Graces. But the greatest of all Graces is Charity; which will then and ever remain ; and that in a most exalted Estate. Our love to God, will not then be that faint, dull, poor forced Compound of Warmth and Indifferency, it is now. It will then be all pure and perpetual Flame. Our Love to Mankind, will not be that narrow hearted stingy Affection, which here begins with Self, and too much confines it self thereto; but as far as finite Beings are capable thereof, of the same comprehension with God's Love. We shall see by the light of his Glory, and Love by the emanations of

his Philanthropy, or by a fympathy with his eternal Good-Will towards Mankind.

I have thus endeavoured, as I am able to state the First Point, or resolve the firft Difficulty proposed; namely, to what Perfection the Spirits of Just Men while separated from their Bodies, may be conceived to attain.

The Second is,

What Happiness their Society can there be to their Christian Brethren, when gathered to them?

And for resolving hereof, I lay this for a foundation, which for the present, I must take for a certain Truth, because I cannot stand particularly to prove it: Namely, that the Saints shall assuredly know one another in the future World. Indeed, 1 judge it unquestionably true and that as well of the wicked, as of the Just. But I have no occasion at present to fpeak, touching the former. The Saints, I say, shall not only renew all their Virtuous Acquaintances, and old Friendships, even after the Grave, but contract new ones. We shall know Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, Moses and Elias, and the Prophets ; St. Peter and St.Paul,and the beloved Disciple,and allthose ancient Witnesses of the Faith, who here,many of them wandred about in desarts,and mountains, and Caves of the Earth; fome of them cloathed in Sheep-Skins, and Goat Skins, destitute, aflikted, tormented; others of them naked, and cold, and hungry, of whom the World was not worthy. But God has provided that without us, even they should not be made perfect. Heb. xi. vlt. Now

this

this being laid as a Foundation, we may conceive, amongst other Particulars, that the Society of the Spirits of Just Men made

perfect will contribute to our Happiness, even when glorified in the Three following Points.

1. It will be one degree of Happiness, to be free from the solicitude we are apt to retain for the Condition, Good and Welfare of many of our Christian Friends. There are diverse perhaps now Dead, whom in Life we dearly loved, and touching the condition of whose Souls we have many times Fear and Anxiety: Though sometimes again, as we have reason, we conceive great hopes touching their Happiness. When therefore we shall find them as happy as our selves, instated as Co-heirs with our Lord Christ Jesus in his Kingdom, all such Solicitude must cease. That painful Anxiety, with which possibly we may go out of the World, touching the perseverance and final Salvation of some we leave behind us, in the midst of a Wicked and Adulterous Generation, (amidst the Temptations and Violence of the World; Obnoxious to the Malice of the Devil, and the Deceitfulness of Sin) the Fears, lest by any or all these they should miscarry (all this trouble and concern, which our love to them gives us for them,) will I fay, be removed, and as we rest from our Labour, so we shall be at rest from those Cares too. This certainly is a degree of Felicity, for which many of us (many a ten

der

« PoprzedniaDalej »