« AnteriorContinuar »
of God for us, confirm this truth, that Heaven is a place, the city of the living God, where Christ lives, where he shines forth in an inconceivable display and manifestation of his essential, personal, mediatorial, and relative glories, before and unto the view of that innumerable company of elect' angels and saints, who surround his throne, casting their crowns before him, “Saying with a loud voice,
Worthy is the Lamb that was slain. “Blessing, and honour, and glory, and “power, be unto him that sitteth upon " the throne, and unto the Lamb, "for .“ever and ever.” In the apostolic writ
ings Heaven bears the titles of an House • Eternal in the Heavens,-and a city which hath foundations, (which denote the perpetuity of it), whose builder, and maker is God. Into which the Lord Christ receives his beloved at death, that they may be where he is according to his most faithful promise, “I will "come again, and receive you to my“ self, that where I am, there ye may be “ alsok."
I will next speak of the state of the blessed in heaven. It is a state of immortality, of perfect happiness, of unutterable perfection in knowledge and enjoyment, of unutterable fellowship with God, angels, and saints, of life, and
Rev. v. 12. 13. John xiv. 3.
Giorment, ofection in happinetate of ime
blessedness. This is set before us in such scriptural expressions as these, namely, An exceeding, eternal weight of Glory, A being present with the Lord, The Inheritance of the Saints in light, An Inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, which fadeth not away, reserved in Heaven, and A Glory to be revealed in us. Which considered may lead us to some spiritual conceptions, and faith-. views of this most blessed state which awaits us. It is a state of immortality. The soul is swallowed up of life. It is life, pure life, eternal life, immortal life, that the soul now lives, and which · admits of no interruption. It is perpetual activity. No sooner is the soul taken up into Heaven, but it is all life, joy, and activity in God the fountain of life. Whilst the soul is in its present embodied state, its life even in spiritual acts is greatly crampt. On its dismisision from it, its mortality is swallowed
up of life, which doth in an instant put · an end to all that is mortal. Hereby it
is delivered from all the misery and imperfection which adhered to it whilst in
the body. It now lives an heavenly and - eternal life.
It is also a state of perfect happiness. The apostle makes a distinction between the present and future state of Gory, saying, “ When that which is perfec. is
“ come, then that which is in part shall “ be done away!.” And he points out the difference of these: Here we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face. Our imperfection consists in our seeing through a glass darkly. Our perfection in the heavenly state consists in seeing God face to face in the person of our glorified and all-glorious Im; manuel. This is also a state of unutter, able perfection in knowledge and enjoy. ment. The understanding will be filled with the knowledge of God, and with the whole good pleasure of his will, in all his vast designs, in all his acts of grace, and in the whole of his vast disa pensations. The will shall rest perfectly satisfied with God, as the fountain of essential happiness; who in his persons and communications in the blessings and consolation of his love, and in uninter, rupted communion with the soul, will be stow on it such enjoyments as surpass all thought on earth, and exceed all praise in Heaven. It is a state of uninterrupted communion with God, angels, and saints;
a church state. God is the glory of it, and the Lamb is the light thereof, The Holy Ghost dwells in every member of it. The Father, Son, and Spirit, in the perfection of holiness, have an uninterrupted fellowship with them, (and
"1 Cor. xiji. 10.
with each other) as the objects and subjects of their everlasting love, complacency, and delight. The elect angels will express their grace in blessing the Lamb that was slain for the innumerable benefits which flow from his death to the elect of human nature. And the redeemed of the Lord' will, it may be conceived, bless the God of all grace for his supercreation grace magnified in preserving the elect angels from falling, and rendering them impeccable by granting them the vision of Christ God-mån. In their knowledge and enjoyment of him, and of communion with the eternal three in him, God becomes to them their all in all. . Hence their understandings and wills are so swallowed up in God, and they so filled with all the fulness of God, that they are incapable of sinning to all eternity. All this is of Grace: So that angels and saints will unite in singing the praise of it for ever and ever. The state of the blessed is also a state of Glory. The soul will be in the enjoyment of Glory: It will encircle him. He will be, as it were, immersed in it. It is an exceeding, eternal weight of Glory. Thesoul will have fellowship with Christ in his Glory. And the being with Christ will be everlasting perfection and blessedness. It is the inheritance of the saints in light. They
also he enje. Het is
are heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ. As the created sun shines equally through every part of this visible system; so the uncreated sun of everlasting righteousness the God-man Christ Jesus, the Lord of Glory, shines on saints in Heaven, and puts his own glory on them; and they shine therein bright and pure as the light. This effectually fixes them in their state of bliss; so that their inheritance, or the state into which they are then introduced, is immutable. These general observations may serve, as a preliminary, to introduce most suitably my attempt to shew wherein this unspeakable blessedness, which the separated soul enters on immediately at death, consists. But, before I enter fully thereon, let me fix my mind on such scripture-declarations as these: Christ is said “ To receive us to the “ glory of Godm.” We are said to be “ called of God unto his kingdom and “ glory"." It is further declared that “We are called to the obtaining of the “ glory of our Lord Jesus Chrsto.” Peter, an apostle of the Lord and Saviour, entitles himself thus, viz. A partaker of the glory that shall be revealed. And he, writing to all the holy brethren, tells us that“ the God of all Grace hath called m Rom. xv.7. 1 Thess. ii. 12. • 2 Thess. ii. 14.