Abbildungen der Seite

countenance ;” and also the foregoing verses. Thus God the Father will give the Son his heart's desire, as it is said in the 2d verse of that psalm; his heart's desire was, that he might express his infinite love to his elect church, fully and freely; to this end God the Father will now crown him with a crown of love and array him in the brightest robes of love and grace, as bis wedding garments, as the robe in which he should embrace his redeemed church, now brought home to her everlasting rest, in the house of her spiritual husband. As before he came into this accursed world in the glory of the Father, and God the Father arrayed him with his own glory, chiefly of his majesty, power, justice, omnipotence, and holiness, attributes that are terrible to God's enemies, because his errand into this reprobate part of the universe was to destroy it; so now he is returned and entered into the elect and blessed world, to receive the joy that was set before him with his church. Now he shall more especially have conferred on him the glory of his Father, in his gentle and sweet attributes, shining forth in the infinitely bright roles of his love, and grace, and holiness, his sweet ravishing beauty and delight, that he may bless and glorify that elect world with the beams of this light. The Son being thus glorified with infinite sweetness, by the light of the countenance of the Father, the glory will be communicated from him to his church, and she shall be transformed into his image by beholding him, and by the light of his glory and love, shining and smiling upon her. And at that time will be the transformation of all heaven, and it will become a new heaven; the beams of the Son's new glory of grace and love shall advance that whole world to new glory and sweetness. Thus Christ and his saints shall both receive their consuminate felicity and full reward, and shall begin that eternal feast of love, and the eternal joys of that marriage supper of the Lamb. The saints shall not receive their full happiness till then; though they shall be glorified on earth when they shall be raised and changed at the first sight of their glorious Redeemer coming in the clouds, and shall be further glorified when they shall be made to sit with Christ on his throne of judgment; yet Christ speaks of their greatest happiness as then future, when he says, at the close of the judgment, “ Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you,” &c. Now they shall inherit it; now they shall be put in possession of it.

Thus, though the new glory of heaven shall be, as it were, from the coinmunicated influence and glory of the Sun of Righteousness returning to heaven from the judgment; yet it will not be at once, as soon as the beams of the returning Jesus shine on that world, but Christ, with all his saints and angels, shall first enter into the world, and they shall have opportunity to see its glory in its former

state ; and then the presentation shall be made to the Father, and his acceptance manifested, and the purchased glory then given by his hands; so that the saints and angels shall have opportunity fully to see this work of the New Creation : first fully beholding the world before its renovation, and then seeing the change as it is, with the destruction of the reprobate world. That world, as it were, sinks of itself, nies away, and breaks in pieces, by beholding the manifestation of his awful majesty and wrath. The shining forth of the infinitely pure and powerful holiness, justice, and wrath, does, as it were, of itself, set all ou fire; yet this destruction will not actually be at Cbirst's first appearing in terrible majesty in the lower world, but at the greatest manifestation of it when he pronounces the curse on the ungodly.

How iinmensely will it heighten, in the eyes of the saints, the value of that love and gentleness with which they now shall see Christ clothed, that they just before have seen such great manifestations of his infinite majesty, and the terribleness of his wrath! And how will it heighten their admiration and joy in his love, when Christ himself, that glorious King, shall resign up the kingdom to the Father! Though he shall receive now his reward, and new glory from the Father, it will not be to act henceforward as the Supreme Head of Dominion, to whom the government of the world is left, but rather as an head or grand medium of enjoyment of the Father. Christ himself shall be admitted to a higher enjoyment of the Father than ever he was admitted to before ; and in Christ, the saints shall enjoy the Father. The Son himself, as God man, shall now be subject to the Father. After the saints have seen him in infinite majesty in the judgment wherein his glorious and divine dignity appeared, and now come to see him in his ineffable mildness and love; they shall also see his transcendent humility in his adoration of the Father. And what a sense will this give them of the honour of the Father, to behold Jesus Christ, God man, a person of such dignity as they saw in the judgment, thus humbly adoring the Father ! And how will this example influence their adoration of God, and keep up their reverence in that infinite nearness and freedom to which they are admitted ; as the sight they have had of the terrible majesty of Christ in the judgment will keep up their reverence towards him in the midst of their most intimate communion with him, and while they dwell, as it were, in his arms, and on his lips! See concerning the new occasion of glory to the highest heavens at Christ's first ascension, Note on these words, Jobn xiv. 2, “I go to prepare a place for you."

[934] Happiness of Heaven. God doubtless will entertain his saints according to the state of the King of heaven, when he comes to entertain them at the feast that he has provided with such VOL. VIII.


great contrivance and wonderful amazing exercises of infinite and mysterious wisdom, showing the bottomless depths, and infinite riches of his wisdom, and with such great and mighty ado, and innumerable and wonderful exercises of his power; having, in order to provide this feast, created heaven and earth, and done all in all ages, bringing such great revolutions in such an amazing wonderful series, and besides that having come down bimself from his infinite beight and become man, and also provided the feast at such infinite expence as that of his own blood. We read of Ahasuerus, a great king, when he made a feasi unto all his princes and servants, he showed the riches of his glorious kingdom, and the power of his excellent majesty, and gave drink in vessels of gold, and royal wine in abundance, according to the state of the king, Esth. i. So doubtless the bappiness of the saints in heaven shall be so great, that the very majesty of God shall be esceedingly shown in the greatness, and magnificence, and fulloess of their enjoyments and delights.

[1059] That the happiness of the saints in heaven consists much in beholding the displays of God's mercy towards his church on earth, may be sirongly argued from those texts that speak of the just and the meck inheriting the earth, and their having in the present time inuch more given of this world, houses, and lands, &c., than they parted with in the suffering state of the church; from Christ's comforting his disciples, when about to leave them, that they should weep and lament, and the world rejoice, yet their sorrow should be turned into joy, as a woman has sorrow in her travail, but much more than joy enough to balance it when she is delivered; from its being promised to the good man, Ps. cxxviii., that he should see the prosperity of Jerusalem, and peace in Israel; from the manner in which the promises of the future prosperity of the church were made of old to the church then in being; and from the manner in which the saints received them as all their salvation, and all their desire, and are said to hope and wait for the fulfilment from time to time.

[1061] Happiness of heaven consisting much in beholding God's works towards his church on earth. God says to David, 2 Sam. vii. “ Thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever BEFORE THEE. Thy throne shall be established for ever.” And a promise is made in the context concerning Solomon, that must be understood in the same sense; ver. 12, 13, “ And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever."

This promise concerning his kingdom and the kingdom of his Son, its being established for ever after he was dead, is what David takes principal notice of, and is most affected with, as implying this greatest benefit, and speaks of other things conferred on him in his life-time as a small thing, in comparison of it, ver. 19, 20, “ And this was yet a small thing, in thy sight, O Lord God; but thou hast spoken also of thy servant's house for a great while to come. And is this the manner of man, O Lord God? And what can David say more unto thee? for thou, Lord God, krowest thy servant.” And this he insists upon chiefly in his prayer, and in the following verses; and this, he elsewhere says, is all his salvation, and all his desire, or what he sets his heart upon more than any thing whatsoever. And the promise is renewed to Solomon, 1 Kings ix. 5, “ I will establish the throne of thy kingdom upon Israel for ever, as I promised unto David thy father; there shall not fail thee a man upon the throne of Israel.” And yet this same Solomon was thoroughly aware how little a man is benefited by the thonght and hopes of what should be in the world after he is dead, which he shall never see or enjoy any thing of; and speaks of it as a great instance of men's folly and vanity to set their hearts upon it, and deprive themselves of present good for it. Eccles. ii. 24. “ There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink, and that he should niake his soul enjoy good in his labours ;” and iii. 12, 13, “ I know that there is no good in them but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life. And also that every man should eat, and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labours; it is the gift of God.” Ver. 22.“ Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion : for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?" Eccles. ix. 4, 5, 6, 7. “A living dog is better than a dead lion-for the dead-have no more a reward-weither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun. Go thy way.”

The saints in heaven will be under advantages to see much more of it than the saints on earth, and to be every way more directly, fully, and perfectly acquainted with all that appertains to it, and that manifests the glory of it; the glory of God's wisdom and other perfections in it. The blessed fruit and end of it, in the eternal glory and blessedness of the subjects of the work of God at that day, will be daily in their view, in those that come out of dying bodies to heaven. And the church in heaven will be much more concerned in it than one part of the church on earth shall be in the prosperity of another.

The blessedness of the church triumphant in heaven, and their joy and glory will as much consist in heholding the success of Christ's redemption on earth, and in as great proportion, as the joy that was set before Christ consists in it, or as the glory and reward of Christ as God man and Mediator consists in it. · [1072] Happiness of heaven. The saints in heaven willenjoy God as their portion, and possess all things in the most excellent manner possible; in that they will have all in Christ their head. Christ their head is as it were their organ of enjoyment; but the capacity of enjoyment that this organ hath, is of infinitely greater extent than the capacity of any of Christ's members taken separately, or by themselves; as the head of the natural body, by reason of its extensive and noble senses, has such a much greater capacity of enjoyment than the inferior members of the body by themselves. Were not the saints united to Christ, they could never enjoy God the Father in so excellent a manner as now they will in heaven, partaking with Christ in his enjoyment of him. And so they never could possess all the works of God in so excellent and glorious a manner as they do in their head, who has the absolute possession of all, and rules over all, and disposes all things according to his will; for by virtue of their union with Christ, they also shall rule over all. They shall sit with him in his throne, and reign over the same kingdom, as his body, and shall see all things disposed according to their will; for the will of the Head will be the will of the whole body. Christ being their head, the gratifying of his will shall be as much for their happiness, as if it were their own will separately that was gratified; for they shall have no other will, as the natural body, head, and members have but one will; and on the other hand, the holy desires of the saints (as they will have no other desires) will be evermore Christ's will. The appetite of the members will ever be the will of the head. If the whole universe were given to a saint separately, he could not fully possess it, his capacity would be too narrow. He would not know how to dispose of it for his own good; as the inferior members of the natural body would not know how to dispose of things that the body has possession of for their good, without the eyes or the heail. And if the saints did know, they would not have strength sufficient; but in Christ their Head they have perfect knowledge and infinite strength.

[1039] The saints in heaven acquainted with the state of the church on earth. The man Christ Jesus is the head of the glorified saints in heaven. He is the head of the glorious assembly, who leads them in all their worship and praise, and is

« ZurückWeiter »