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HEAVEN.

Death of a saint. When a saint dies, he has no cause at all to grieve because he leaves his friends and relations whom he dearly loves; for he doth not properly leave them, he enjoys them still in Christ, because every thing that they love in them, and love them for, is in Christ in an infinite degree, whether it be nearness of relation, or any perfection and good received, or love in us, or a likeness in dispositions, or whatever is a rational ground of love.

Union with Christ. By virtue of the believer’s union with Christ, he doth really possess all things. That we know plainly from Scripture: but it may be asked, How he possesses all things; what is he the better for it; how is a true Christian so much richer than other men? To answer this, I will tell you what I mean by possessing all things. I mean that God, three in one, all that he is, and all that he has, and all that he does, all that he has made or done, the whole universe, bodies and spirits, light, heaven, angels, men, and devils, sun, moon, stars, land, and sea, fish and fowls, all the silver and gold, all beings and perfections, as well as mere man, are as much the Christian’s as the money in his pocket, the clothes he wears, or the house he dwells in, or the victuals he eats; yea, more properly his, more advantageously, more his than if he commanded all these things mentioned to be just in all respects as he pleased, at any time, by virtue of the union with Christ; because Christ who certainly doth here possess all things, is entirely his, so that he possesses it all, more than a wife the property of the best and dearest of husbands, more than the hand possesses what the head doth. All the universe is his, only he has not the trouble of managing it; but Christ, to whom it is no trouble to manage it, manages it for him a thousand times as much to his advantage as he could himself, if he had the managing of all the atoms in the universe. Every thing is managed by Christ so as to be most to the advantage of the Christian. Every particle of air, or every ray of the sun; so that he in the other world, when he comes to see it, shall sit and enjoy all this vast inheritance with surprising, amazing joy. And how is it possible for a man to possess any thing more than so as shall be most to his advantage? And then besides this, the Christian shall have every thing managed just according to his will; for his will shall so be left in the will of God, that he had rather have it according to God’s will than any way in the world. And who would desire to possess all things more than to have all things managed just according to his will? And then besides, he himself shall so use them as to be most to his own advantage in his thoughts, and meditations, &c. Now, how is it possible for any one to possess any thing more than to have it managed as much as possible according to his will, as much as possible for his own advantage, and for himself to use it as much as possible according to his advantage? But it is certain that so far shall the true Christian possess all things: it is not a probable scheme, but absolutely certain; for we know that all things will be managed so as shall be most agreeable to his will: that cannot be denied, nor that it shall be most to his advantage, and that he himself shall use it most to his own advantage. This is the kingdom Christ so often promised: they shall be kings with a witness at this rate: this is the sitting in Christ’s throne, and inheriting all things promised to the victors in the Revelation, and the like in many other places.

ii. Saints. Is it not a very improper thing that saints in some respects should be advanced above angels, seeing angels are of more excellent natural parts? I answer, No more improper than it is for the queen in some respects to be advanced above the nobles and barons of far nobler natural powers.

5. Heaven. There is no more reason why it should be a damp to the happiness of some in heaven that others are happier, than that their happiness should be damped by a bare possibility of greater happiness, supposing them to be all equal; for if they were all equal and all full of happiness, yet every one would know that greater happiness is possible, absolutely, and possible for them if God had but enlarged their capacity. And why should not they who are actuated by pure reason desire it, as much as if it were actually enjoyed by some beings? for barely that it is enjoyed by other beings cannot possibly cause those that are actuated by pure reason, and whose desires in every respect are agreeable to reason to desire it, any more than if it was only possible to be enjoyed, and were never actually enjoyed by any. But instead of the superiority of some above others in happiness, being a damp on the happiness of those that are inferior, there is undoubted reason why it should be an addition to their happiness, and why it would rather be a detraction from their happiness if it were otherwise; for most certainly there is a pure, ardent, and inconceivably vehement, mutual love between the glorified saints, and this love is in proportion to the perfection and amiableness of the object loved. Therefore, seeing their love to them is proportional to their amiableness, it must necessarily cause delight when they see their happiness proportional to their amiableness, and so to their 618 love to them; it will not damp any to see them loved more than themselves, for they shall have as much love as they desire, and as great manifestations of love as they can bear, and they themselves will love those that are superior in holiness as much as others, and will delight to see others love them as much as themselves. We are very apt to conceive that those that are more holy and more happy than others in heaven will be elated and lifted up above them; whereas their being superior in holiness implies their being superior in humility, or having the greatest humility; for humility is a part of holiness that is capable of degrees in the perfect state of heaven as well as other graces; not that the holiest shall think more meanly of themselves than the least holy, for they shall all be perfectly humble, and perfectly free from pride, and none shall think more highly of themselves than they ought to think, but yet as they see further into the divine perfections than others, so they shall penetrate further into the vast and infinite distance there is between them and God, and their delight of annihilating themselves that God may be all, shall be greater. And besides, those that are highest in holiness, and so necessarily highest in happiness, (for holiness and happiness are all one in heaven,) instead of any thing like despising those that are less holy and happy, will love those that are inferior to them more than they would do if they had not so much holiness and happiness, more than if they were but equal with them, and more than those do that are equal with them. This is certain; for the foundation of the saints’ love to each other will be their love to the image of God which they see in them. Now most certainly the holier a man is, the more he loves the same degree of the image; so that the holiest in heaven will love that image of God they see in the least holy more than those do that are less holy; and that which makes it beyond any doubt that this superior happiness will be no damp to them, is this, that their superior happiness consists in their great humility, and in their greater love to them, and to God, and Christ, whom the saints look upon as themselves. These things may be said of this, beside what may be said about every one being completely satisfied and full of happiness, having as much as he is capable of enjoying or desiring; and also what may be said about their entire resignation; for God’s will is become so much their own, that the fulfilling of his will, let it be what it may, fills them with inconceivable satisfaction.

[105] Heaven. That the glorified spirits shall grow in holiness and happiness in eternity, I argue from this foundation, that their number of ideas shall increase to eternity. How great soever the number of their ideas when they are first glorified, it is but limited; and it is evident the time will come when they shall have lived in glory so long that the parts of duration, each equal to a million million ages, that they have lived, will be more in number than their ideas were at first. Now we cannot suppose that they will ever entirely forget every thing that has passed in heaven, and in the universe, for a whole million million of ages. It is undoubted that they never will have forgot what passed in their life upon earth, the sins they have been saved from, their regeneration, the circumstances which did heighten their mercies, their good works which follow them, their death, &c. They will without doubt retain innumerable multitudes of ideas of what passed in the first seventy years; so also they shall retain to eternity their ideas of what was done in the ages of the world, with relation to the church of God, and God’s wondrous providence with respect to the world of men; and can we then think that a whole million million ages of those great and most glorious things that pass in heaven shall ever be erased out of their minds? But if they retain but one idea for one such vast period, their ideas shall be millions of times more in number than when they first entered into heaven, as is evident, because by supposition the number of such ages will be millions of times more in number; therefore, their knowledge will increase to eternity; and if their knowledge, their holiness; for as they increase in the knowledge of God, and of the works of God, the more they will see of his excellency, and the more they see of his excellency, ceteris paribus, the more will they love him, and the more they love God, the more delight and happiness will they have in him. See Note on Is. lxxxix. 1,2. It will be objected that at this rate we might prove that the damned increase in perfection. I answer, No; for, though it is true that they shall increase in knowledge, they will increase in odiousness in the same proportion.

[112] Heaven. Addition to 2d Corol, of 108. What beauteous and fragrant flowers will these be, reflecting all the sweetness of the Son of God! how will Christ delight to walk in the garden among those beds of spices, to feed in the garden, and to gather lilies!

[152] Heaven. The saints in heaven will doubtless eternally exercise themselves in contemplation. They will not want employ this way; not in exercising their thoughts and study upon intricacies and seeming repugnance, to unfold them and discover another further and further that way, as it is here, but by viewing in their minds one thing after another, as they will naturally be led, and sweetly drawn by love and delight, and with such intenseness as the natural bent of their hearts will cause. Their sight shall reach further and further, and new things shall plainly present to their minds, without the mixture of any error. It is error always from whence intricacy proceeds, and seeming repugnance, and not from ignorance. The object of their thoughts shall be the glory of God, which they shall contemplate in the creation in general, in the wonderful make of it; particularly of the highest heavens, and in the wonders of God’s providence. It shall most clearly and delightfully be manifested in the church of saints and angels, which they shall discover more and more by their conversation, assisting one another to discoveries in other things, and most of all mediate ways in the man Christ Jesus. They shall employ themselves in singing God’s praise, or expressing their thoughts to God and Christ, and also to one another, and in going from one part of heaven and of the universe to another, to behold the glories of God shining in the various parts of it.

[143] Heaven. In the future world the saints’ love, one to another, will be such, that it will be a very delightful consideration to them, that Christ Jesus dearly loves the other saints, and it will fill them with joy to see him manifesting his love to them. They again shall see the other saints rejoicing that Christ loves and delights in them.

Singing is amiable, because of the proportion that is perceived in it: singing in divine worship is beautiful and useful, because it expresses and promotes the harmonious exercise of the mind. There will doubtless in the future world be that which, as it will be an expression of an immensely greater and more excellent harmony of the mind, so will be a far more lively expression of this harmony, and shall itself be vastly more harmonious, yea, than our air, or ear, by any modulation, is capable of, which expressions, and the harmony thereof, shall be sensible, and shall in a far more lively manner strike our perception than sound.

[182] Heaven. How ravishing are the proportions of the reflexions of rays of light, and the proportion of the vibrations of the air! and without doubt God can contrive matter so that there shall be other sort of proportions that may be quite of a different kind, and may raise another sort of pleasure in the sense, and in a manner to us now inconceivable, that shall be vastly more ravishing and exquisite. And in all probability the abode of the saints after the resurrection will be so contrived by God that there shall he external beauties and harmonies altogether of another kind from what we perceive here, and probably those beauties will appear chiefly in the bodies of the man Christ Jesus and the saints. Our animal spirits will also be capable of immensely more fine and exquisite proportions in their motions, than now they are, being so gross; but how much more ravishing will the exquisite spiritual proportions be that shall be seen in minds, in their acts between one spiritual act and another, between one disposition and another, and between one mind and another, and between all their minds and Christ Jesus, and particularly between the man Christ Jesus and the Deity, and among the persons of the Trinity, the supreme harmony of all! And it is out of doubt with me that there will be immediate intellectual views of minds, one of another, and of the Supreme Mind, more immediate, clear, 619 and sensible than our views of bodily things with bodily eyes. In this world we behold spiritual beauties only mediate by the intervention of our senses, in perceiving those external actions which are the effects of spiritual proportion. Hereby the ravishingness of the beauty is much obscured, and our sense of it flattened and deadened; but when we behold the beauties of mind more immediately than now we do the colours of the rainbow, how ravishing will it be! All that there wants in order to such an intellectual view, is that a clear and sensible apprehension of what is in mind should be raised in our own mind constantly according to such and such laws; for it is no other way that we perceive with our bodily eyes, or perceive by any of our senses.

Then also our capacities will be exceedingly enlarged, and we shall be able to apprehend, and to take in more extended and compounded proportions. We see that the narrower the capacity the more simple must the beauty be to please: thus, in proportion of sounds, the birds and brute creatures are most delighted with simple music, and in the proportion confined to a few notes; so little children are not able to perceive the sweetness of very complex tunes, where respect is to be had to the proportion of a great many notes together, in order to perceive the sweetness of the tune; then perhaps we shall be able fully and easily to apprehend the beauty, or, where respect is to be had to thousands of different ratios, at once to make up the harmony. Such kind of beauties, when fully perceived, are far the sweetest.

[188] Heaven. The best, most beautiful, and most perfect way that we have of expressing a sweet concord of mind to each other is by music. When I would form in my mind ideas of a society in the highest degree happy, I think of them as expressing their love, their joy, and the inward concord, and harmony, and spiritual beauty of their souls, by sweetly singing to each other. But if in heaven minds will have an immediate view of one another’s dispositions without any such intermediate expression, how much sweeter will it be! But to me it is probable that the glorified saints, after they have again received their bodies, will have ways of expressing the concord of their minds by some other emanations than sounds, of which we cannot conceive, that will be vastly more proportionate, harmonious, and delightful than the nature of sounds is capable of; and the music they will make will be in a measure capable of modulations in an infinitely more nice, exact, and fine proportion than our gross airs, and with organs as much more adapted to such proportions.

[95] Happiness of heaven. When the body enjoys the perfections of health and strength, the motions of the animal spirits are not only brisk and free, but also harmonious; there is a regular proportion in the motion from all parts of the body, that begets delight in the soul, and makes the body feel pleasantly all over God has excellently contrived the nerves and parts of the human body. But few men since the fall, especially since the flood, have health to so great a perfection as to have much of this harmonious motion. When it is enjoyed, one whose nature is not very much vitiated and depraved, is very much assisted thereby in every exercise of body or mind; and it fits one for the contemplation of more exalted and spiritual excellencies and harmonies, as music does. But we need not doubt but this harmony will be in its proportion in the bodies of the saints after the resurrection; and that as every part of the bodies of the wicked shall be excruciated with intolerable pain, so every part of the saints’ refined bodies shall be as full of pleasure as they can hold; and that this will not take the mind off from, but prompt and help it in, spiritual delight, to which even the delight of their spiritual bodies shall be but a shadow.

[ 98] Happiness. How soon do earthly lovers come to an end of their discoveries of each other’s beauty! how soon do they see all that is to be seen! Are they united as near as possible, and have communion as intimate as possible? How soon do they come to the most endearing expressions of love that it is possible to give, so that no new ways can be invented, given, or received! And how happy is that love in which there is an eternal progress in all those things wherein new beauties are continually discovered, and more and more loveliness, and in which we shall for ever increase in beauty ourselves; where we shall be more capable of finding out and giving, and shall receive more and more endearing expressions of love for ever; our union will become more close, and communion more intimate!

[206] Heaven. In heaven it is the direct reverse of what it is on earth, for there by length of time things become more and more youthful, that is, more vigorous, active, tender, and beautiful.

[263] Heaven. If the saints after the resurrection shall see by light, and speak and hear by sounds, it is probable that the medium will be infinitely finer, and more adapted to a distant and exact representation, so that a small vibration in sound, though the undulations may proportionally decrease according to the distance from their rise or fountain, yet may be conveyed infinitely farther with exactness before they begin to be confused and lost through the sluggishness of the medium, or through the bulk, the roughness, or tenaciousness of the particles, and the conveyance may likewise be with far greater swiftness. The organs also will be immensely more exquisitely perceptive, so that perhaps a vibration a thousand times less than can now be perceived by the ear, may be distinctly and easily perceived by them; and yet the organs may be far more able to bear a very strong vibration man ours in this state; and through niceness of the organ they shall be able to distinguish in the greatest multitude of sounds according to their distance and direction, more exactly by the ear than we do visible objects by the eye; and we know not how far they may clearly hear one another’s discourses. So the eye may be so much more sensible, and the medium of vision (the rays) so much more exquisite, that for aught we know they may distinctly see the beauty of one another’s countenances and smiles, and hold a delightful and most intimate conversation at a thousand miles distance.

The light of the heavenly regions shall be the brightness of glorified bodies, and especially in the countenance, but chiefly that of the man Christ Jesus, and the glory of God, if there shall be any visible appearance representing the presence of the Deity. The light of the face of Christ will, for the above-mentioned cause, be an infinitely more excellent and delightful sort of refulgence than the light of this world. The brightness of the saints shall far excel that; but the splendour of the Son of righteousness shall be immensely more sweet and glorious, except that the light of the bodies of the saints shall be some way or other a communication of the light of Christ, and then the difference will be rather in degree than in kind of brightness, as the light which is reflected from a lily is the same light, but less bright than that of the sun. This world is pleasant to us because the light is sweet, and the sensation is pleasant to the mind; how delightful a place then is heaven with its light, so much more fine, more harmonious, more bright, but yet easy and pleasant to behold! Vide Note on Rev. xxi. 11. Vide Nos. 721, 95, 182.

[264] Spirits separate. Though we do not certainly know that separate spirits can properly be said to be in any place; seeing that a spirit cannot be said to be in place at all, only with respect to the immediate mutual operation there is between that and body; now we know not whether there be any such mutual operation with regard to separate spirits, whether or no there be any immediate excitation of any corporeal ideas, or any other way than as they see them in minds that are united to bodies, or remember them as formerly excited in themselves; I say, though we do not certainly know this, yet it does not seem probable that their manner of existence and receiving ideas shall be so exceedingly different from what it is here, and from the church on earth, with whom they are of the same family, and so exceedingly alien from what it will be after the resurrection, so exceedingly different from the existence of the man Christ Jesus, their head, so exceedingly alien from Enoch and Elijah, some of their number, and who are now of the same glorified society. Doubtless they are not more so than the angels who never were united to bodies; but it seems to me very improbable that there should be no corporeal world with respect to the angels who have so much to do with the church on earth, 620 and who shall be conversant with the saints after the resurrection, and with whom they shall be conversant: I therefore cannot think that as soon as a spirit leaves a body, the corporeal world is annihilated with regard to it, but that corporeal ideas are excited in them by some law. Why is Christ’s body made glorious now in heaven, if there are none in heaven to behold his glory, or if separate spirits do not perceive the beauty of bodies?

[272] Happiness of heaven. It is not only for want of sufficient accurateness, strength, and comprehension of mind, that from the motion of any one particular atom we cannot tell whether that ever has been that now is, in the whole extent of the creation, as to quantity of matter, figure, bulk, motion, distance, and every thing that ever shall be.

[371] Resurrection. The addition of happiness and glory made to the saints at the resurrection, it seems to me evident by the current of the Bible when it tells of those things, will be exceeding great. It is the marriage of the Lamb and the church; the state of things then is the state of perfection; all the state of the church before, both in earth and in heaven, is a growing state. Indeed, the spirits of just men made perfect will be perfectly free from sin and sorrow: will have inexpressible, inconceivable happiness and perfect contentment. But yet part of their happiness will consist in hope of what is to come. They will have as much happiness as they will desire in their existing state, because they will choose to have the addition at that time, and in that order, which God has designed; it will be every way most pleasing, and satisfying, and contenting to them that it should be so. Their having of perfect happiness does not exclude all increase, nor does it exclude all hope, for we do not know but they will increase in happiness for ever. The souls of the saints may now have as much happiness as they, while separate, desire; and such happiness as so answers their nature in its present state, as to exclude all sort of uneasiness and disquietude; and yet part of that happiness, part of that sweet rest and contenting joy, consists in the sight of what is future. They do not desire that that addition should be now, they know that it will be most beautiful, most for God’s glory, most for their own happiness, and most for the glory of the church, and every way most desirable, that it should be in God’s order.

But the more properly perfect and consummate state of God’s people of the church will be after the resurrection; and the whole is now only growing and preparing for that state: all things that are now done in the world, are but preparations for it.

The accession of happiness will consist partly in these things:

1. Then the saints will be in their natural state of union with bodies, glorious bodies, bodies perfectly fitted for the uses of a holy glorified soul.

2. Then the body of Christ will be perfect, the church will be complete; all the parts of it in being; no part of it under sin or affliction: all the parts of it in a perfect state: all the parts of it together no longer mixed with ungodly men: then the church will be as a bride adorned for her husband, therefore the church will exceedingly rejoice.

3. Then the Mediator will have fully accomplished his work; will have destroyed, and will triumph over all his enemies. Then Christ will fully have obtained his reward; then shall he have perfected the full design that was upon his heart from all eternity, and then Jesus Christ will rejoice, and his members must needs rejoice with him.

4. Then God will have obtained the end of all his great works that he had been doing from the beginning; then all the deep designs of God will be unfolded in their events; then the wisdom of his marvellous contrivances in his hidden, intricate, and inexplicable works will appear, the ends being obtained; then God’s glory will more abundantly appear in his works, his works being perfect; this will cause a great accession of happiness to the saints who behold it; then God will fully have glorified himself, and glorified his Son, and his elect; then he will see that all is very good, and will rejoice in his own works, which will be the joy of all heaven. God will rest and be refreshed; and thenceforward will the inhabitants keep an eternal sabbath, such an one as all foregoing sabbaths were but shadows of.

5. Then God will make more abundant manifestations of his glory, and of the glory of his Son, and will pour forth more plentifully of his Spirit, and will make answerable additions to the glory of the saints, such as will be becoming the commencement of the ultimate and most perfect state of things, and as will become such a joyful occasion as the finishing of all things and the marriage of the Lamb. Then also the glory of the angels will receive proportional additions; for the evil angels are then to have the consummation of their reward. So that the good angels will have the consummation of their reward. This will be the day of Christ’s triumph, and the day will last for ever. This will be the wedding-day between Christ and the church, and this wedding-day will last for ever; the feast, and pomp, and entertainments, and holy mirth, and joys of the wedding will be continued to all eternity.

[372] Heaven. It seems to be quite a wrong notion of the happiness of heaven that it is in that manner unchangeable, that it admits not of new joys upon new occasions. The Scriptures tell us that there is joy in heaven, and among the angels of God, upon the conversion of one sinner; and why not among the saints? And if there be new joy upon such an occasion, how great joy have they upon the conversion of nations, and the spiritual prosperity of the whole church on earth! It seems to me evident that the church in heaven have received new joys from time to time upon new occasions, ever since the first saint went to heaven; their joy is continually increased as they see the purposes of God’s grace unfolded in his wondrous providences towards his church. Their happiness is increased as their number increases; as it will be greatly for the happiness of the body of Christ to be completed as it will be at the resurrection, so it is increasing as the body grows towards perfection. The coming of Christ Jesus, I believe, made an exceedingly great addition to the happiness of the saints of the Old Testament, who were in heaven; and especially was the day of his ascension a joyful day among them. Then Abraham, and David, and holy men that lived under the Old Testament, ”received the promise,” which was matter of such joyful expectation to them when on earth. When Christ arose, many bodies of saints of the Old Testament that slept, arose and went to heaven with Christ; for it is unreasonable to suppose they only arose for a few days to die again. The saints must needs have new discoveries of God’s glory upon this occasion, as the angels had, Eph. iii. 10. Luke ii. 14. 1 Peter i. 12..It is evident by those scriptures that the angels saw much more of the glory of God by these things; and if they did, undoubtedly the saints also. It was a great addition to the glory of heaven to have Jesus Christ God man made their head: they had then far more near admittance unto God, and more familiar communication with him, and many other ways did this increase their happiness, and their happiness has been exceedingly greater ever since. Thus the Old Testament prophecies of the glories and blessedness that should attend the coming of the Messiah, I believe, not only aimed at the glory that should be brought to the church on earth, by it, but to that part of the church that was in heaven. Thus, the church of Israel, those same saints to whom those promises were given, do receive them in heaven.

I believe, also, that it greatly contributes to the happiness of the saints in heaven to see the success of the gospel after Christ’s ascension, and its conquering the Roman empire, and that they greatly rejoice at the Reformation from popery; and will exceedingly rejoice at the fall of antichrist and the conversion of the world to Christianity. Those things seem clear to me by many passages in the Revelation, and that their joy is increasing, and will be increasing, as God gradually in his providence unveils his glory, till the last day.

[413] Heaven Separate spirits. One reason why the apostle so much insisted upon the resurrection of the dead, rather than the blessedness of a separate state, as an encouragement to Christians, was because they in those days looked upon Christ’s coming, and so the resurrection, as just at hand.

621[421] Heaven. It seems to me probable that that part of the church that is in heaven have been from the beginning of the world progressive in their light, and in their happiness, as the church on earth has, and that much of their happiness has consisted in seeing the progressive wonderful doings of God, with respect to his church here in this world. Thus Moses with great joy saw the promises of God fulfilled, in bringing the children of Israel into Canaan, with far greater satisfaction than he would have seen it on earth; because he could much better see the glorious ends God proposed by it, and his wonderful wisdom in that work. So those saints, who die now, before the accomplishment of the far more glorious things to the church that God has foretold which are not yet fulfilled, and for which they have prayed and waited, will see the fulfilment of them with greater satisfaction than if they lived upon the earth till they were accomplished. The church in heaven and the church on earth are more one people, one city, and one family, than is generally imagined.

[430] Heaven. As there will be various members of different degrees in the body of Christ in heaven, so it seems to me probable that there will be members of various kinds and different offices, as it is in the church on earth. 1 Cor. x. That is, there will be some especially distinguished for one grace, others for another; some of one manner of the exercise of grace, others of another; some fitted for this work, others for that: every one will have their distinguishing gift, one after this manner, and another after that, the perfection of the saints in glory nothing hindering; for that perfection will not be of such a kind that one saint may not be more eminent than another in grace, or that they shall not be capable of increasing, and so attaining to higher degrees, nor that one grace in the same saint shall not have a more remarkable and eminent exercise than others; and it is most probable, if it be so, that they shall excel most in the same grace, and the same kind of works, by which they were most distinguished on earth: God rewarding their graces and works by giving of them grace more abundantly of the same kind; as Christ hath promised, that “to him that hath shall be given.” This difference will be for the beauty and the profit of the whole: they will profit one another by their distinguishing graces; with respect to those graces they will not be beyond being profited by one another, as well as delighted, they will still be employed, and improving themselves.

[431] Heaven Degrees of glory. The exaltation of some in glory above others, will be so far from diminishing any thing of the perfect happiness and joy of the rest that are inferior, that they will be the happier for it. Such will be the union of all of them, that they will be partakers of each other’s glory and happiness. 1 Cor. xii. 26. “If one of the members are honoured, all the members rejoice with it.”

[432] Heaven, Though the saints in heaven will see their exceeding folly and vileness in much of their behaviour here in this world, will see a thousand times as much of the evil and folly of sin as they do now; yet they will not experience any proper sorrow or grief for it, for this reason, because they will perfectly see at the same time how that it is turned to the best to the glory of God, or at least will so perfectly know that it is so; and particularly they will have so much the more admiring and joyful sense of God’s grace in pardoning them, that the remembrance of their sins will rather be an indirect occasion of joy. Sorrow and grief for sin is a duty, because we are not capable of having so perfect views of those things. But that a right sense of the odiousness and folly of sin will, under all circumstances, necessarily cause grief, is not so clear. A sense of the great evil of sin is good, absolutely considered; but grief for sin is so only in a certain pre-supposed state and circumstances.

[435] Heaven. The church now in heaven is not in its fixed and ultimate, but in a progressive, subordinate, and preparatory state The state which they are in is in order to another. In the employments in which they are now exercised, they look to that which is still future, to their consummate state, which they have not yet arrived at. Their present happiness is, in many respects, subordinate to a future; and God in his dealings with them has a constant and perpetual respect to the great consummation of all things. So it is both with respect to the saints and angels: all things in heaven and earth, and throughout the universe, are in a state of preparation for the state of consummation; all the wheels are going, none of them stop, and all are moving in a direction to the last and most perfect state. As the church on earth is in a state of preparation for the resurrection state, so is that part of the church which is in heaven. It is God’s manner to keep things always progressive, in a preparatory state, as long as there is another change to a more perfect state yet behind. The saints in this world are progressive, and all things relating to them are subordinate and preparatory to the more perfect state of heaven; which is a perfect state, in that it is a state of freedom from sinful and uneasy imperfections; but, when the saints are got to heaven, there is yet another great change yet behind, there is yet another state, which is that fixed and ultimate and most perfect state, for which the whole general assembly both in heaven and earth are designed, and therefore they are still progressive. Not but that I believe the saints will be progressive in knowledge and happiness to all eternity. But when I say the church is progressive before the resurrection, I mean that they are progressive with a progression of preparation for another and more perfect state, their state is itinerary, viatory; their state, their employments, their glory and happiness, are subordinate and preparatory to a future more glorious state.

So, the state of the devils and damned spirits is thus, only in order to a future state of more perfect misery. A criminal in a prison, or in a dungeon, suffers misery, but it is only a subordinate misery, being in order to his approaching execution: so they are spirits in prison, they are bound in chains of darkness to the judgment of the great day. Much of the misery of the devils and damned souls consists in fear; the devil is dreadfully afraid of his approaching punishment, as appears by his so crying out when he was afraid that Christ was going to execute it upon him; he beseeches him not to torment him, and says, “Art thou come to torment me before the time? 530530    Matt. viii. 29. ” So much of the happiness of the saints and angels in heaven consists in hope. The church in heaven, as to the happiness it now has in Christ, compared with its ultimate happiness, is, as it were, in a betrothed state. The introducing of the glorious state that succeeds the resurrection, is like the marriage of the Lamb. The glorification of the separate soul, is a marriage, compared with its state in this world. The coming of Christ into the world, and introducing of the gospel state of the church, is a marriage with respect to the state of the church under the Old Testament; and the appearing of Christ incarnate in heaven upon his ascension, together with the great access of glory to the church, was like a marriage with respect to the state of the glorified church before; and the glorious times of the church on earth after the destruction of antichrist, will be like the marriage of the Lamb. But these are but lower steps; and, in comparison of the final consummation, are but as betrothings, in order to that everlasting marriage of the church with the Lamb, which shall be in the end of the world.

Much of the happiness of the saints, now, consists in beholding and contemplating the wonderful works of God, that are in order to the consummation, the works of God in his church, both in this world and in heaven.

[477] Happiness of heaven, vide Notes on John iv. 14.

[499] Hades Separate spirits Heaven Hell. Our first parents enjoyed great happiness: they dwelt in paradise, and there had a confluence of spiritual and outward blessings and delights, before they had so much as performed the condition of eternal happiness, or had had a trial for it. It need not therefore be wondered at, that the separate spirits of saints should be in a very happy state before they are judged at the last judgment, and that the wicked should be very miserable.

[529] Heaven. There can be no doubt but that the saints in heaven shall see the flourishing and prosperity of the church on earth; for how can they avoid it, when they shall be with the King himself, whose kingdom this church is, and who as King manages all those affairs? Shall the royal family be kept in ignorance of the success of the affairs of the kingdom? They shall also be with the angels, those ministers by whom the King manages 622 affairs. In the flourishing of Christ’s kingdom here on earth consists much of Christ’s mediatorial glory, and of the reward that the Father promised him for his performing -what he did on earth in the work of redemption; the happiness of the saints in heaven consists much in that, that they are with Christ, and are partakers with him in that glory and reward. The saints are not only with the King that reigns over this kingdom, but they reign with him in the same kingdom, they sit with him in his throne; and therefore it is said that they shall reign on earth; that is, when the time of the flourishing and prosperity of Christ’s kingdom comes on earth, when he shall reign here in such a glorious manner in his kingdom of grace, they shall reign with him; so they are said to reign with him a thousand years. Therefore doubtless they are not ignorant of the flourishing of the church here on earth.

Can it be supposed that the saints in heaven had not notice of Christ s incarnation, and did not know what he did here upon earth; and that they had no notice when he was crucified and buried, and rose again; and if not, why should they be ignorant of what succeeded, or of the pouring out of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost; and how the kingdom, of which Christ had thus laid the foundation, flourished? Why should their knowledge of the affairs of Christ’s kingdom on earth cease, as soon as Christ was ascended 1

The saints in heaven are under infinitely greater advantages to take the pleasure of beholding how Christ’s kingdom flourishes than if they were here upon earth; for they can better see and understand the marvellous steps that divine wisdom takes in all that is done, and the glorious ends he accomplishes, and what opposition Satan makes, and how he is baffled and overthrown. They can see the wise connexion of one event with another, and the beautiful order of all things that come to pass in the church in different ages, that to us appear like confusion. They will behold the glory of the divine attributes in his works of providence infinitely more clearly than we can.

The greatest objection that I think of against this, is, the prayer of Simeon; who had it revealed to him, that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah; and when he saw him, said, “Now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation: 531531    Luke ii. 29, 30. ” as though he should have missed of the pleasure and satisfaction of seeing this salvation, if he had died before. But shall we conclude from hence that if Simeon had died before, he would not have known of Christ’s birth? He surely at least would have seen this salvation then, when Christ ascended into heaven. But the case was this: Simeon was now more willing to die, more willing to venture his soul into another world, and could die in much stronger hope, because his faith in God’s salvation was abundantly strengthened by this sight. He had the greater assurance, that when he did depart, he should depart in peace; for his eyes had actually seen the salvation which God had provided for souls, and was therefore more fully persuaded that his soul should be safe and happy in a future state: or if otherwise, it was because the state of separate souls in that particular was not known to him.

Indeed it is desirable to live to see the flourishing of God’s church upon this account; that those saints who live to see it will probably be partakers in that spiritual prosperity; their souls will receive a portion of the Spirit that is then plentifully poured out, and so will be increased in grace and holiness; their own souls will prosper, and will be partakers of the prosperity of the church; and besides, they will have a more glorious opportunity to do good, in having a hand in promoting that public prosperity.

An objection may be raised from Eccl. ix. 6. The dead “have no more a portion for ever in any thing done under the sun;” but see an answer in my notes on the verse.

[546] Separate state Hell torments Heaven. It may possibly seem strange that the torments of the wicked should be so great, while they are only in prison, in order to their judgment and punishment. But there is no difference in God’s dealing with sinners in this respect, from the treatment of malefactors by human judges and rulers, but what naturally arises from the difference of the nature and qualifications of the judges, and the difference of the ends of judgment. Men commit supposed malefactors to prison, in order to a determination whether they are guilty or no, the matter not being yet sufficiently determined; but God, who imprisons wicked men, certainly and infallibly understands whether they are guilty or not: they are not imprisoned, that it may be determined whether they are guilty, but because it is determined and known that they are. The end of human judgment, is to find out whether a man be guilty or no; but the end of divine judgment is only to declare their guilt, and God’s righteousness in their punishment. The guilt of wicked men is infallibly determined when they die: it is fit therefore that they should be bound in chains of darkness and misery; it is fit that God’s enemies, and rebels against him, and the objects of his eternal wrath, should be imprisoned in dark and dismal recesses while they are reserved for execution; it is fit that the prison of the objects of divine wrath should be a doleful horrid abode. So it is fit that those who are his elect, whom he hath chosen to make the objects of his love, should be reserved in a paradise in order to that consummation. It is fit that the church, which is the bride, the Lamb’s wife, should be reserved in a blissful abode previous to the time of marriage. It is fit that in the mean time it should have blessed communion and conversation with God. The glorification of the souls of the saints at their death, is a marriage in comparison of their conversion, and their state of grace; but it is a state of betrothment, compared with the glory that shall be after the resurrection. So the state of the damned separate spirits, though it be inexpressibly doleful, is yet but as a confinement in chains, and a dark dungeon in order to execution, in comparison of their misery after the day of judgment. See Note on Matt. xviii. 34.

[555] Heaven Separate state Angels- The saints are spectators of God’s providences relating to his church here below. (Vide Hebrews vi. 15. Notes.) One end of the creation of the angels, and giving them such great understanding, was, that they might be fit witnesses and spectators of God’s works here below, and might behold all parts of the divine scheme, and see how it was accomplished in the divine works and revelations from age to age. Mortal men see but a very little, they have but a very imperfect view of God’s providence in the world while they live, and they do not live long enough to see more than a very small part of the scheme. God saw fit that there should be creatures of very great discerning, and comprehensive understanding, that should be spectators of the whole series of the works of God; and therefore they were created in the beginning of the creation, that they might behold the whole series from the beginning to the consummation of all things. And therefore we read that they sang together, and shouted for joy when they beheld God forming this lower world. Job xxxviii. 7. So we are taught that they are spectators of the work of redemption, and the progress of it. 1 Tim. iii. 16. Eph. iii. 10. And as God has made them to be spectators of the great works of the divine wisdom and power, so that their minds may be the more engaged and entertained, God allows them to have a subordinate hand in them, and he improves them as his messengers and servants in bringing them to pass.

Hence I argue, that undoubtedly the souls of departed saints are also spectators of the same things; for they go to be in heaven with the angels. The angels carry them to paradise; and we cannot suppose that they leave them there, and that the only opportunity they have to converse with angels from their death till the end of the world, is while they are on their way from earth to Abraham’s bosom. The saints even on earth have from time to time been admitted to converse with angels; and shall they not do so much more familiarly, when they go to be with Christ in paradise? The spirits of just men made perfect, are reckoned as of the same society with the angels, and as dwelling with them in mount Sion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, which the apostle elsewhere calls ”Jerusalem which is above, 532532    Gal. iv. 26. ” by which he doubtless means heaven. Why should not the saints go to be with the angels when they go from their bodies, seeing they are of the same family? The angels are their brethren: why should they be kept separate from the angels, who are their brethren in the same family? as the 623 angel in the Revelation tells John he is of his brethren, Rev. xxii. 9..And if any one would understand that, not of a proper angel, but of the departed soul of one of the saints, then will it make much more to our present purpose. If one of them was sent to reveal to John the providences of God relating to the church on earth, then certainly departed saints are acquainted with them. But that the departed saints do dwell in heaven with the angels, is most evident, because we learn by Eph. iii. 15. that the whole family is in heaven and in earth. Departed saints are doubtless of the family; the angels they also are of the family; saints and angels are all gathered together in one in Christ, Eph. i. 10. Colos. i. 10, 20. But none can doubt but that heaven is the dwelling-place of the angels.

It is no privilege to be continued in this world, to have opportunity to see here the success of the gospel and glorious things accomplished in the church. If this had been any privilege, the man Christ Jesus should have been allowed it: he saw very little success, while he was here, of all that he did and suffered; the success was chiefly after he went to heaven, and there he can see it better than if he were here; and this is part of his promised glory, that he there sees the success of his redemption, and his own kingdom carried on and flourishing in this world, Isa. liii. 10, 11, 12. And it is the will of Christ, that departed saints should be with him where he is, that they may behold this glory of Christ, which the Father gives him, and be partakers with him in it. John xvii. 24.

[565] Heaven Separate spirits. The happiness which the departed souls of the saints being with Christ have before the resurrection, is proleptical, or by way of anticipation. This is not the proper time of their reward: the proper time of the reward and glory of saints is after the end of the world, when an end shall be put to the world’s state of probation; then succeeds the state of retribution. When all the present dispensations of the covenant of grace shall be ended, and Christ shall have brought all enemies under his feet, and shall have fully accomplished the ends and designs of his mediatorial kingdom, and his own glory shall be fully obtained, and he shall have fully finished God’s scheme in the series of revolutions in divine providence; then will be the time of Christ’s joy and triumph, and then will be the proper time of judgment and retribution, and then will be the proper time of the reward and glory of Christ’s followers. The state that spirits of just men are in now is not the proper state of their reward; it is only a state wherein they are reserved against the time of their reward; it is the time wherein the pure chosen espoused virgin is reserved in the King’s house against the day of marriage, and the joy and blessedness that they now enjoy with Christ in their conversation with him, though it appear to us unspeakably great, is only by way of prelibation of what is future, and therefore vastly short of it. Such is God’s overflowing love to them, that, while they are only reserved for their designed glory, they shall be reserved in blessed abodes, as a king would entertain her whom he reserves for marriage, and whom he loves with a strong and ardent love, in no mean manner, but in a way suitable to his love to her and his design concerning her. The state of the blessed souls in heaven is not merely a state of repose, but of a glorious degree of anticipation of their reward; as is evident by Heb. vi. 12. See my Notes on it. Thus it is God’s way, from his overflowing goodness to his people, to grant a prelibation of blessings before the proper season. So the church of the Old Testament had an anticipation of gospel benefits before Christ came, and the gospel days commenced. So the saints now, are allowed in a measure to anticipate the blessedness that is to succeed the fall of antichrist. Rev. vi. 9, 10, 11. “I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held, and they cried with a loud voice, saying. How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given to every one of them; and it was said unto them that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow-servants also, and their brethren also, which should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” Those white robes were the glory and reward which God gave them beforehand, the earnest of what was to be after antichrist’s fall. So the saints here in this world have that light, holiness, and joy, that is an anticipation and earnest of what they are to have in heaven; and what they have now in heaven is but an earnest of what they are to have afterwards at the consummation of all things, and when all things come to be settled in their fixed and eternal state. Therefore the apostle so often speaks of the reward and glory of the saints at Christ’s second coming, and encourages Christians with that, without any mention of the glory which they shall receive before.

[571] Heaven Wisdom and the gloriousness of the work of redemption. When the saints get to heaven, they shall not merely see Christ and have to do with him, as subjects and servants with a glorious and gracious Lord and Sovereign, but Christ will most freely and intimately converse with them as friends and brethren. This we may learn from the manner of Christ’s conversing with his disciples here on earth; though he was the supreme Lord of the disciples, and did not refuse, yea, required, their supreme respect and adoration; yet he did not treat them as earthly sovereigns are wont to do their subjects; he did not keep them at an awful distance, but all along conversed with them with the most friendly familiarity as with brethren, as a father amongst a company of children. So he did with the twelve, and so he did with Mary, and Martha, and Lazarus; he told his disciples that he did not call them servants, but he called them friends. So neither will he call his disciples servants, but friends, in heaven. Though Christ be in a state of exaltation at the right hand of God, and appears in an immense height of glory, yet this will not hinder his conversing with his saints in a most familiar and intimate manner; he will not treat his disciples with greater distance for his being in a state of exaltation, but he will rather take them into a state of exaltation with him. This will be the improvement Christ will make of his own glory, to make his beloved friends partakers with him, to glorify them in his glory, as Christ says to his Father, John xvii. 22, 23. “And the glory which thou hast given me, have I given them, that they may be one, even as we are one, I in them,” &c. For we are to consider, that though Christ be greatly exalted, yet he is exalted not as a private person for himself only, but he is exalted as his people’s head, and he is exalted in their name, and upon their account, and as one of them, as their representative, as the first-fruits: he is not exalted that he may be more above them, and be at a greater distance from them, but that they may be exalted with him. The exaltation and honour of the head is not to make a greater distance between the head and the members, but the members and head have the same relation and union as they had before, and are honoured with the head.

When believers get to heaven, Christ will conform them to himself, he will give them his glory; they shall in their measure be made like to him; their bodies after the resurrection shall be conformed to his glorious body.

Christ, when he was going to heaven, comforted his disciples with that, that after a while he would come and take them to himself, that they might be with him again. And we are not to suppose, when the disciples got to heaven, though they found their Lord in a state of infinite exaltation, yet that they found him any more retiring or keeping at a greater distance from them than he used to do. No, he embraced them as friends, he welcomed them home to their common Father’s house, he welcomed them to their common glory, who had been his friends here in this world, that had been together here, had lived here together, partook of sorrows and troubles, now welcomed them to their rest to partake of glory with him, he took them and led them into his chambers, and showed them all his glory; as Christ prayed, John xvii. 24. “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory which thou hast given me.” And there ensued without doubt a most pleasant and free conversation between Christ and his disciples when they met together in their common rest and glory.

Christ did not behave with greater distance towards his disciples, after they had seen his transfiguration, than before; no, nor after his resurrection; nor will he in his highest exaltation in heaven.

Christ took on him man’s nature for this end, that he 624 might be under advantage for a more familiar conversation than the infinite distance of the divine nature would allow of; and such a communion and familiar conversation is suitable to the relation that Christ stands in to believers, as their representative, their brother, and the husband of the church. The church being so often called the spouse of Christ, intimates the greatest nearness, intimacy, and communion with God. Christ will conform his people to himself; he will give them his glory, the glory of his person; their souls shall be made like his soul, their bodies like to his glorious body; they shall partake with him in his riches, as co-heirs in his pleasures; he will bring them into his banqueting house, and they shall drink new wine with him; they shall partake with him in his dominion; they shall sit with him in his throne, and shall rule over the nations; they shall partake with him in the honour of judging the world at the last day. When Christ shall descend from heaven in the glory of his Father, in such awful and dreadful majesty, with all his holy angels, and all nations shall be gathered before the saints, at the same time shall they be as familiar with Christ as his disciples were when he was upon earth: they shall sit with him to judge with him. As Christ died as the head of believers, and in their name, and was exalted in their name, so shall he judge the world as their head and representative. It was God’s design in this way to confound and triumph over Satan, viz. by making man, whom he so despised, and envied, and thought to have had as a slave to lord it over, and thought to have glutted his own pride, and malice, and envy with his blood, and in his everlasting misery; 1 say, by making man his judge. It was God’s design that the elect of mankind should be Satan’s judge, and therefore the head of them, the elder brother of them, is appointed to this work in the room of the rest, and the rest are to be with him in it. God gave Christ “authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of man,” John v. 27. partly upon this account we have mentioned.

The conversation of Christ’s disciples in heaven shall in many respects be vastly more intimate than it was when Christ was upon earth; vide Notes on John xx. 17. for in heaven the union shall be perfected. The union is but begun in this world, and there is a great deal remains in this world to separate and disunite them; but then all those obstacles of a close union and most intimate communion shall be removed. When the church is received to her consummate glory, that is her marriage with Christ, and therefore doubtless the conversation and enjoyment will be more intimate. This is not a time for that full acquaintance, and those manifestations of love, which Christ designs towards his people.

When saints shall see Christ’s divine glory and exaltation in heaven, this will indeed possess their hearts with the greater admiration and adoring respect; yet this will not keep them at a distance, but will only serve the more to heighten their surprise and pleasure, when they find Christ condescending to treat them in such a familiar manner.

The saints, being united to Christ, shall have a more glorious union with, and enjoyment of, the Father, than otherwise could be; for hereby their relation becomes much nearer, they are the children of God in a higher manner than otherwise they could be; for, being members of God’s own Son, they are partakers of his relation to the Father, or of his Sonship; being members of the Son, they are partakers of the Father’s love to the Son and his complacence in him. John xvii. 23. “I in them, and thou in me: thou hast loved them as thou hast loved me; ” and John xvii. 26. “That the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them; ” and John xvi. 27. “The Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. ” So they are, in this measure, partakers of the Son’s enjoyment of his Father; they have this joy fulfilled in themselves, and by this means they come to a more familiar and intimate conversing with God the Father than otherwise ever would have been; for there is, doubtless, an infinite intimacy between the Father and the Son, and the saints being in him shall partake with him in it, and of the blessedness of it.

Such is the contrivance of our redemption; thereby we are brought to an immensely more glorious and exalted kind of union with God and enjoyment of him, both the Father and the Son, than otherwise could have been. For, Christ being united to the human nature, we have advantage for a far more intimate union and conversation with him than we could possibly have had if he had remained only in the divine nature. So, we being united to a divine person, can in him have more intimate union and conversation with God the Father, who is only in the divine nature, than otherwise possibly could be. Christ, who is a divine person, by taking on him our nature, descended from the infinite distance between God and us, and is brought nigh to us, to give us advantage to converse with him. So, on the other hand, we, by being in Christ, a divine person, ascend nearer to God the Father, and have advantage to converse with him. This was the design of Christ, to bring it to pass that he, and his Father, and his people, might be brought to a most intimate union and communion, John xvii. 21, 22, 23. “That they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me and I in thee, that they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that thou hast sent me; and the glory which thou hast given me have I given them, that they may be made perfect in one.” Christ has brought it to pass, that those that the Father has given him should be brought into the household of God, that he, and his Father, and they should be as it were one society, one family, that his people should be in a sense admitted into the society of the Three Persons in the Godhead. In that family or household, God is the Father; Jesus Christ is his only-begotten and eternal Son; the saints, they also are children in the family, they have all communion in the same Spirit, the Holy Ghost.

Corol. I. Seeing that God hath designed men for such exceeding exaltation, it was but agreeable to his wisdom to bestow in such a way as should abase man and exalt his own free grace, and wherein man’s entire, and absolute, and universal dependence on God should be most evident and conspicuous.

Corol. II. It is easy to observe the wisdom of God, that seeing he designed man for such a height of glory, that it should be so ordered that he should be brought to it from the lowest depths of wretchedness and misery.

Corol. III. Hence we may learn something how vastly greater glory and happiness the elect are brought to by Christ than that which was lost by the fall, or even than that which man would have attained to if he had not fallen; for then man would never have had such an advantage for an intimate union and converse with the Father or Son, Christ remaining at an infinite distance from man in the divine nature, and man remaining at an infinite distance from the Father, without being brought nigh by an union to a divine person.

Corol. IV. Hence we may see how God hath confounded Satan in actually fulfilling that which was a lie in him, wherewith he deluded poor man and procured his fall, viz. that they should be as gods. When Satan said so, he did not think that this would really be the fruit of it, he aimed at that which was infinitely contrary, his lowest depression, debasement, and ruin. But God has greatly frustrated him in fulfilling of it, in making the issue of eating that fruit to be the advancement of the elect to such an union with the persons of the Trinity and communion with them in divine honour and blessedness, and particularly he united one of them, the head and representative of the rest, in a perfect union with the Godhead, and so to the honour, dominion, and work of God in ruling the world, and judging it, and particularly in judging the devils, in which all the rest of the elect, according to their measure, partake with him.

[576.] Heaven’s happiness. If nothing be too much to be given to man, and to be done for man in the means of procuring his happiness, nothing will be too much to be given to him as the end, no degree of happiness is too great for him to enjoy.

When I think how great this happiness is, sometimes it is ready to seem almost incredible. But the death and sufferings of Christ make every thing credible that belongs to this blessedness; for if God would so contrive to show his love in the manner and means of procuring our happiness, nothing can be incredible in the degree of happiness 625 itself; if all that God doth about it be of a piece, he will also set infinite wisdom on work to make their happiness and glory great in the degree of it. If God spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Nothing could have been such a confirmation of their blessedness as this.

[585.] Heaven’s happiness. It has sometimes looked strange to me, that men should be ever brought to such exceeding happiness as that of heaven seems to be, because we find that here Providence will not suffer any great degree of happiness; when men have something in which they hope to find very great joy, there will be something to spoil it. Providence seems watchfully to take care they should have no exceeding joy and satisfaction in this world. But indeed this, instead of being one argument against the greatness of heaven’s happiness, seems to argue for it; for we cannot suppose that the reason why Providence will not suffer men to enjoy great happiness here is, that he is averse to the creature’s happiness, but because this is not a time for it. To every thing there is an appointed season and time, and this agreeable to God’s method of dispensation, that a thing should be sought in vain out of its appointed time. God reserves happiness to be bestowed hereafter, that is the appointed time for it, and that is the reason he does not give it now. No man, let him be never so strong or wise, shall alter this divine establishment by anticipating happiness before his appointed time. It is so in all things: sometimes there is an appointed time for man’s prosperity upon earth, and then nothing can hinder his prosperity; and then when that time is past, then comes an appointed time for his adversity, and then all things conspire for his ruin, and all his strength and skill shall not help him. History verifies this with respect to many kings, generals, and great men: one while they conquer all, and nothing can stand before them; all things conspire for their advancement, and all that oppose it are confounded; and after a while it is right the reverse. So has it been with respect to the kingdoms and monarchies of the world; one while is their time to flourish, and then God will give all into their hands, and will destroy those that oppose their flourishing, and then after that comes the time of their decay and ruin, and then every thing runs backward, and all helpers are vain. Jer. xxvii.

[639] Heaven. Whether the saints, when they go to heaven, have any special comfort in their meeting with those that were their godly friends on earth: I think that it is evident that they will, by 1 Thess. iv. 13,14,. and the following verses, “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not even as others, which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.” Here,

1. It seems to me that what the apostle mentions here as matter of comfort to mourners, is, not only that their departed friends, though dead, shall be happy; they are not so miserable in being dead as persons are ready to imagine, because they shall rise again; but that they shall meet them and see them again, seems to be intimated in the manner of expression, “God shall bring them to them.” Christians mourn when their near friends are dead, because they are departed and gone; they are parted from them; but when they rise God shall bring them to them again; and this is further confirmed by the following verses, especially the 17th and 18th,. “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord: wherefore comfort one another with these words:” where the apostle may well he understood that they should comfort one another, when mourners, with the consideration that they should be hereafter again with their departed friends, and in a glorious and happy state.

2. I think it is evident hereby that there will be something else that will be comfortable in meeting them in a future state than in seeing other saints. The apostle doubtless mentions it as what may be a comfortable consideration to them, that they shall again see and converse with the same persons; implying that they will have a different comfort in seeing them from what they would in seeing other saints; otherwise, why did the apostle mention it for their comfort, that they should see them again, rather than any other saints that they had seen or heard of? The apostle’s speaking thus to the Thessalonians, might give them just ground to expect that that peculiarly dear affection which they cherished for their departed friends, which was crossed by their departure, would be again gratified by meeting them again; for this crossing of that affection was the ground of their mourning. If the Thessalonians knew that to see their friends again in another world would be no gratification to their affection which they had to them as their friends, and did no way think or conceive of it as such, then to think of it would be no more comfort to them, or remedy to their mourning, than to think that they should see any other saint that lived and died in another country, or a past age; and that because it would be no remedy to the ground and foundation of their mourning, viz. the crossing of their affections to them as their friends; and if it would be no remedy to their mourning to think of it, it never would have been mentioned to them by the apostle as a ground of comfort, or a reason why they need not mourn. That was what they mourned for, viz. that they should not have their affections towards them gratified by seeing of them, conversing with them, &c. That was what the heathen, here spoken of, that have no hope, mourned excessively for, that they should never more have that affection gratified. The apostle here would inform them that they have not this ground to mourn which the heathen had, because they should have their affection gratified again.

Hence it follows, that the special affection which the saints have in this world to other saints, who are their friends, will in some respect remain in another world. I do not see why we should not suppose that saints that have dwelt together in this world, and have done and received kindness to each other’s souls, have been assistant to each other’s true happiness, should not love one another with a love of gratitude for it in another world, and that the joy in meeting those and seeing their happiness is part of that joy that is spoken of, 2 Cor. i. 14. “As also ye have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus; ” and 1 Thess. ii. 19, 20. “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? are not even ye in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy.”. Or why those that have loved one another with a virtuous love, and from such a love have shown kindness one to another, should not love one another the better for it in another world? God and Christ will reward them and favour them the more for such love, and all the fruits of it, to all eternity; and I do not see why they should not love one another the more for it. Neither do I see how it argues infirmity for a saint in glory to have a special respect to another, because God made use of him as an instrument to bring him into being, and so is the remote occasion of his eternal blessedness; or because he himself was the occasion of bringing the other into being; or that the same agreeableness of temper, which is the foundation of special friendship here, may be so also in another world, or even that a former acquaintance with persons, and their virtues, may occasion a particular respect in another world. They may go to heaven with a desire to see them upon that account; the idea that they have of them by their acquaintance here, may be what they carry to heaven with them; and the idea we have of the proper object of our love may be an occasion of the exercises of love, especially towards that object, and more than towards another of which we have not the idea.

This should move us to lay religion and virtue on the foundation of all our friendship, and to strive that the love we have to our friends be a virtuous love, duly subordinated to divine love; for, so far as it is so, it will last for ever. Death does not put an end to such friendship, nor can it put an end to such friends’ enjoyment of each other.

[666] Separate state. Texts made use of by Dr. Watts in his essay to prove a separate state: Psal. lxxiii. 24, 26. Eccles. xii. 7. Isa. lvii. 2. Luke ix. 30,31. Acts vii. 59. 2 Cor. v. 1, 2. 2 Cor. xii. 2, 3..It shows that St. Paul thought that a soul might exist, think, know, and 626 act, in paradise, in a state of separation. (Vide my Notes on the text.)Philip i. 21. 1 Thess. iv. 14. 1 Peter iii. 18-20. Spirits in prison: Jude vii. Rev. vi. 9. Heb. xi. 14. The Jews generally supposed separate spirits; and Christ did not correct them. Matt. xiv. 26. Luke xxiv. 36, &c. Acts xxiii. 8, 9. More evident proof: Matt. x. 28. Luke xvi. 22, &c. Luke xx. 37, 38. Luke xxiii. 42, 43. 2 Cor. v. 6, 8. Philip. i. 23, 24. Heb. xii. 23. 2 Peter i. 13,14. To which may be added, Acts i. 25. See my Note on Heb. xii. 1. Blank Bible, p. 766.

[678] Beatifical vision. Whether there be any visible appearance or glory, that is the symbol of the divine presence, in which God manifests himself in heaven, beside the glorified body of Christ: see of the Beatifical Vision, in my sermon from these words, Rom. ii. 10. “But glory, honour, and peace, to every one that worketh good.”

[679] Goodness of God Love of God Happiness of heaven. God stands in no need of creatures, and is not profited by them; neither can his happiness be said to be added to by the creature. But yet God has a real and proper delight in the excellency and happiness of his creatures: he hath a real delight in the excellency and loveliness of the creature, in his own image in the creature, as that is a manifestation, or expression, or shining forth of his own loveliness. God has a real delight in his own loveliness, and he also has a real delight in the shining forth, or glorifying of it. As it is a fit and condecent thing that God’s glory should shine forth, so God delights in its shining forth. So that God has a real delight in the spiritual loveliness of the saints; which delight is not a delight distinct from what he has in himself, but is to be resolved into the delight he has in himself; for he delights in his image in the creature, as he delights in his own being glorified; or as he delights in it, that his own glory shines forth, and so he hath real proper delight in the happiness of his creatures, which also is not distinct from the delight that he has in himself, for it is to be resolved into the delight that he has in his own goodness; for as he delights in his own goodness, so he delights in the exercise of his goodness, and therefore he delights to make the creature happy, and delights to see him made happy, as he delights in exercising goodness, or communicating happiness. This is no proper addition to the happiness of God, because it is that which he eternally and unalterably had. God hath no new delight when he beholds his own glory shining forth in his image in the creature, and when he beholds the creature made happy from the exercises of his goodness; because those and all things are from eternity equally present with God. This delight in God cannot properly be said to be received from the creature, because it consists only in a delight in giving to the creature; neither will it hence follow that God is dependent on the creature for any of his joy, because it is his own act only that this delight is dependent on, and the creature is absolutely dependent on God for that excellency and happiness that God delights in. God cannot be said to be the more happy for the creature, because he is infinitely happy in himself, and he is not dependent on the creature for any thing, nor does he receive any addition from the creature. But yet in one sense it can be truly said that God has the more delight for the loveliness and happiness of the creature, viz. as God would be less happy if he were less good, or if it were possible for him to be hindered in exercising his own goodness, or to be hindered from glorifying himself. God has no addition to his happiness, when he exercises any act of holiness towards his creatures; and yet God has a real delight in the exercises of his own holiness, and would be less happy if he were less holy, or were capable of being hindered from any act of holiness.

Corol. I. Hence when the saints get to heaven they will have this to rejoice them, and add to their blessedness, that God hath a real delight and joy in them, in their holiness and happiness.

Corol. II. Hence God’s love to the saints is real and proper love; so that those have been to blame, who have represented, much to the prejudice of religion, the love of God to creatures as if it were merely a purpose in God of acting as the creature does that has love.

Corol. III. Hence we learn how all God’s love may be resolved into his love to himself, and delight in himself. His love to the creature is only his inclination to glorify himself, and communicate himself; and his delight in himself glorified, and in himself communicated. There is his delight in the act, and in the fruit: the act is the exercise of his own perfection; and the fruit is himself expressed and communicated.

[701] Happiness of heaven increasing. It is certain that the inhabitants of heaven do increase in their knowledge, “the angels know more than they did before Christ’s incarnation, for they are said to know by the church, i. e. by the dealings of God with the church, the manifold wisdom of God: and to desire to look into the account the gospel gives of the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” Ridgley’s Body of Divinity, p. 61/62. vol. 1.

[710.] Heaven Separate state Resurrection Dispensations. How the happiness of the resurrection state will exceed the present happiness in heaven. It looks to me probable, that the glory of the state of the church after the resurrection will as much exceed the present glory of the spirits of just men made perfect, as the glory of the gospel dispensation exceeds the Mosaic dispensation; or as much as the glory of the state of the church in its first or purest state of it, or rather in its state in the Millennium, (wherein alone the glory of the gospel dispensation will be fully manifested,) exceeds the state of the church under the law, and as much as the state, the company, of glorified souls exceed this. Of old, under the Mosaic dispensation, the church saw things very darkly; they saw as it were by a reflex light, as we see the light of the sun by that of the moon; they saw gospel things in dark types and shadows, and in dark sayings, that were, as it were, riddles, or enigmas. The glory of that dispensation was no glory in comparison of the glory of the evangelical dispensation it so much excels, but under the gospel dispensation those dark shadows are ceased, and instead of enigmas or dark sayings, the apostle uses great plainness of speech.2 Cor. iii. 12. The night, in which we saw by a reflex light only, is ceased, and Christ is actually come, we enjoy day-light. John the Baptist was the day-star to usher in the day; and when he was born, the day-spring from on high visited us, as Zachariah his father sang. Luke i. 78, 79. And when Christ himself came, the sun rose; especially when he rose from the dead, and shed forth his light and heat on the day of Pentecost; and now we see the sun by his own direct light, we see him immediately, the veil is taken away, and we all see with open face. 2 Cor. iii. 18. But still, even under the gospel dispensation, we see by a reflex light, we see only the image in a looking-glass in comparison of what we shall in the future state. 1 Cor. xiii. 12. We understand not by plain speeches and declarations, but as in an enigma, or dark saying, as it is said in the same place; for the things of heaven cannot be expressed as they be in our language. The apostle, when he went there, said of them, that it was not lawful or possible to utter them. But when the souls of the saints are separated from their bodies, they shall no longer see heavenly things as in an enigma, or dark saying, for they shall go themselves to heaven to dwell there, and shall immediately see and hear those things that it is not possible or lawful to utter plainly, or know immediately in this world. They shall then no longer see Christ by reflexion as in a looking-glass, because they shall be where Christ himself shall be immediately present; for they that are departed are with Christ, they that are absent from the body are present with the Lord; when that which is perfect is come, then we shall no more see by a looking-glass or enigma, but shall see face to face, as the apostle shows, 1 Cor. xiii. 10, 12. “But when that which is perfect is come,” is said with respect to the separate souls of the saints, as is evident by Heb. xii. 23. for they are there called the spirits of just men made perfect; and therefore when the soul of the saint leaves the body and goes to heaven, it will be like coming out of the dim light of the night into day-light. The present state is a dark benighted state; but when the soul enters into heaven, it is like the rising of the sun, for they shall then see the Sun of righteousness, by his own direct light, because they shall be with him; they will be spirits made perfect 627 in that respect, that is, it will be perfect day with them. Prov. iv. 18. We cannot in the present state see clearly, because we have a veil before us, even the veil of the flesh. The church is Christ mystical: the church in the Old-Testament state was represented by Christ in his fleshly state, such as he was in before his death; for Christ was the head of that church in that state, and was subject to the same ordinances with them, was under the same dispensation with his church till his death.

His flesh was as it were a veil that hindered our access to heavenly things, or seeing them immediately. When Christ died, this veil was rent from the top to the bottom, and the holy of holies, with the ark of the testament, were opened to view; and especially will this be fulfilled in the glorious period of this evangelical dispensation, when the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, Rev. xi. 15, 19. But still the church of Christ has a veil before it, to hinder it from seeing immediately things in the holy of holies; and this veil is their flesh, which is mystically the flesh of Christ. Christ in his members is still in his fleshly state, but when the saints die this veil is rent from the top to the bottom, and a glorious prospect will be opened through this veil.

The day is a time of glory in comparison of the night, because of the sun that is then seen, which is the glory of the visible universe, and by his light fills the world with glory. So the gospel state of the church is spoken of as a state of glory, in comparison of its Old-Testament state. 1 Peter i. 11. “Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” 2 Cor. iii. 10. “For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth;” and this state was prophesied of, of old, as a state of glory, but the state of the holy separate souls is a state of glory in comparison of the present state. Ps. lxxiii. 24, 26. “Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterwards receive me to glory my flesh and my heart faileth, but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.” So it is said of Moses, and Elijah, who were in the state that the saints are now in heaven, that at Christ’s transfiguration they appeared in glory. Luke ix. 30, 31.

But yet the glorified souls of saints in their present state in heaven, though they cannot be said properly to see as in an enigma, is but darkly, in comparison of what they will see after the resurrection. Therefore, though we are said now to see with open face, in comparison of what they did under the Old Testament; and though separate souls in heaven see face to face, in comparison of what we do now; yet the sight that the saints shall have at the resurrection, is spoken of as it were the first sight wherein they should see him as he is. 1 John iii. 2. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” The glory of Christ is what will as it were then first appear to all the church, to all that shall then lift up their heads out of their graves to behold it, as well as to those that will then be alive. It is called the blessed hope, and glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ, with respect to both those companies of which the church consists. The apostle speaks of it as what would be a glorious appearing to them, to the Christians that were then living, Tit. ii. 13.; which implies something that will be seen anew, as though he had been till then unseen. That appearing of Christ will be like the appearing of the sun when it rises to all, both those that shall then be found alive, and those that will then rise: it will be to them both as the morning succeeding the dim light of the night. Ps. xlix. 14. “The upright shall have dominion over them in the morning.” Though, in the state the saints are now in heaven, there is no proper darkness, because there is no evil, yet the light they have is dim, like the light of the night, in comparison of the glorious light that shall appear in that morning. The happiness that separate souls have now in heaven, is like the quiet rest that a person has in bed before a wedding day, or some other joyful and glorious day, in comparison of the light and joy after the resurrection. Isa. lvii. 1, 2. “The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart, and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous are taken away from the evil to come. He shall enter into peace. They shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness.” 1 Thess. iv. 14, 15. “Them which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive, and remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent them which are asleep.” The morning of the natural day when the sun rises, and persons awake out of sleep, and the face of the whole world is revived, seems to be a type of the resurrection, when the saints shall awake out of sweet repose to glory.

The saints now in heaven see God or the divine nature by a reflex light, comparatively with the manner in which they will see it after the resurrection, seeing now through the glass of the glorified human nature of Christ, and in that glass of his works especially relating to redemption, as was observed No. 702.

Of old under the Old Testament, the church of Christ was as a child, Gal. iv. 1.; so still under the gospel dispensation the church on earth is as a child, in comparison of what the church of glorified souls in heaven is, where what is perfect is come.1 Cor. xiii. 10, 11. “But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” But yet the church remains a child, and does not come to the stature of a man until the resurrection. Eph. iv. 10-13. “He that descended is the same also that ascended far above all heavens, that he might fill all things; and he gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying the body of Christ, till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” But this will not be till that time comes, when the work of those offices ceases, which will not be till the end of the world, and there be no further use of them. Matt. xxviii. 20. It will not be till the time comes when he that is ascended shall descend again. It will not be till the church has all its members; and all its members are delivered from all remaining corruption; and all are brought to their consummate glory.

Of old the church was in a preparatory state, as a woman preparing for her marriage. The coming of Christ, his destroying the Jewish state and church, and setting up the gospel dispensation, is compared to the coming of the bridegroom, and his marriage with the church; the gospel day, to the wedding day; and the provision of God’s house under the gospel, to the wedding feast; and gospel ministers, to servants sent out to invite persons to the wedding; Matt. xxii. at the beginning; and Isa. lxi. 10. And especially is the most glorious time of the Christian church on earth, when the glories of the gospel dispensation shall be most fully manifested, called the marriage of the Lamb. Rev. xix. 7. “Let us be glad, and rejoice, and give honour to him; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready,” &c. But yet the translation of the soul from the earthly to the heavenly state at death, is represented as its marriage to Christ, and therefore, Christ’s coming by death, is called the coming of the bridegroom, in the beginning of Matt. xxv. One thing that Christ has there respect to, is his coming by death: this is the application Christ makes of it; in the 13th verse., Christ speaks of the coming of the bridegroom as what would be sudden and unexpected, and as it were at midnight, to them that then were his hearers; and what they therefore should continually watch and wait for, that they might not be found slumbering and sleeping as the foolish virgins were. Matt. xxv. 13. “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” But this manner of speaking is not applicable to those that were then living with respect to Christ’s last coming at the end of the world, but with regard to his coming by death. But yet the glorification of the church after the last judgment is represented as the proper marriage of the Lamb. 628 Rev. xxi. 2. “I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband;” and Rev. xxi. 9. “Come hither, I will show thee the bride the Lamb’s wife.” See Luke xiv. 14, 15,16, &c. compared with Matt. xxii. at the beginning. See No. 774, Corol. 5.

[721] Happiness of heaven after the resurrection Their external blessedness and delight. As the saints after the resurrection will have an external part, or an outward man, distinct from their souls, so it necessarily follows that they shall have external perception, or sense; and, doubtless, then all their sense and all the perception that they have will be delighted and filled with happiness every perceptive faculty shall be an inlet of delight. Particularly then, doubtless, they will have the seeing, which is the noblest of all the external senses, and then, without doubt, the most noble sense will receive most pleasure and delight. This sense will be immensely more perfect than now it is, and the external light of the heavenly world will be a perfectly different kind of light from the light of the sun, or any light in this world, exciting sensations or ideas in the beholders perfectly different, of which we can no more conceive than we can conceive of a colour we never saw, or than a blind man can conceive of light and colours; a sort of light immensely more pleasant and glorious; in comparison of which the sun is a shade, and his light but darkness; and this world, full of the light of the sun, is a world under the darkness of night, but that a world of light affording inexpressible pleasure and delight to the beholders, immensely exceeding all sensitive delights in this world. That the light of heaven, which will be the light of the brightness of Christ’s glorious body, shall be a perfectly different sort of light from that of this world, seems evident from Rev. xxi. 11. and that it will be so, and will also be ravishingly sweet to the eye, is evident from the circumstances of Christ’s transfiguration; (see Note on 2 Peter i. 11. to the end.;) and also from the circumstances of Moses’s vision of God in the mount. (See Note on Exod. xxxiii. 18, to the end.; No. 266.)

But yet this pleasure from external perception will, in a sense, have God for its object, it will be in a sight of Christ’s external glory, and it will be so ordered in its degree and circumstances as to be wholly and absolutely subservient to a spiritual sight of that divine spiritual glory, of which this will be a semblance, an external representation, and subservient to the superior spiritual delights of the saints; as the body will in all respects be a spiritual body, and subservient to the happiness of the spirit, and there will be no tendency to, or danger of, inordinacy, or predominance. This visible glory will be subservient to a sense of spiritual glory, as the music of God’s praises is to the holy sense and pleasure of the mind; and more immediately so, because this that will be seen by the bodily eye will be God’s glory, but that music will not be so immediately God’s harmony.

[741] Happiness of heaven. There is scarce any thing that can be conceived of or expressed, about the degree of the happiness of the saints in heaven, the degree of intimacy, of union, and communion with Christ, and fulness of enjoyment of God, for which the consideration of the nature and circumstances of our redemption by Christ do not allow us and encourage us to hope. This redemption leaves nothing to hinder our highest exaltation, and the utmost intimacy, and fulness of enjoyment of God. Our being such guilty creatures would be no hinderance, because the blood of Christ has perfectly removed that, and by his obedience he hath procured the contrary for us in the highest perfection and glory. The meanness of our nature need be no hinderance, for Christ is in our nature. There is an infinite distance between the human nature and the divine; the divine nature has that infinite majesty and greatness, whereby it is impossible that we should immediately approach to that, and converse with that, with that intimacy with which we might do to one who is in our own nature. Job wished for a near approach to God; but his complaint was that his mean nature did not allow of so near an approach to God as he desired: God’s majesty was too great for him. Job ix. 32,.&c. But now we have not this to keep us from the utmost nearness of access and intimacy of communion with Christ; for, to remove this obstacle wholly out of the way, Christ has come down, and taken upon him our nature; he is as Elihu tells Job he was according to his wish. He is a man as we are; he also was formed out of the clay. This the church anciently wished for, before it came to pass, to that end that she might have greater opportunity of near access and intimacy of communion. Cant. viii. 1. “O that thou wert my brother, that sucked the breasts of my mother, when I should find thee without I would kiss thee, yea, I should not be despised.” Christ descending so low in uniting himself to our nature, tends to invite and encourage us to ascend to the most intimate converse with him, and encourages us that we shall be accepted and not despised therein; for we have this to consider of, that let us be never so bold in this kind of ascending, for Christ to allow us and accept us in it will not be a greater humbling himself than to take upon him our nature. Christ was made flesh and dwelt among us in a nature infinitely below his original nature, for this end, that we might have, as it were, the full possession and enjoyment of him. Again, it shows how much God designed to communicate himself to men, that he so communicated himself to the first and chief of elect men, the elder brother, and the head and representative of the rest, even so that this man should be the same person with one of the persons of the Trinity. It seems by this to have been God’s design to admit man as it were to the inmost fellowship with the Deity. There was, as it were, an eternal society in the Godhead in the Trinity of persons; and it seems to be God’s design to admit the church into the divine family; so that which Satan made use of as a temptation to our first parents, “Ye shall be as gods, 533533    Gen. iii. 5. ” shall be fulfilled contrary to his design. The saints’ enjoyment of Christ shall be like the Son’s intimate enjoyment of the Father, John xvii. 21, 22, 23, 24. “That they may be all one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me have I given them, that they may be one even as we are one; I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one, that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, even as thou hast loved me. Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory which thou hast given me, for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.” John. xvii. 26. “That the love wherewith thou hast loved me, may be in them, and I in them.” The Son’s intimate enjoyment of the Father is expressed by this, that he is in the bosom of the Father; so we read that one of Christ’s disciples leaned on his bosom, John xiii. 23. These things imply not only that the saints shall have such an intimate enjoyment of the Son, but that they, through the Son, shall have a most intimate enjoyment of the Father; which may be argued from this, that the way which God hath contrived to bring them to their happiness, is to unite them to the Son as members, which doubtless is that they may partake with the head, to whom they are so united, in his good. And so 1 John i. 3. “our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.”

We have all reason to conclude that no degree of intimacy will be too much for the manhood of Christ, seeing that the divine Logos has been pleased to assume him into his very person; and therefore we may conclude that no degree of intimacy will be too great for others to be admitted to, of whom Christ is the head or chief, according to their capacity; for this is in some sort an example of God’s love to manhood, that he hath so advanced manhood. He hath done this to the head of manhood, to show forth what honour and happiness God designs for manhood; for the end of God’s assuming this particular manhood was the honour and happiness of the rest. Surely, therefore, we may well argue the greatness of the happiness of the rest from it. The assumption of the particular manhood of Christ was but as a means of the honour and advancement of the rest, and we may well argue the end from the means, and the excellency of the one from the excellency of the other.

Christ took on him our nature, that he might become our brother, and our companion. The saints are called 629 Christ’s brethren, Heb. ii. and his followers. Heb. i. 9. Psal. xiv. 8. “God hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” The Hebrew word properly signifies a companion: Greek or Hebrew comes from a root that properly signifies to consecrate, or to be joined with. This teaches both the saints’ intimate converse with, and enjoyment of, Christ, and their fellowship with him, or being joined with him, in partaking with him in his glory and happiness.

But nothing so much confirms these things as the death and sufferings of Christ. “He that hath not withheld his own Son, but hath freely delivered him up for us all in death, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 534534    Rom. viii. 32. ” If the consideration of the greatness of Christ’s condescension, in taking on him our nature, invites us to ascend high in our intimacy with him, and encourages us that he will condescend to allow us and accept us in it; much more does his so condescending and humbling himself as he did in his last sufferings. No degree of the enjoyment of God that we can suppose, can require grace and condescension that exceeds what was requisite in order to God’s giving Christ to die, or will be a greater expression of love. Christ will not descend lower, nor shall we ascend higher, in having Christ for us, and giving himself to us in such a high degree of enjoyment, than to give himself to us to be our sacrifice, and to be for us in such a degree of suffering. It is certainly as much for God to give his Son to bear his wrath towards us, as it is to admit us to partake of his love towards him.

The latter in no respect seems no more too much to do for a creature, and for a mean worthless creature, than the former. Surely the majesty of God that did not hinder the one will not hinder the other, especially considering that one is the end of the other. We may more easily conceive that God would go far in bestowing happiness on an inferior nature, than that he would go far in bringing sufferings on an infinitely superior divine person; for the former is in itself agreeable to his nature, to the attribute of his goodness; but bringing suffering and evil on an innocent and glorious person, is in itself, in some respect, against his nature. If, therefore, God hath done the latter in such a degree for those that are inferior, how shall he not freely do the former? It will not be in any respect a greater gift for Christ thus to give himself in enjoyment, than it was for him to give himself in suffering.

The sufferings of Christ for believers, also argue the greatness of intimacy with Christ, and fulness of enjoyment of him, that believers shall have, as it shows the fulness of propriety they shall have in him, or right that they have to him. Propriety in any person is just ground of boldness of access and freedom in enjoyment.

The beloved disciple John would not have made so free with Jesus Christ as to lean on his bosom, had not he looked upon him as his own. Christ did in effect give himself to the elect, to be theirs from eternity in the same covenant with the Father, in which the Father gave them to him to be his; and therefore Christ ever looked on himself to be theirs, and they his; and Christ looked on himself to be so much theirs, that he as it were spent himself for them. When he was on the earth, he had, in the eternal covenant of redemption, given his life to them, and so looked upon it as theirs, and laid it down for them when their good required it; he looked on his blood as theirs, and so spilt it for them when it was needed for their happiness; he looked on his flesh as theirs, and so gave it for their life. John vi. 51. “The bread I will give is my flesh.” His heart was theirs; he had given it to them in the eternal covenant, and therefore he yielded it up to be broken for them, and to spill out his heart’s blood for them, being pierced by the wrath of God for their sins. He looked on his soul to be theirs, and therefore he poured out his soul unto death, and made his soul an offering for their sins. Thus he from eternity gave himself to them, and looked on them as having so great a propriety in him as amounted to his thus spending and being spent for them. And as he gave himself to them from eternity, so he is theirs to eternity; the right they have to him is an everlasting right; he is theirs, and will be for ever theirs. Now what greater ground can there be for believers to come boldly to Christ, and use the utmost liberty in access to him, and enjoyment of him? Will it argue Christ to be theirs in a higher degree, for them to be admitted to the most perfectly intimate, free, and full enjoyment of Christ, than for him so to be as it were perfectly spent for them, and utterly consumed in such extreme sufferings, and in the furnace of God’s wrath.

Again: If his enemies were admitted to be so free with Christ in persecuting and afflicting; if Christ, as it were, yielded himself wholly into their hands to be mocked and spit upon, and that they might be as bold as they would in deriding and trampling on him, and might execute their utmost malice and cruelty to make way for his friends’ enjoyment of him; doubtless his friends, for whom this was done, will be allowed to be as free with him in enjoying of him: he will yield himself as freely up to his friends to enjoy him, as he did to be abused by his enemies, seeing the former was the end of the latter. Christ will surely give himself as much to his saints as he has given himself for them.

He whose arms were expanded to suffer, to be nailed to the cross, will doubtless be opened as wide to embrace those for whom he suffered. He whose side, whose vitals, whose heart was opened to the spear of his enemies, to give access to their malice and cruelty, and to let out his blood, will doubtless be opened to admit the love of his saints. They may freely come even ad intima Christi, whence the blood hath issued for them, the blood hath made way for them.

God and Christ, who have begrudged nothing as too great to be done, too good to be given, as the means of the saints’ enjoyment of happiness, will not begrudge any thing in the enjoyment itself.

The awful majesty of God now will not be in the way to hinder perfect freedom and intimacy in the enjoyment of God, any more than if God were our equal; because that majesty has already been fully displayed, vindicated, and glorified in Christ’s blood: all that the honour, of God’s awful majesty requires, is abundantly answered already, by so great sufferings of so great a person. A sense of those wonderful sufferings of Christ for their sins will be ever fixed in their minds, and a. sense of their dependence on those sufferings as the means of their obtaining that happiness. Sufficient care is taken in the method of salvation, that all, that have the benefit of Christ’s salvation, and the comforts and joys of it, should have them sensibly on that foundation, that with their joys and comforts they should have a sense of their dependence on those sufferings and their validity, and that comforts should arise on the foundation of such a sense; and as God began to bestow comforts in this way here, so he will go on in heaven, for the joy and glory of heaven shall be enjoyed as in Christ, as the members of the Lamb slain, and the divine love and glory shall be manifested through him; and the sense they will have of this, together with a continued sight of the punishment of affronting this majesty in those who were of the same nature and circumstances with themselves, will be sufficient to keep up a due sense of the infinite awful majesty of God, without their being kept at a distance; even though all possible nearness and liberty should be allowed. All the ends of divine majesty are already answered fully and perfectly, so as to prepare the way for the most perfect union and communion without the least injury to the honour of that majesty.

Though it might seem that an admission to such a kind of fellowship with God perhaps could not be, without God’s own suffering; yet when Jesus Christ, a divine person, united to our nature, has been slain, way is made for it, seeing that he has been dead: the veil is rent from the top to the bottom by the death of Christ; nothing of awful distance towards the believer can now be of any use, the way is all open to the boldest and nearest access, and he that was dead and alive again is ours fully and freely to enjoy.

Again: We may further argue from the misery of the damned, as God will have no manner of regard to the welfare of the damned, will have no pity, no merciful care, lest they should be too miserable; they will be perfectly lost and thrown away by God as to any manner of care for their good, or defence from any degree of misery; there 630 will he no merciful restraint to God’s wrath; so on the contrary with respect to the saints, there will be no happiness too much for them; God will not begrudge any thing as too good for them; there will be no restraint to his love, no restraint to their enjoyment of himself; nothing will be too full, too inward and intimate for them to be admitted to, but Christ will say to his saints, as in Cant. v. 1., “Eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundance, O beloved.”

Corol. I. Humiliation. Hence we may see a reason why humiliation should be required, in order to a title to those benefits; and why such abundant love has been exercised in all God’s dispensations with fallen man to make provision for man’s humiliation and self-diffidence, and self-emptiness; why it is so ordered and contrived that it should not be by our own righteousness, but altogether by the righteousness of another, viz. that there might be the more effectual provision to keep the creature humble, and in the place of a creature in such exceeding exaltation, and that the honour of God’s majesty and exaltation above the creature might in all be maintained; and how needful it is to believe those truths, and how far those doctrine are fundamental or important that tend to this; and how much they militate against the design and drift of God in the contrivance for our redemption, that maintain contrary doctrine.

Corol. II. Hence we may learn that a believer has more to be free and bold in his access to Christ than to any other person in heaven or earth. The papists worship angels and saints as intercessors between Christ and them; because they say it is too much boldness to go to Christ, without some one to intercede for them; but we have far more to imbolden and encourage us to go freely and immediately to Christ, than we can have to any of the angels. The angels are none of them so near to us as Christ is; we have not that propriety in them: yea, we have a great deal more to encourage and invite us to freedom of access to, and communion with, Christ, than with a fellow-worm. There is not the thousandth part of that to draw us to freedom and nearness towards them, as there is towards Christ. Yea, though Christ is so much above us, yet he is nearer to us than the saints themselves, for our nearness to them is by him; our relation to them is through him.

[743] New heavens and new earth Consummation of all things Heaven. The place of God’s eternal residence, and the place of the everlasting residence and reign of Christ, and his church, will be heaven; and not this lower world, purified and refined. Heaven is every where in Scripture represented as the throne of God, and that part of the universe that is God’s fixed abode, and dwelling-place, and that is everlastingly appropriated to that use. Other places are mentioned in Scripture as being places of God’s residence for a time, as mount Sinai, and the land of Canaan, the temple, the holy of holies; but yet God is represented as having dwelt in heaven before he dwelt in those places. Gen. xix. 24. Exod. iii. 8. Job xxii. 12-14. Gen. xxviii. 12. And when God is spoken of as dwelling in those places, he is represented as coming down out of heaven. So he is represented as coming on mount Sinai. Gen. xix. 11. 18, 20. Exod. xx. 22. Deut. iv. 36. Nehem. ix. 13..So he is represented as coming to the temple. 2 Chron. vii. 3. So when the cloud of glory first came on the tabernacle,Exod. ult. 34. it doubtless was the same cloud that till then abode on mount Sinai; but God had first descended from heaven on mount Sinai, and while God did dwell in the tabernacle and temple, he was represented as still dwelling in heaven, as being still his original, proper, and everlasting dwelling-place, and dwelling in the temple and tabernacle in a far inferior manner. 1 Kings viii. 30. “When they shall pray towards this place, then hear thou in heaven, thy dwelling-place.” So Kings viii. 30, 32, 34, 36, 39, 43, 45, 49. Ps. xi. 4. “The Lord is in his holy temple, the Lord’s throne is in heaven. ” Deut. xxxiii. 26. “There is none like the God of Jeshurun, who rideth on the heavens in thine help, and in his excellency on the sky.” Ps. xx. 6. “Now know I that the Lord saveth his anointed: he will hear him from his holy heaven.” Deut. xxvi. 15. Isa. lxiii. 15. Lam. iii. 50. 1 Chron. xxi. 26. 2 Chron. vi. 21. 23, 27, 30.;vii. 14. Neh. ix. 27, 28. Ps. xiv. 2.;liii. 2. and Ps. xxiii. 13, 14. “The Lord looketh from heaven, he beholdeth all the sons of men from the place of his habitation, he looketh on all the inhabitants of the earth.” Ps. lvii. 3.; lxxvi. 8.; lxxx. 14.cii. 19. “For he hath looked from the height of his sanctuary, from heaven did the Lord behold the earth.” Eccles. v. 2. “God is in heaven, and thou on the earth.” 2 Kings ii. 1. “would take up Elijah into heaven,” and so we have an account how he was taken up, 2 Kings ii. 11. 2 Chron. xxx. 27. Ps. lxviii. 4, 33. Ps. cxxiii. 1. “Unto thee lift I up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in the heavens.” Ps. cxv. 2, 3. “Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God? Our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he pleased.” Lam. iii. 41. 2 Chron. xx. 19. Job xxxi. 2. Ps. cxiii. 5. Isa. xxxiii. 5. Jer. xxv. 30. Isa. lvii. 15.

The manner in which God dwells in heaven is so much superior to that wherein he dwells on earth, that heaven is said to be God’s throne, and the earth his footstool; Isa. lxvi. 1. “Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?”

The holy places on earth, where God is represented as dwelling, are called his footstool. Lam. ii. 1. “And remembered his footstool in the day of his anger;” 1 Chron. xxviii. 2. “As for me, I had in mine heart to build an house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and for the footstool of our God, and had made ready for the building;’’ Ps. cxxxii. 7. “We shall go into his tabernacle, we will worship at his footstool. “God’s sanctuary is called the place of his feet. Isa. lx. 13. “To beautify the place of my sanctuary, and to make the place of my feet glorious.” The inferior manner in which God dwelt in the Jewish sanctuary, was expressed by this, that God placed his name there. Earthly holy places, which were called God’s house, or the place of his habitation, were so in such a manner, and a manner so inferior to that in which heaven is God’s house, that they are represented as only outworks or gates of heaven. Gen. xxviii. 17. “This is none other but the house of God, this is the gate of heaven.” Yea, though God is represented as dwelling in those earthly holy places, yet he was so far from dwelling in them as he does in heaven, that when he appeared in them from time to time, he is represented as then coming from heaven to them, as though heaven were his fixed abode, and not mount Sinai; and the tabernacle and the temple, places into which he would occasionally turn aside and appear. Thus God is said to have descended in a cloud, and appeared to Moses when he passed by him and proclaimed his name, though he had before that from time to time appeared there as in the mount of God, and though Moses had at that time been long conversing with God in the mount. Exod. xxxiv. 5. And so God descended from time to time on the tabernacle. Numb. xi. 25; xii. 5. Heaven is always represented as the proper and fixed abode of God, and other dwelling-places but as occasional abodes. When the wise man speaks of worshipping God in his house, he at the same time would have those that worship him there be sensible that he is in heaven, and not on the earth: Eccles. v. 1, 2. “Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God. Let not thy heart be hasty to utter any thing before God; for God is in heaven, and thou upon the earth.”

So God, when he withdrew from the land of Israel, is spoken of as returning to heaven; which is called his place, as though the land of Israel were not his place, Hosea v. 15. “I will go and return to my place.” And God is spoken of as being in heaven in the time of the captivity, as he is in the prophecy of Daniel, Dan. iv. 37.; Dan. v. 23. and in Daniel’s vision, Dan. iv. 13, 23, 31.

And heaven is also in the New Testament every where represented as the place of God’s abode. Christ tells us that it is God’s throne, Matt. v. 34. This we are taught in the New Testament to look on as God’s temple, after all that was legal and ceremonial concerning holy times and holy places ceased. Acts vii. 48, 49. “Howbeit the Most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands, as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool, what house will ye build me saith the Lord, and where is the place of my rest?” This is the true temple and the true holy of holies, as it is represented in the epistle to the Hebrews. Heaven is the place whence 631 Christ descended, and it is the place whither he ascended. It was the place whence the Holy Ghost descended on Christ, and whence the voice came, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; and is the place whence the Holy Ghost was poured out at Pentecost: and whatever is from God is said to be from heaven, Matt. xvi. 1. Mark. viii. 11. Luke xi. 16. Matt. xxi. 25. Luke ix. 54; xxi. 11. John iii. 27; vi. 31. Acts ix. 3.; xi. 5, 9. Rom. i. 18. 1 Cor. xv. 47. 1 Peter i. 12. Heb. xii. 25. Rev. iii. 12. and other places. The angels are spoken of as coming from heaven from time to time, in the New Testament; and visions of God are represented by heaven’s being opened; and prayer and divine worship are enjoined under the New Testament to be directed to heaven. We are to pray to our Father which is in heaven, which appellation is very often given to God in the New Testament. So we are to lift up our eyes and hands to heaven in our prayers. And heaven is every where in the New Testament spoken of as the place of God and Christ, and the angels, and the place of blessedness; and all good whatever of a divine nature, is called heavenly; and heaven is always spoken of as the proper country of the saints, the appointed place of all that is holy and happy.

Whenever God comes out of heaven into this world, he is represented as bowing the heavens: intimating that heaven is so much the proper place of God’s abode, that it is something very great and extraordinary for him to manifest himself as he is pleased to do in this world among his people; that heaven, the proper place of his abode, is, as it were, rent, or bowed, and brought down in part to the earth to make way for it, 2 Sam. xxii. 10. Psal. xviii. 9.; Psal. cxliv. 5. Isa. lxiv. 1. God is called the God of heaven, the Lord of heaven, the King of heaven, Dan. v. 23.; iv. 37;. ii. 44.

Heaven is so much the proper place of God’s abode, that, by a metonomy, heaven is put for God himself, 2 Chron. xxxii. 20. “And for this cause, Hezekiah the king, and the prophet Isaiah, the son of Amoz, prayed, and cried to heaven;” Psal. lxxiii. 9. “They set their mouth against the heavens;” and when any thing is spoken of in Scripture as being from heaven, the same is to be understood as to be from God; thus the prodigal says, “I have sinned against heaven,” i.e. against God, Luke xv. 21.

Heaven is a part of the universe which God in the first creation, and the disposition of things that was made in the beginning, appropriated to himself, to be that part of the universe that should be his residence, while other parts were destined to other uses.Ps. cxv. 15, 16. “You are blessed of the Lord, who hath made heaven and earth. The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s, but the earth hath he given to the children of men.” God having taken this part of the universe for his dwelling-place in the beginning of the creation, he will retain it as long as the creation lasts.

When man was in a state of innocency, before the world was polluted and brought into the perfect state of confusion, God was in heaven. Heaven was God’s dwelling-place, for the angels fell from thence: we read that when they fell God cast them down from heaven. And therefore, when this polluted, confused state of the world is at an end, and elect men shall be perfectly restored from the fall to another state of innocency, and perfect happiness after the resurrection, heaven will also then be the place of God’s abode.

This lower world in its beginning came from God in heaven. He dwelt in heaven when he made it, and brought it out of its chaos into its present form; as is evident, because we are told that when God did this, the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God, i.e. the angels, shouted for joy. Without doubt the habitation of the angels was from the beginning that high and holy place where God dwells, and their habitation was heaven in the time of the creation, because those that fell were cast down from thence. But if the lower world in its beginning was from God in heaven, without doubt in its end it will return thither: as he dwelt in heaven before, and when he made it and brought it out of its chaos into its present form, so he will dwell in heaven when and after it is destroyed and reduced to a chaos again.

Heaven is that throne where God sits in his dominion, not only over some particular parts of Psal. ciii. 19. “The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom ruleth over all,” i.e. over all his works, or all that he hath made; which appears by Psal. ciii. 22. “Bless the Lord, all his works in all places of his dominion.” Because it is the throne in which God rules over the whole universe, therefore it is the uppermost part of the universe as above all; and it is evident that the heaven where God dwells is far above those lower heavens; it is said to be far above all heavens. And as it is the throne of his universal kingdom, so it is the throne of his everlasting kingdom, as he here reigns by a dominion that is universal with respect to the extent of it. The psalmist in this same place is speaking of things that are the fruits of God’s everlasting dominion, especially his everlasting mercy to his people, (which mercy will be especially manifested after the day of judgment,) as in the words immediately preceding in the two foregoing verses, Ps. ciii. 17, 18. “But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him,” &c. The word here translated prepared, also signifies established, having respect to its firmness and durableness. It is fit, as God’s kingdom is everlasting, so the throne of that kingdom should be everlasting, and never should be changed, for that which moves is ready to vanish away. The everlastingness of God’s kingdom is signified by the same word in the original that in the place now mentioned is translated prepared. Ps. xciii. 2. “Thy throne is established of old, thou art from everlasting,” together with the context.

If God should change the place of his abode and his throne from heaven to some other part of the universe, then that which has hitherto been God’s chief throne, and his metropolis, his royal city, must either be destroyed, or put to a so much meaner use, and be deprived of so much of its glory, as would be equivalent to a destruction; which is not a seemly thing for the chief city, palace, and throne of the eternal King, whose royal throne never shall be destroyed. Psal. xlv. 6. “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever.”

This heaven, that is so often spoken of as the place of God’s proper and settled abode, is a local heaven, a particular place or part of the universe, and the highest or outermost part of it, because it is said to be the heaven of heavens; it is the place where the body of Christ is ascended, which is said to be far above all heavens, and is called the third heaven.

Is it likely that God should change the place of his eternal abode, and remove, and come and dwell in another part of the universe; or that he should gather men and bring them home to himself, as to their great end and centre, whither all things should tend, and in which all should rest?

It is fit that an immutable being, and he who has an everlasting and unchangeable dominion, should not move the place of his throne.

The apostle John, even when he is giving a description of the state of the church after the resurrection, represents the place of God’s abode as being then in heaven, for he says he saw the new Jerusalem descending from God out of heaven.

The dwelling-place of the saints is said to be eternal in the heavens; 2 Cor. v. 1. “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

If any say that this earth will be heaven after the day of judgment, is it not as easy to say that, after the resurrection, heaven will be the new earth? is there any more force upon words one way than the other?

The natural images and representations of things seem to represent heaven to be the place of light, happiness, and glory; such as the serenity and brightness of the visible heavens, of which I have spoken elsewhere.

It is an argument, that this globe we now dwell upon is not to be refined to be the place of God’s everlasting abode, because it is a movable globe, and must continue moving always, if the laws of nature are upheld. It being 632 so small, it cannot remain and subsist distinct among the neighbouring parts of the universe without motion; but it is not seemly that God’s eternal glorious abode, and fixed and everlasting throne, should be a movable part of the universe.

As heaven will be everlastingly the place of God’s chief, highest, and most glorious abode; so without doubt it will be the place of Christ’s everlasting residence, and therefore the place whither he will return after the day of judgment. He who has had the honour and glory of dwelling in this glorious abode of God hitherto, will not have his honour diminished after he has completed all his work as God’s officer, by then dwelling in a place far separated from God’s dwelling-place. If he returned in triumph to heaven, entering into the royal city after his first victory in his terrible conflict under sufferings, much more shall he return thither after his more perfect and complete victory, when all his enemies shall be put under his feet after the day of judgment. And if Christ, after the day of judgment, returns to heaven to dwell, doubtless all his saints shall go there with him; he will invite them to come with him and inherit the kingdom prepared for them before the foundation of the world.

The place of both Christ and his church, their everlasting residence, will be heaven: when Christ comes forth at the day of judgment with the armies of heaven, the saints and angels attending him, it will be as it were on a white horse going forth to a glorious victory. And as the Roman generals after their victories returned in triumph to Rome, the metropolis of the empire, delivering up their power to them that sent them forth; so will Christ return in triumph to heaven, all his armies following him, and shall there deliver up his delegated authority to the Father. As Christ returned to heaven after his first victory, after the resurrection of his natural body, so he will return thither again after his second victory, after the resurrection of his mystical body.

[745] New heavens and new earth. It is manifest that the world of the blessed, that is, the new world, or the new heavens and earth, or the next world that is to succeed this as the habitation of the church, is heaven, is the same world that is now the habitation of the angels. For heaven, or the world of the angels, is called the world that is to come. Eph. i. 20-22. “Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come; and hath put all things under his feet.” Heaven, the habitation of principalities and powers, is that which is here called the world to come, as being the world that was to succeed this, as the habitation of the church. It cannot be understood in any other sense, or merely that Christ was to be at the head of things in the new world when it did exist; but it speaks of what is already done and was done at Christ’s ascension, a past effect of God’s mighty power, according to the working of the exceeding greatness of his power which he wrought in Christ Jesus when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places.

[775] Happiness of separate saints. The proper time of Christ’s reward is not till after the end of the world, for he will not have finished the work of Mediator till then; but yet he has glorious rewards in heaven before. The proper time of the angels’ reward is not till the end of the world; and their work of attending on, and ministering to, Christ in his humbled militant state, both in himself and members, or body mystical, is not finished till then; but yet they are confirmed before, and have an exceeding reward before. The proper time of the saints’ reward is not in this world, nor is their work, their hard labour, trial, and sufferings, finished till death; but yet they are confirmed as soon as they believe, and have an earnest of their future inheritance, the first-fruits of the Spirit, now. And so, though the proper time of judgment and reward of all elect creatures is not till the end of the world, yet the saints have glorious rewards in heaven immediately after death.

[889] Heaven the eternal abode of the church. The house not made with hands is eternal in the heavens; but, if the saints’ abode in heaven be temporary as well as their abode on earth, it would not be said so; their house there would be but a tabernacle as well as here. By the house eternal in the heavens, it is evident there is some respect had to the resurrection body, which proves that the place of the abode of the saints after the resurrection will be in heaven, as well as before.

If the saints were only to stay in heaven till the resurrection, then they would be pilgrims and strangers in heaven, as well as on earth, and the country that the saints of old declared plainly that they sought, though they were in possession of the earthly Canaan, will be but a temporary Canaan, as well as the earth; and in some respects more so, because the earth is to be their eternal abode, (though changed,) and not heaven.

We are directed to lay up treasure in heaven, as in a safe place, where it will be subject to no change or remove. The names of the saints are written or enrolled in heaven, and they have their citizenship in heaven, as being their proper fixed abode where they belong, and where they are to be settled. The inheritance incorruptible, is reserved in heaven for the saints, and they are kept by the power of God to this salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time, or at the day of judgment. So that the inheritance in heaven is the saints’ proper, incorruptible, and everlasting inheritance; and the saints shall be so far from changing the place of their abode in heaven for an abode on a renewed earth at the day of judgment, that this is the proper time of the church’s being translated to this incorruptible inheritance in heaven, and the whole army of Israel’s passing Jordan to that inheritance; for that is the last time wherein this salvation shall be revealed.

The Lord from heaven does not come to give his elect the country of the earthly Adam only renewed to the paradisiacal state wherein the earthly Adam enjoyed it; Col. i. 5. “For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven. ” The proper time of the reward of the saints is after the resurrection, as is evident by Luke xiv. 14. “But thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just; ” and the proper place of that reward is heaven, as is evident by Matt. v. 12. ” Rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven; ” Heb. x. 34. ” Ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance; ” and the time, when the apostle encourages them that they shall receive this enduring substance in heaven, is when Christ comes to judgment, as is evident by the three following verses.

Christ is entered into the holiest of all, and is set down for ever on the right hand of God in heaven, and therefore will not eternally leave heaven to dwell in this lower world in a renewed state.

Christ ascended into heaven as the forerunner of the church; and therefore the whole church shall enter there, even that part that shall be found alive at the day of judgment. Christ entered into heaven with his risen and glorified body, as an earnest of the same resurrection and ascension to the bodies of the saints; therefore, when the bodies of the saints shall rise, they shall also ascend into heaven. See No. 743.1184.

[917] Saints in heaven acquainted with what is done on earth. That the blessed inhabitants of heaven are very much occupied in observing gospel wonders done on earth, and that their blessedness in seeing God consists very much in beholding his glory as displayed in those wonders, is manifest not only by the book of Revelation, but many other passages of Scripture; as Psal. lxxxix. which treats of these wonders; Psal. lxxxix. 5. “And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O Lord; thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints;” and Psal. xix. 1, 2. considering the subject of the psalm, see Psal. cxlix. 5-9. to the end, with Notes on verses 5 and 9. See Matt. xix. 29. Mark x. 30. Luke xviii. 29.

[952] New heavens and earth -Consummation of all things Progress of the work of redemption. Heaven shall be changed and exalted to higher glory at the end of the world. The creation consists of two parts, upper and lower. Thus we read of the worlds, in the plural number, that were made in the creation, Heb. i. 2. which the apostle in the next chapter distinguishes into two, viz this world, and the world to come, Heb. i. 5. as also Eph. i. 21. The upper world is said to be the world to come, both because it is future to us in this world, and also because the whole 633 elect church it is to succeed this world when this is destroyed, and also on another account, that we will observe by and by. The one of these worlds God hath made for his own Son, and for his attendants, and ministers, the angels; and the other for man. Psal. civ. 16. “The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s, but the earth hath he given to the children of men.” According to the two different kinds of intelligent creatures that God hath made, angels and men, there are two worlds. The one is corruptible, but the other incorruptible; the one is that which can be shaken, the other that which cannot be shaken, but shall remain to all eternity. But yet both in their own nature are mutable; and that heaven is incorruptible, is by the divine will and grace, and not necessarily from the nature of heaven. If the angelic nature, the highest and most excellent part of heaven, is corruptible, or liable to be shaken and destroyed, as appears by the event; doubtless the place, what is inanimate in heaven, is in its own nature capable of destruction. Heaven is not unalterable in its own nature, so but that it may be exalted. That part of the universe that is capable of ruin is not so unalterable in its own nature, but that it may be brought to a higher excellency; but the highest heavens in their own nature are capable of ruin in the highest and most excellent part of it, in the head of all that part of the creation, and so of the whole creation, viz, Lucifer.

God only is incorruptible in his own nature. The one of these worlds is to fall and be ruined, and is to be the eternal seat of those creatures that fell and are ruined; the other is to stand, and to be exalted and brought to higher excellency, perfection, and glory, and is to be the seat of those creatures that stand, and are brought to higher excellency. As all the intelligent creatures that God hath made the inhabitants of the universe, all the spiritual world, (which is the chief part of the universe, and instar totius,) is mutable and is to be changed, either by suffering ruin, or by being exalted to a vastly higher perfection; so is the whole universe itself (the habitation, the inferior and inanimate part of the universe) all of it mutable, and all to be changed, either by suffering ruin, or being gloriously exalted in excellency. This universal change shall be at the end of the world, or immediately after the day of judgment. Then shall be the change on the inhabitants: some shall perish, and others shall he exalted to an immensely higher degree of excellency and glory. And so shall it then be with the two worlds: this lower world, that is to be the place of those that perish, shall be destroyed by fire; the upper world, that is to be the seat of the elect, shall be exalted exceedingly in its nature. And this is the new creation, so far as that respects the external and inanimate universe. This will be the external new heavens, and new earth; as there are two spiritual worlds, the elect and the reprobate, so there are two natural worlds, that are to be the everlasting external seats or places of those spiritual worlds. And as it is to be with those spiritual worlds themselves, that one will be destroyed as in a spiritual furnace of fire, and the other will be exalted to a state of excellency and glory, vastly greater than their original excellency; as even the angels, the original inhabitants of heaven, will be; so there is no reason to think but that it will be likewise with the two external worlds, which they have relation to.

When God created this lower world, he made different orders or ranks of creatures, of which the lower creation is constituted, of which man is the most noble and excellent; and so when God made the upper world, he made different parts, of which the angelical nature is the most noble and exalted, and those parts which constitute the habitation are inferior. Surely, therefore, the angels, the highest part of the upper creation, will be changed and exceedingly exalted in the glory in which they shine (as doubtless they will be in some proportion to the great and vast alteration that will be made in the glory of the saints, seeing the day of judgment is the proper time of the reward of the angels as well as saints). There is no reason to think that the inferior parts will not also be proportionally exalted.

God built heaven chiefly for an habitation for Christ, his dear Son, and the angels themselves are made for him, and are as it were only parts of his house, or habitation; as it is said of the church in Heb. iii. 6. All that is in heaven is a habitation for God’s beloved Son; the angels are only the more noble and excellent parts of the structure, the chief ornaments of the building. The inanimate parts of heaven are to the angels a habitation; but the intelligent parts of it are to Christ a habitation. As they are called his chariots, the seat on which he rides, so they are his throne, the seat on which he reigns. As the throne is the noblest part of the palace, and as God built the whole of the upper world to be a habitation for his dear Son; so when the time comes that God shall reward his Son for his perfect and great obedience, and finishing his great work appointed him to do, when the work he was appointed to in his office is all finished at the end of the world, and the time comes for him to receive his full reward, to be glorified with his complete and highest glory in the head and all his members, and all enter into heaven together at Christ’s last and greatest ascension thither; the house shall be garnished and beautified exceedingly, to make it fit for his reception in this his highest glory, as it shall be so with the glorious angels who are his chariot, in which he shall ascend, (they shall ascend in far greater glory than they descended, because they shall have received the glory that is their reward,) and who will be his throne when he is come thither, and the chief and most noble parts of the building. I say, as they will be as it were made new, appearing in new glory, so will it be with all the inferior parts of the habitation. The house shall be garnished to prepare it for the glorious bridegroom, who shall enter into it with his blessed bride in her complete and perfect beauty, when they shall enter into heaven to celebrate the solemnity, and to partake of the glorious entertainments and joys, of an eternal wedding; as when king Ahasuerus made a great feast, wherein he showed the riches of his glorious kingdom and the honour of his excellent majesty; and, to show the beauty of his queen, the palace was exceedingly adorned on that occasion. Eph. i. 6.

There is nothing in the Scripture that in the least intimates the external heaven or paradise to be unchangeable, and not capable of being perfected and exalted to higher glory. There is nothing so but the divine nature itself; and it is too much honour to any created thing to suppose it to be so perfect, that no occasion whatsoever, even the reward of the infinite merits of the infinitely beloved Son of God himself, is occasion great enough for allowing of it, or that shall render it fit and proper, that it be yet further adorned. The only heaven that is unalterable, is the state of God’s own infinite and unchangeable glory; the heaven which God dwelt in from all eternity, which is absolutely of infinite height and infinite glory, and which might metaphorically be represented as the heaven that was the eternal abode of the blessed Trinity, and of the happiness and glory they have one in another; which is a heaven that is uncreated, and the heaven from whence God infinitely stoops to behold the things done in the created paradise; and of which, that which we conceive of as the infinite and unchangeable expanse of space, that is above and beyond the whole universe, and encompasses the whole, is the shadow. This is what is meant,Isa. lvii. 15..(See Notes in loc.)

It is true the things of the highest heavens are things that cannot be shaken, but shall remain through divine grace. Heaven is God’s throne, and his throne is established for ever, and therefore shall be for ever and ever, and the saints shall receive a kingdom that cannot be moved. Heb. xii. 28. Heaven is a city that has foundations, whose builder and maker is God; it is a house not made with hands, and so eternal. This is an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away. What is reserved in heaven is represented in Scripture as far above the reach of all the changes of time that should injure it, and the doors of the palace are everlasting doors. Psal. xxiv. But none of these things argue heaven to be in any other respect unchangeable, than only as being above all changes that might destroy it, or mar it, or in any respect fade its glory, or bring it into any danger of those things. Heaven is no otherwise out of the reach of change than the precious jewels and treasures that are there kept are so, as the angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect, and the man Christ Jesus, the most precious and brightest 634 jewel that God has made, the first-born of every creature, the crown and glory of heaven and men, the sun of that world of light; but yet all these are susceptive of change in this respect, that they will be exalted to vastly higher glory. Christ’s glory after the day of judgment will be greater than before, as the devil that has managed the war against him shall then be punished for all the mischief that he has done. So Christ, God’s General, the Captain that he hath sent forth in this great war against his enemies, when he shall have fully conquered and put down all authority and power, having come forth out of heaven to that end with all his hosts, and has so gloriously finished all the work that his Father gave him a commission for, shall be exceedingly rewarded and glorified. When he shall return with the victory in every respect perfect, he shall enter the city with great triumph to receive a great reward from the Supreme Authority of the city. If Christ God man, the King of heaven, and its most bright and precious jewel, the first-born of every creature, the head and crown, ornament and glory of heaven, and its bright and only luminary, the Sun of heaven, whose glory and sweetness is the fullness, and glory, and happiness of all that world; who is the Alpha and Omega of all that is there, and the sum of all; I say, if he shall be exalted in glory, why not the place, the external habitation that is the lowest part of that world? The habitation has not the honour of being immutable and immovable in a higher sense than this King and end and glory of heaven himself is. The man Christ Jesus becomes immortal and eternal at his resurrection, but yet that was no impediment in the way of his being, as it were, further glorified, as it were, in infinitely higher degrees, as in his first and second ascension. That the highest heavens pass under such a change at the end of the world, is no argument that it is with that as it is with the visible heavens that wax old as a garment; any more than the change on the body of Christ at his ascension, or on the bodies of Enoch and Elias, and on the bodies of those that arose with Christ, is an argument of the like waxing old.

If the highest heaven might be as it were bowed and rent, (though it be the throne of God,) that the eternal Son of God might come down on the earth, to be the subject of his humiliation; doubtless it is as capable of being adorned and made higher and higher on occasion of his glorification.

The external heavens, and the human nature of Christ, are the external house and temple of God in different senses; but the human nature, or body, of Christ, including both the head and the members, including his human nature with his church, is the house and temple of God in the highest sense. This is immensely the most noble temple of God. But if this, which is the palace of God in so much the highest sense, will pass under a glorious change; why should not the external house, which is the temple of God in a much inferior sense, and which indeed is to be but a house for this house, pass under a glorious change? If the inner temple, the highest and most holy part of the temple, shall be so much exalted, why may we not suppose that the external temple, the outer courts, or the outermost curtains of the tabernacle, be changed and made proportionally more beautiful?

Christ mystical, or Christ and his church, and the external heaven, are the city of God, or the new Jerusalem, in different senses; but the former in vastly the highest and noblest manner. But if the city of God, or the new Jerusalem, that which is called so in the highest sense, shall be so exalted and adorned with new glory at the head of the universe; why not that external new Jerusalem, that is as much inferior to the other as the body is to the soul? If the soul shall be glorified and made better, why not the body? if the body, why not the garment? if the inhabitants, why not the house?

The body of Christ is the dwelling-place of his soul; and therefore when God the Father glorified the soul of Christ, he also glorified his body, because he judged it meet that the alteration in the house should be answerable to the alteration in the inhabitant. And so, for the same reason, the bodies of the saints shall be glorified as well as their souls; and there is just the same reason why heaven, the house of Christ, and the house of his saints, or in one word, the house of Christ mystical, should be exalted to higher glory at the same time that Christ mystical himself, the inhabitant, is exalted to higher glory.

The church is Christ’s temple: Christ is spoken of as dwelling in the saints. This temple of Christ, the new Jerusalem, shall, at the end of the world, when Christ comes to receive his full reward, be exceedingly adorned, to fit it for Christ’s indwelling; as we see by Rev. xxi. 2. And why shall not the other temple of Christ, that which is so in an inferior sense, be proportionally adorned at the same time? Is it not rational to suppose that the whole tabernacle shall be proportionally adorned and beautified; the outer curtains proportionally with the inward curtains of blue, purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen?

The infinitely glorious and beloved Son of God’s shedding his blood, and enduring those extreme sufferings in obedience to his Father’s will, was a thing great enough to obtain this, even that the very heaven of heavens should be made new, with new glory for him; it was great enough to lay the foundation for an universal refreshing, renewing, or new creation, of all elect things, that all things both spiritual and external should be immensely exalted in perfection, beauty, and glory.

It seems impossible that it should be otherwise than that all heaven should put on new glory at the same time that Christ put on new glory; all must be allowed proportion, for Christ is the glory of heaven, the beauty and ornament, the life and soul, of all; and there is no glory there, but only the reflection of his glory, and the emanation of his brightness and life, and the diffusion of his sweetness. Every manner of beauty or excellency there, is immediately dependent on him: there is no shining or lustre, no fineness or purity, no vivacity or pleasantness, in any thing there, but it is in such a manner dependent on him, as appear to be immediately, every moment, from him, as a kind of diffusion of his glory and sweetness on every thing, and into and through every thing; so that the most inward nature of every thing there receives all excellency, and all purity, and preciousness, and sweetness from him immediately. In heaven, Christ appears and acts most visibly and sensibly as the Creator, and Life, and Soul, and Fountain of all being and perfection, and he of whom and through whom all things are, and by whom all immediately consist. Thus the glory of the latter house will in every respect be greater than the glory of the former house, because Jehovah, the angel of the covenant, shall come into his temple, and fill the house with his glory. Christ’s appearing in glory will be that which will glorify the bodies of his saints, as though it was an immediate visible communication of his glory and life to them, as from the head to the members. Nothing but his presence in so great glory effects the thing; and so will it be with respect to every thing else that is external in heaven.

Thus as the face of the earth rejoices at the return of the sun in the spring, and there is a great alteration in it, it puts on new beautiful garments of joy, and gladness, and welcomes the sun; and its renewed beauty is from the sun, from his diffused glory, and sweet vivifying influence, in which all the face of the earth rejoices; so it will be in heaven when Christ returns thither in his highest glory after the day of judgment, all heaven will rejoice, and put on new life, new beauty, and glory, to welcome him thither.

[1122] Heaven perfected. The external heaven surrounds Christ, not merely as a house surrounds an inhabitant, or as a palace surrounds a prince; but rather as plants and flowers are before the sun, that have their life and beauty and being from that luminary; or as the sun may be encompassed round with reflections of his brightness, as the cloud of glory in mount Sinai surrounded Christ there.

[1126] Heaven perfected, after the day of judgment. Solomon s temple was a great type of heaven; and the prophet Haggai foretells that the glory of the latter temple shall be greater than that of the former, because that the Messiah, “the desire of all nations,” should come into it; Hag. ii. 6, 7, 8. “For thus saith the Lord of hosts, Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; and I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of 635 hosts. The glory of the latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts. And in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts. ” I suppose that what was here foretold concerning that typical temple, was fulfilled much more properly and amply concerning heaven itself, when the Messiah entered into it at his first ascension; and will be fulfilled to a much more glorious degree still at his second ascension, at Christ’s entrance into that heavenly temple, with his glorified and complete mystical body, as well as his natural body, after God has in a literal manner shaken the heavens, and the earth, the sea, and the dry land, and shaken all nations.

The beautifying and adorning the temple of Jerusalem so exceedingly but a little before Christ came into it, seems to be some shadow of this; and I believe was intended as a type of it; though not parallel in every circumstance, as the beautifying of it not being at the very instant of Christ’s first entering into the temple, and some other circumstances. This seems also to be typified by the immensely more glorious abode that the ark had in Solomon’s time than that which it had in David’s time. The carrying up of the ark into mount Zion in David’s time, was a type of Christ’s first ascension into heaven, as is evident from Scripture; and the carrying of it up into mount Moriah, into Solomon’s glorious temple, is a type of his second more glorious ascension into a more glorious abode at the end of the world. David’s militant reign till all the enemies of Israel were subdued under them, was a type of Christ’s present reign in heaven, over his church till the resurrection, which is a militant reign; for till the end of the world he goes on fighting, and will continue so to do till all enemies are made his footstool. As yet we see not all things put under him, and the last enemy that shall be conquered is death, which shall be at the end of the world. Solomon’s glorious reign in perfect peace and tranquility, with all subdued under him, and settled in subjection to him, is a type of the reign of Christ after the end of the world: all enemies shall be subdued: and the place of the ark in his reign, in this glorious and most magnificent temple, was a type of the abode of Christ in heaven, in its advanced glory, at the consummation of all things. It is the same heaven, only sublimated and exalted to exceeding greater glory; which is typified by the mountain of the temple, being called by the same name after the ark was removed into it, that the place of its former abode was called by, viz. mount Zion; so that the ark is represented as never changing its place from mount Zion; and when it was carried into mount Zion, God said of it Psal. cxxxii. 13, 14. “This is my rest for ever, here will I dwell; for I have desired it.”

There is a place somewhere in the universe, (perhaps in the central parts of the earth,) that is called hell; but hell will be made immensely more terrible after the day of judgment, when instead of that fire in the centre of the earth, all the visible universe shall be turned into a great furnace: and probably heaven will be made as much more glorious, after the day of judgment, as hell will be made more terrible.

Thus the external new Jerusalem, or the glorious and eternal abode of the church of God; (which cannot be excluded from the description in the two last chapters in Revelations, because there is in the description often a distinction made between the city and the saints that are the inhabitants;) I say, thus the external new Jerusalem will come down from God out of heaven; i.e. heaven, in this new creation of it, shall come down from the infinitely high and uncreated heaven, in which God had dwelt from all eternity, from which God stoops and humbles himself to behold the things that are in heaven.

Thus that will be fulfilled that is proclaimed in Rev. xxi. 5. “And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. “The whole creation, external and spiritual, shall be altered, and new formed; and thus the new creation will be parallel with the first creation that Moses gives us an account of, to which it is spoken of as parallel in Scripture; and all the elect creation, which is composed of all elect things in heaven and in earth, shall be gotten together in Christ, and all made new, both spiritual and external; all that appertains to the elect, not only elect spirits, but their external habitations: their bodies, that are the microcosm or their particular habitations; and the microcosm, that is, the general habitation. There shall be collected all that is elect in heaven or earth, being all perfectly purified by fire, and not mixed with the reprobate part of the world, and all shall be made new, and so is justly called “the new heaven and new earth.” There will be new angels and new men, new bodies and new spirits: things that are originally of the earth made new, and things originally of heaven also made new. Though the place of the church of Christ (for whose sake chiefly all heaven and earth is made) be different from what it was before; she dwells in another place, instead of that heaven and earth that was her habitation before; yet it is called by the same name, but only new, as the ark when it moved from Zion to mount Moriah carried the name with it, only it was a New Zion.

When God has obtained his end of the universe that he created in the beginning, when all things are brought to issue into their end at the consummation of all things, and God in the final event appears to be the OMEGA, as he was the ALPHA; then God will show his mighty power a second time towards the whole: toward the reprobate part of the creation, in terribly destroying it; and towards the elect part, in bringing it to its highest perfection. The elect creatures, who are the eye and mouth of the creation, who are made to behold God’s works, and to give him the glory of them, did not behold the first creation. The angels did not behold the first creation of heaven, that most glorious part of the creation, nor did they see the creation of themselves; and men beheld no part of God’s work in producing the creation; but the time will come when God will make all things new by a new creation, wherein his power towards the whole will be much more displayed than in the first creation. When God shall effect this creation, men and angels shall see God perform it, they shall see God produce the new heaven and new earth by his mighty power. Men, who saw the creation of nothing in the first creation, shall see the creation of all, and even their own new creation; and angels shall see the creation of heaven and of themselves: all shall see that creation that shall be a work so much more wonderful, and so much greater than the former, that the former shall not be mentioned, nor come into mind.

Conflagration. Many suppose the fire of the conflagration will be a purifying fire, by which the heavens and the earth will be refined in order to their standing forth in new perfection and beauty. This is very true, yet not in the manner in which many seem to understand. It will indeed be the fire by which the whole universe shall be purified, i.e. by which it shall be purged from its reprobate parts; all the filthiness of the whole universe shall be gathered into it, there to be consumed. The reprobate part of heaven was removed out of it to be cast into this fire; the filthiness that once was there is consumed here, and so is all that is reprobate and filthy in the earth. It is a purifying fire, as it is the fire of God’s justice and holiness; but the justice and holiness of God shall perfectly purify heaven and earth, and purge all the elect creation from all manner of defilement or mixture of that which is reprobate; whereby it will be fitted to be exalted to its highest beauty and glory. And not only so, but such a wonderful and terrible display of the holiness and justice of God, will be a great means of further sanctifying all the elect universe, setting them at a vastly greater distance from sin against this holy God, and a means of vastly exalting the purity and sanctity of their minds.

Many have supposed that the place of the residence of the saints after the day of judgment, would be different from what it is before; that the paradise in which the departed souls of saints are now, is different from the heaven into which they shall admitted after the day of judgment; and that paradise is only a place of rest in which the saints are reserved till the day of judgment, when they shall be admitted into heaven. Here is a mixture of truth with error. It is true that the habitation of the saints, after the day of judgment, will be new and different, exceeding different, from what it was before, but not in that manner that has been supposed: not that the place or situation will be different, there is no need of that; but the habitation will be new created, and shall 636 appear with quite new and transcendently more excellent glory.

It may be objected against what has been at the day of judgment, will invite his saints to “inherit the kingdom here supposed, that Christ, prepared for them from the foundation of the world;” as though it were the same heaven, that was made and prepared for them at the first creation, which they were now going to inherit.

Answer. It is the same house then built, not taken down, never shaken or removed, but only made more glorious; as they are the same angels of heaven that were made for the saints, from the foundation of the world, though they shall be so much more glorified that they will be as it were new creatures. As it will be with the angels of heaven, who are the principal part of the kingdom spoken of, so it will be with the external habitation: it was prepared for them at the foundation of the world the foundation of it was laid then, and has been preparing from the foundation of the world; from that time that the foundation of the world was laid, it has been preparing ever since, in all that has been done to it, and in it, and about it. And not only the kingdom is prepared from the foundation of the world in creating heaven, and in what has been done there from that time; but the creation of the whole universe was made to prepare a kingdom for them, to lay a foundation for their kingdom and dominion, and all that has been done in providence, ever since, has been to prepare a kingdom for them. And these words of Christ are a good argument, that the work of redemption is the end and sum of all God’s works. It was the end of the creation of the whole universe, and of all God’s works of providence in it.

Quest. By whom and at what time will this glorious work of God, in making the highest heavens new, be accomplished. Will it be done by God the Father in the absence of his Son, while he is here in this lower world taken up in the concerns of the last judgment, to garnish heaven or prepare it for his Son with his blessed bride against their coming? or will it be accomplished by the Son at his return into heaven with his church?

Answer. Not by the former, but by the latter; for the following reasons.

1. All communicated glory to the creature must be by the Son of God, who is the brightness or shining forth of his Father’s glory: and therefore when the eternal world comes to receive its greatest brightness and glory, it will doubtless be by him, and it will be by him as God man; for all that God doth by Christ, or the medium of communication between himself and the creature since Christ became God man, or at least since as God man he has been glorified and enthroned as Lord of the universe; he doth by Christ as God man, in whom it hath pleased the Father that all fulness should dwell, and that in all things he should have the pre-eminence. As he glorifies the angels and saints who are the inhabitants, so doubtless it will be he who will glorify the habitation.

2. The old creation was by him, the highest heavens were created by him; for without him was not any thing made that was made; it was said concerning him, Heb. i. 10. “Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of thine hand, ” and not only the visible but the invisible heavens were created by him; for he is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature, and the beginning of the creation of God; for by him were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by him and for him, and he is before all things, and by him all things consist. So likewise the new creation will be by him, for by him God makes the worlds; not only the visible but the invisible world, not only the present world, but the world to come, that new world, the new heavens and new earth; for God hath given him a name above every name that is named, not only in this world but in that which is to come, Eph. i. 21. By the world to come in that place, the apostle seems to mean the new world that shall follow when the age of this shall be at an end, for the word is Greek or Hebrew; this age, and that which is to come; and unto Christ hath God put in subjection the world to come. If God committed to him the creation of the old world, much more would he commit to him the creation of the new, for it is his business to renew all things. The creation of the new heavens and the new earth is by the work of redemption, which is his work; and it is a work that he works out as God man, and therefore as God man he will make the heavens new. All new things are by Christ: the new creature, the new name, the new covenant, the new song, the new Jerusalem, and the new heavens and new earth, are all by Christ, God man.

3. The destroying the lower world, the reprobate part of the creation, is committed to him; and therefore much more will the glorifying of the elect part of it be his work, for this is his most proper business; the other is his business more indirectly, and in subordination to this.

4. The creation is certainly by him, as to the principal parts of it, viz. the glorifying the saints and angels. He shall build the inner temple, and doubtless, therefore, he will build the outer temple. The glorifying of that, which is his temple and city in the highest sense, is committed to him; and therefore, doubtless, the glorifying of that which is the temple and city in an inferior sense will be committed to him.

5. If Christ as God man shall be the author of this work, he will doubtless be so visibly; for the work is committed to him for his honour. It is an honour that the Father commits to him in reward of what he has done and suffered; it shall therefore be visibly done by Christ, as God man, and therefore will not be effected in his absence here in this lower world; but he shall be present when it is done, and shall visibly put forth his power and communicate his influence and glory in order to it.

6. If this work were wrought while Christ is here in this lower world judging the world, then this new creation would not be seen by men and angels, which is not to be supposed.

7. If this work be wrought in Christ’s absence, then that world will not be glorified by the presence of the Sun of righteousness, as the face of the earth is renewed and glorified by the return of the sun in the spring.

The Lamb is the light, and glory, and sun of the new Jerusalem, and therefore the new brightness and life, vigour, bloom, and beauty, and fragrancy, and joy, of this world, will be from him and from his presence.

After the curse is executed on the universe of the ungodly, and all the angels and saints have beheld the dreadful execution; then Christ, with all his elect church, now perfect, shall ascend to heaven, and Christ shall come and present his church, now perfectly redeemed, to the Father, saying, ” Here am I, and the children whom thou hast given me; ” and having thus finished all the work that the Father had given him to do, he shall deliver up the kingdom to the Father. Then shall the Father, with infinite manifestations of endearment and delight, testify his acceptance of Christ, and of his church thus presented to him, his infinite acquiescence in what his Son has done, and his complacency in him, and in his church; and in reward shall now give them the joy of their eternal marriage feast, and he himself will dress his Son in his wedding robes. The human nature of Christ, or Christ as God man, shall be the subject of a new glorification then, when he shall be the subject of those smiles of the Father, and those infinitely sweet manifestations of his acceptance and complacency, when he shall present his redeemed church, and deliver up the kingdom; and from the manifestations of complacency, the Son shall be changed into the same image of complacency and love, and shall put on that divine glory, the glory of the infinitely sweet divine love, grace, gentleness, and joy, and shall shine with this special light far more brightly than ever he did before, shall be clothed with those sweet robes in a far more glorious manner than ever before: then shall that be fulfilled in the highest degree; Ps. xxi. 6. “For thou hast made him most blessed for ever; thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance;” and also the fore-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 637 array him in the brightest robes of love and grace, as his 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 robes 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 consummate 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 communicated 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, flies 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 on fire; yet this destruction will not actually be at Christ’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 immensely 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 a 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, John 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 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 himself from his infinite height and become man, and also provided the feast at such infinite expense as that of his own blood. We read of Ahasuerus, a great king, when he made a feast 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 happiness of the saints in heaven shall be so great, that the very majesty of God shall be exceedingly shown in the greatness, and magnificence, and fulness 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 strongly argued from those texts that speak of the just and the meek inheriting the earth, and their having in the present time much 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; 2 Sam vii. 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 lifetime as a small thing, in comparison of it, 2 Sam. vii. 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, knowest thy servant.” And this he insists upon 638 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 thought 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 make his soul enjoy good in his labours;” and Eccles. 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. ” Eccles. iii. 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 neither 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 beholding 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 will enjoy 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 head. And if the saints did know, they would not have strength sufficient; but in Christ their head they have perfect knowledge and infinite strength.

[1089] 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 their vital head. They are in some sense the glorified body of Christ; they are with him as it were in all things, being partakers with him in all, all his exaltation and glory, all his reward, all his enjoyment of God the Father, all his reward by obtaining the joy set before him, his reign here on earth, the glory of his reign in his kingdom of grace, the bestowment of the promised reward in what is done to the elect here, his enjoyment of the success of his redemption, his seeing his seed, the pleasure of the Lord prospering in his hands, his justifying many by his righteousness, his conquering his enemies, his subduing and triumphing over Satan, and antichrist, and all other enemies. What he sees of God, they in their measure see; what he sees of the church of God on earth, and of the flourishing of religion here, they see according to their capacity; what he sees of the punishment of his enemies in hell, they see in him; and therefore this damnation of the enemies of Christ, and its being in the presence of the inhabitants of heaven, consisting of Christ, and saints, and angels, is expressed thus, Rev. xiv. 10. “They shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:” saying nothing of the glorified saints, including them in the name of the Lamb. Christ, with his glorified mystical body, being but one mystical person, for he is the head of the glorified body, as the sight of the eyes that are in the head are for the information of the whole body, and what he enjoys they enjoy; they are with him in his honour and advancement; they are with him in his pleasures; they are with him in his enjoyment of the Father’s love; the love wherewith the Father loves him is in them, and he in them; they are with him in the joy of his success on earth; they are with him in his joy at the conversion of one sinner. The good shepherd, when he has found the sheep that was lost, calls together his friends and neighbours, saying,Luke xv. 5,6. “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost, “And they are with him in his joy at the conversion of nations, and the world. The day of Christ’s espousals is the day of the gladness of his heart, Cant. iii. 11. The day of the marriage of the Lamb is the day of Christ’s rejoicing. Isa. lxii. 5. Zeph. iii. 17. So it is the day of the gladness and rejoicing of the hearts of the saints in heaven, Rev. xix. 1-9. When he rides forth in this world, girding his sword on his thigh in his glory and majesty, to battle against antichrist and other enemies, they are represented as riding forth in glory with him, Rev. xix. and in his triumph they triumph. They appear on mount Zion with him with palms in their hands; and as Satan is bruised under his feet, so he is bruised under their feet also. The saints, therefore, have no more done with the state of the church and kingdom on earth, because they have left this world, and have ascended into heaven; than Christ himself had, when he left the earth and ascended into heaven, who was so far from having done with the prosperity of his church and kingdom here, as to any immediate concern in those things, by reason of his ascension, that he ascended to that very end, that he might be more concerned, that he might receive the glory and reward of the enlargement and prosperity of his church, and the conquest of his enemies here, that he might reign in this kingdom, and be under the best advantages for it, and might have the fullest enjoyment of the glory of it, as much as a king ascends a throne in order to reign over his people, and receive the honour and glory of his dominion over them. Christ came with clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and was brought near before him to that very end, that he might receive dominion and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve him, Dan. vii. 13, 14. God the Father bade him sit at his right hand, that his enemies might be made his footstool, and rule in the midst of his enemies, and that he might enjoy that glorious reward that is called receiving the dew of his youth, and judging among the heathen, and wounding the heads over many countries, Psal. cx. God the Father set Christ on his holy hill of Zion, to that end that he might have the heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession. And when the saints leave this lower world by death, and ascend to heaven, they do but follow their forerunner; they ascend as it were with him, they are made to sit together in heavenly places in him, they are exalted to partake of his exaltation, they have written upon them the name of the city of his God, and his own new name, to sit with him in his throne, as he, when he ascended, sat down with the Father in his throne, to rule with him over the same kingdom, to partake with him in his reward, his honour, his victory, and triumph over his enemies, his joy that was set before him, viz. the joy of the success of his redemption, the joy of seeing his seed, of finding his lost sheep, the satisfaction of seeing of the travail of his soul, &c. They in this world travail with him for the same thing, they are crucified with Christ, they deny themselves to promote and advance his kingdom and glory in the world: they many of them suffer with him, and die with him, in the very same cause, and their sufferings are called a filling up of the sufferings of Christ; and as they suffer with him on earth in this cause, so they shall reign with him, they shall enjoy with him the prosperity of that cause, that interest which they sought by their labours and sufferings, as he did by his labours and sufferings when he was on the earth. They shall be as much with Christ in partaking with him of the glory of his reigning over the world in his kingdom of grace, as they shall partake with him in the glory of his judging the world. Indeed they now are not visibly to the inhabitants of the earth reigning with Christ over his kingdom of grace here; as they will hereafter be seen judging the world with Christ. No more is Christ himself now seen by the inhabitants of the earth visibly reigning here, as he will be seen judging at the day of judgment; but yet this does not hinder, but that he does now as truly reign here, and possess and enjoy the glory of this dominion, as he will truly judge at the end of the world.

The saints in going out of this world and ascending into heaven, do not go out of sight of the affairs that appertain to Christ’s kingdom and church here, and things appertaining to that great work of redemption that is carrying on here; but on the contrary, go out of a state of obscurity, and ascend above the mists and clouds into the bright light, and ascend a pinnacle in the very centre of light, where every thing appears in clear view. The saints that are ascended to heaven have advantage to view the state of Christ’s kingdom in this world, and the works of the new creation here, as much greater than they had before, as a man that ascends to the top of a high mountain has greater advantage to view the face of the earth than he had while he was below in a deep valley or forest, surrounded on every side with those things that impeded and limited his sight.

On this account, as well as others, both Christ and his saints are beautifully represented as ascending and reigning on a mountain, mount Zion, God’s holy mountain, the mountain of the height of Israel, &c. On this mountain, they have their kingdom in view; as David, who dwelled and reigned in mount Zion, had Jerusalem in view; and as the saints in heaven have greater advantage to see those things, so also to enjoy them, to see the glory of them, and receive comfort and joy by them. They are under great advantage to possess them as theirs, being with Christ who does possess, in communion with whom they enjoy and possess their infinite portion, their whole heavenly inheritance and kingdom; as much as the whole body has all the pleasure of music by the ear, and all the pleasure of its food by the mouth and stomach, and all the benefit and refreshment of the air breathed in by the lungs; and thus it is the saints in heaven sing to the lamb, Rev. v. 9, 10. “Thou art worthy, &c. for thou hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, and hast made us kings and priests, and we shall reign on the earth. ” Thus it is, “The meek shall inherit the earth; ” for Christ is the heir of the world, he has purchased the kingdom; the kingdom is promised him by the Father, and at last shall be given him when other kingdoms are destroyed, Dan. vii. 14. and the saints are heirs; with Christ, and shall inherit with him the same kingdom, and reign in the same kingdom, and so they shall enjoy the victory with him: he binds kings in chains; and all the saints shall have that honour with him,Psal. cxlix. 5, to the end..And thus it is that, when the time comes that Christ shall break his enemies with a rod of iron, they also shall have power over the nations, and shall rule them with a rod of iron, &c. Rev. ii. 26, 27, 28. And thus it is the souls of the martyrs of Jesus shall live and reign with Christ a thousand years. Rev. xx. They shall be most nearly interested in this revival or spiritual resurrection of the church that shall be then; that shall be in some sense the resurrection of Christ himself, in the same manner as the setting up the kingdom of Christ in the world, is represented as Christ’s being born. Rev. xii. They shall possess the joy and happiness of that revival of the church; it will be as much their own, and much more in some respects, than of the saints on earth; see Rev. xix. the former part of the chapter. Thus Abraham, who is spoken of as the heir of the world, inherits it, possesses his inheritance, and shall enjoy the great promise of old made to him.

As the saints in heaven shall be under much greater advantage in heaven to see and enjoy God than when on earth, so they shall be proportionally under much greater advantage to see and enjoy the works of God, and especially those works of God which appertain to the work of redemption; which is that work by which God chiefly manifests himself to the inhabitants of the heavenly world, and especially the redeemed there. The saints and angels see God by beholding the displays of his perfections, but the perfections of God are displayed and manifested chiefly by their effects. The chief way wherein the wisdom of God is to be seen, is in the wise acts and operations of God, and so of his power, and mercy, and justice, and other perfections. But these are seen, even by the angels themselves, chiefly by what God does in the work of redemption. Eph. iii. 10. “To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places, might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God. ”

Corol. Hence we learn one reason, why the promises of the future glory of the church in this world are so much insisted on in the word of God, delivered to his church ages before the accomplishment.

Objection. In Eccles. ix. 5, 6. it is said of the dead, that they know not any thing; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.

Ans. 1. Their having no more a portion, &c. implies no more, than that they shall no more be interested in sublunary things, or in any worldly concern. But not that they are not interested in the spiritual and heavenly affairs of that family of God, that is not of the world, that are chosen and called out of the world, and redeemed from the earth; and, as is represented by the apostle, do not live in the world, but have their conversation and citizenship in heaven.

2. It is manifest that, by the context, the wise man speaks of temporal death as it is in itself, and not as it is by redemption, an inlet into a more happy state, in those that are redeemed from death, from the power of the grave; for the dead are here said to have no more a reward, and as being in a far worse state than when living. Eccles. ix. 4. The wise man’s design and drift leads him to speak of temporal death, or death as it is in itself, with regard to things temporal and visible, without any respect to a future state of existence; and therefore, all that is implied is, that the dead body knows not any thing; they that are in their graves know not any thing; not but that the immortal soul that never dies knows something, knows as well that the dead body shall rise again, as the living know that they must die. It is in this sense, and no other, that all things come alike to all, and there is one event to the righteous and the wicked, Eccles. ix. 3. and preceding verses. The event is the same in the death of both, only as temporal death is the same in all. In this sense, as dieth the wise man, so the fool. Eccles. ii. 16.

Texts of Scripture that show that the saints in heaven see, and are concerned and interested in, the prosperity of 640 the church on earth. Matt. xix. 27, to the end. Prov. x. 30. Psal. xxv. 13.

[1095] Saints in heaven reign on earth. It is evident, when Christ promises a kingdom to his true followers, as he does especially in Luke xxii. 29, 30. that one thing especially intended, is their rejoicing with him in his kingdom of grace on earth; by Christ’s words in that place: “And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me, that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” By this it also appears, that by that expression, used here and elsewhere, of sitting on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel, is not intended merely judging the world with Christ at the day of judgment; (as indeed it will be unreasonable on other accounts to suppose this chiefly intended, for the saints’ judging the world, at the day of judgment, will not consist in their judging the church of God; for they shall all have the blessed sentence pronounced on them together, and sit down on Christ’s right hand together, to be assessors with him in judging others: after this they shall not judge one another ever again;) but their judging the world will consist in their judging angels and wicked men.

[1119] The saints in heaven acqainted with what is done on earth. It is an argument of this that God so often calls the heavens to be witness of his dealings with men on earth, Deut. xxxi. 28.;xxxii. 1.; iv. 26.; xxx. 19. Psal. i. 4. Isa. i. 2.

[1121] Saints and angels in heaven acquainted with what is done on earth. The psalmist, in Psal. lxxxix. speaking of the work of redemption, the covenant God had made with his chosen, God’s prosecuting the designs of his mercy and covenant faithfulness in his dealings with his church from age to age, and gradually bringing the designs of his mercy to their consummation, as an architect gradually erects and completes a building, Psal.lxxxix. 1, 5. says, Psal. lxxxix. 5. “The heavens shall praise thy wonders, O Lord, thy faithfulness also in the congregation of thy saints,” or holy ones. Now this cannot be merely such a figure of speech as when sometimes the earth, seas, rocks, mountains, and trees, are called upon to praise the Lord. This is rather a prediction of an event that shall come to pass, of the notice the heavens shall take of those particular wonders of God’s mercy and faithfulness, and their celebrating them in their praises, and doing it in the assembly of God’s holy ones. And what assembly can that be but that which we read of, Heb. xii. 22, 23.? Such a praising of the heavens seems here to be spoken of, as is described in Rev. v. 8, to the end.; vii. 9-11, 15-17.; xii. 10-12.;xiv. 3.; xviii; 20.; xix. 17.

[1134] Heaven, the everlasting abode of the church. That the saints shall enter into heaven after the day of judgment, and not continue with Christ here below, is evident; John xiv. 2. 3. “In my Father’s house are many mansions: I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” Doubtless these words, “I will come again and receive you to myself, that where I am.” &c. will be most eminently fulfilled at Christ’s second coming at the end of the world, that second coming spoken of, Heb. ix. 28. And when it is said he will receive them to himself to be where he is, he must be understood, to the place to which I am now to go, to that house of my Father to which I am ascending, in which I am going to prepare a place for you. At my second coming I will receive you to those mansions which 1 now go to prepare in my Father’s house.

It is also evident that Christ went to the highest heavens, the third heaven, far above all heavens, at his first ascension, as the forerunner of his people; implying that they shall all go there in their turn, or after him; and doubtless in this he was the forerunner of them, with respect to their reception of their proper reward, or their complete happiness, which will not be till the last day; and their forerunner as to a bodily ascension or translation, wherein the saints’ bodies shall be made like to Christ’s glorious body, and shall ascend as that did; but they will not have glorified bodies till then. And he is doubtless the Forerunner of the whole church in going to heaven; which he would not be, if after the day of judgment the saints were to stay here below; for those, who shall then be found alive, in such a case never would ascend into heaven at all. And then it is most reasonable to suppose, that Christ will be the first-fruits in his ascension, in like manner as in his resurrection; but Christ is the first-fruits in his resurrection with regard to what the saints shall be the subjects of at the second coming of Christ: 1 Cor. xv. 23. “Christ the first-fruits; afterwards they that are Christ’s at his coming.”

[1137] Happiness of heaven. When God had finished the work of creation, he is represented as resting, and being refreshed and rejoicing in his works. The apostle compares the happiness Christ entered into, after he had finished his labours and sufferings in the work of redemption, to this, Heb. iv. 4,10.

Therefore we may well suppose, that very much of Christ’s happiness in heaven consists in beholding the glory of God appearing in the work of redemption; and so in rejoicing in his own work, and reaping the sweet fruit of it, the glorious success of it, which was the joy that was set before him. And as the apostle represents the future happiness of the saints by a participation of God’s rest and Christ’s rest from their works, Heb. iv. 4-11. This seems to argue two things, viz.

1. That the way that the saints will be happy in beholding the glory of God, will be very much in beholding the glory of his perfections in his works.

2. That the happiness of the saints in heaven, especially since Christ’s ascension, consisting in beholding God s glory, will consist very much in seeing his glory in the work of redemption. The happiness of departed saints under the Old Testament, consisted much in beholding the glory of God in the works of creation; in beholding which, “the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy. 535535    Job xxxviii. 7. ” But their happiness, since Christ’s ascension, consists much more in beholding the glory of God in the work of redemption, since the old creation, in comparison of this, is no more mentioned, nor comes into mind. But they will be glad and rejoice for ever in this work.

The beatific vision of God in heaven consists mostly in beholding the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, either in his work, or in his person as appearing in the glorified human nature.

[1246] The saints higher in glory than the angels. It is evident that the four and twenty elders in the Revelation do represent the church or company of glorified saints by their song. Rev. v. 9, 10. “Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” But these are represented from time to time as sitting in a state of honour, with white raiment and crowns of gold, and in seats of dignity, in thrones of glory, next to the throne of God and the Lamb, being nextly the most observable and conspicuous sight to God, and Christ, and the four living ones. Rev. iv. 4. “And round about the throne were four and twenty seats, and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment, and they had on their heads crowns of gold.” So Rev. v. 6. “And I beheld, and lo, in the midst of the throne, and of the four living ones, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb, as it had been slain.” And the angels are represented as further off from the throne than they, being round about them, as they are round about the throne, and the beasts, and the elders, and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands. So Rev. vii. 11. “And all the angels stood round about the throne and about the elders, and fell down before the throne on their faces and worshipped God.” These things make the matter of the superiority of the privilege of the saints in heaven very plain.

[1281] Hades Saints before the resurrection Saints in heaven have communion in the prosperity of the church on earth. There are three things very manifest from Heb. vi. 12. “That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”

641 1. That the souls of the saints do go to a state of rewards and glorious happiness before the resurrection. That although the resurrection be indeed the proper time of their reward, and their happiness before be small in comparison of what it will be afterwards, yet that they are received to such a degree of happiness before, that they may be said to be in possession of the promises of the covenant of grace. Those whom the apostle has reference to, when he speaks of them that now inherit the promises, are the Old-Testament saints, and particularly the patriarchs, as appears by the next words, where the apostle instances in Abraham, and the promise made to him, and of his patiently enduring, and then obtaining the promise.

Again: It is manifest the things promised to Abraham which the apostle speaks of, were things which were not fulfilled till after his death; and it is manifest by what the apostle expressly declares in this epistle, that he supposed that Abraham and the other patriarchs did not obtain the promises while in this life, Rev. xi. 13. Speaking there of these patriarchs in particular, he says, Rev. xi. 13. “Those all died in faith, not having received the promises.” But here he speaks of them as now inheriting the promises. This word, as it is used every where in the New Testament, implies actual possession of the inheritance; and so as it is used in the Septuagint. It generally signifies the actual possessing of an inheritance, lot, estate, or portion, and that being now in actual possession of the promised happiness, is what the apostle means in this place, is beyond dispute, by what he says, as further explaining himself in the words immediately following; where he says that Abraham, after he had patiently endured, obtained the promise. He not only has the right of an heir to the promise, which he had while he lived, but he actually obtained it, though he died, not having received the promise. And that we should suppose this to be the meaning of the apostle, is agreeable to what he says, Rev. x. 36. “For ye have need of patience, that after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” And that the apostle, when he speaks here of Abraham’s having obtained the promise after patiently enduring, does not mean merely in a figurative sense, viz. that the promise of multiplying his natural posterity was fulfilled after his death, though he was dead, and his soul asleep, knowing nothing of the matter, for the word is in the present tense, inherit the promises, not only did obtain them, but continues still to possess and enjoy them, though Abraham’s natural seed had been greatly diminished, and the promised land at that time under the dominion of the heathen, and the greater part of the people at that time broken off by unbelief, and rejected from being God’s people, and their city, and land, and the bulk of the nation on the borders of the most dreadful destruction and desolation that ever befell any people.

2. If we compare this with what the apostle says elsewhere in this epistle, it is manifest that the saints he speaks of inherit the promises in heaven, and not in any other place in the bowels of the earth, or elsewhere called Hades. For it is evident that the promised inheritance which they looked for and sought after, and the promises of which they by faith were persuaded of and embraced, and the promise of which drew their hearts off from this world, was in heaven; this is manifest by Rev. xi. 13, 14, 15, 16. “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly; wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he hath prepared for them a city. “And the heavenly inheritance in the heavenly Canaan, or land of rest, which Christ has entered into, is that which the apostle all along in this epistle speaks of as the great subject matter of God’s promises which the saints obtain through faith and patience. Rev. iii. 11, 14.; iv. 1, 3, 9, 10, 11.; viii. 6.; ix. 15.; x. 34.; xii. 1, 2, 16, to the end.

3. Another thing, which may be strongly argued from this, is, that the happiness of the separate souls of saints in heaven consists very much in beholding the works of God relating to man’s redemption wrought here below, and the stages of infinite grace, wisdom, holiness, and power in establishing and building up the church of God on earth. For what was that promise which the apostle here has special reference to, and expressly speaks of, that Abraham obtained after he had patiently endured, which promise God confirmed with an oath, and in which we Christians and all the heirs of the promise partake with Abraham, and in the promises of which to be greatly confirmed, we have strong consolation and great hope? The apostle tells us, verses 13, 14. “For, when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself; saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.” This promise is chiefly fulfilled in the great increase of the church of God by the Messiah, and particularly in the calling of the Gentiles, pursuant to the promise made to Abraham, that in his seed all the families of the earth should be blessed, Rom. iv. 11, 13, 16,17. Heb. xi. 12.

When the apostle speaks of their inheriting the promises, he seems to have a special respect to the glorious accomplishment of the great promises made to the patriarchs concerning their seed now in those days of the gospel; as is greatly confirmed by Heb. xi. 39. “And these all having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise, God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect; ” plainly signifying, that they received not the promise in their lifetime; the promise having respect to that better thing that was to be accomplished in that age, in which the apostle and those he wrote to lived, and that the promise they relied upon was not completed, and their faith and hope in the promise not crowned, till they saw this better thing accomplished. Rev. xiv. 13. “They rest from their labours, and their works do follow them; ” follow with them, Greek or Hebrew, not to come many thousand years after them, as Mr. Baxter observes. Doddridge on Rev. xiv. 13.


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