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A BELIEVER'S PRIVILEGE AT DEATH.
Phil. i. 21. And to die is gain.
III. At death the souls of believers pass men made perfect see God. This sight of into glory. Death brings malorum omnium God will be very glorious, as when a king ademptionem,—omnium adeptionem; death on his coronation-day shows himself in all is the daybreak of eternal brightness. And his royalty and magnificence. here I shall lead you to the top of Mount Pis- A. 2. We shall corporally behold the glorigah, and give you a glimpse of the holy land. fied body of Jesus Christ: and if it be a pleas
Quest. 1. What is comprehended in glory? ant thing to behold the sun, Eccl. xi. 7, then,
Ans. Glory is status omnium bonorum how blessed a sight will it be to behold the aggregatione perfectus, Boetius. It is a Sun of Righteousness,—to see Christ clothed perfect state of bliss which consists in the in our human nature, sitting in glory above accumulation and heaping together all those the angels! Solomon saith, “the eye is not good things which immortal souls are capable satisfied with seeing,” Eccl. i. 8, but sure the of. And truly here I am at a loss; all that I eyes of saints will be satisfied with seeing can say falls short of the celestial glory! that orient brightness which shall shine from Apelles's pencil cannot delineate it,—angels' the beautiful body of Christ. It must needs tongues cannot express it,—we shall never be satisfying, because through Christ's flesh understand glory fully, till we are in heaven, some rays and beams of the Godhead shall -only let me give you some dark views, gloriously display themselves. God's exand some imperfect lineaments of that state cellent majesty would overwhelm us; but of glory saints shall arrive at after death. through the veil of Christ's flesh we shall
1. The first and most sublime part of the behold the divine glory. glory of heaven is the full and sweet fruition A. 3. Our seeing God will be transforming. of God: ipse Deus sufficit ad præmium, We shall so see him as to be in some measure Aud'. We are apt to think the happiness of assimilated and changed into his image, heaven is in being free from pain and misery, 1 John iji, 2, “ We shall be like him.” If, but the very quintessence of happiness, is the when Moses was with God on the mount, enjoyment and fruition of God; this is the and had but some imperfect sight of his diamond ring of glory. God is an infinite glory, · Moses' face shined,' Exod. xxxiv. 35, inexhaustible fountain of joy; and to have how shall the saints glorified shine, being him, is to have all. Now the enjoyment of always in God's presence, and having some God implies three things.
beams of his glory put upon them? “ We 1. It implies our seeing of God.
shall be like him." One that is deformed, 2. Our loving of God.
may look on beauty, and not be made beauti3. God's loving us.
ful; but the saints shall so see God, as that 1st. The enjoying of God implies our see- sight shall transform them into his likeness, ing of God, 1 John iii. 2, “ We shall see him Ps. xvii. 15, “When I awake, I shall be as he is :" Here we see him as he is not : satisfied with thy likeness." Not hat the mutable, mortal; there as he is.
saints shall partake of God's essence: for as QUEST. 2. How shall we see God? the iron in the fire is made fiery, yet remains
Ans. 1. We shall see him intellectually, iron still, so the saints, by beholding God's with the eyes of our mind. This divines call majesty, shall be made glorious creatures, the beatifical vision: we shall have a full but yet creatures still. knowledge of God, though not know him A. 4. Our seeing of God in heaven will fully. If there were not such an intellectual be unweariable. Let a man see the rarest sight of God, then how do the spirits of just sight that is, he will soon be cloyed; when
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he comes into a garden, and sees delicious sighing, they weep over their sine and afflic-
are the angels; every star adds to the light, 2d. The second thing implied in our enjoy--those blessed cherubims will welcome us to ing God, is our loving of God. It is a saint's paradise. If the angels rejoiced so at the grief that his heart is like the frozen ocean,- conversion of the elect, how will they rejoice that he can melt no more in love to God: at their coronation! Secondly, There is the but in heaven the saints shall be like sera- company of the saints, Heb. xii. 23,
“ The phims, burning in divine love; love is a plea- spirits of the just men made perfect." sant affection; “ fear hath a torment in it," Quest. 3. Whether shall the saints in 1 John iv. 18; love hath joy in it. To love glory know each other? beauty is delightful: God's amazing beauty Ans. Certainly they shall; for our knowwill attract the saint's love, and it will be ledge in heaven shall not be diminished but their heaven to love him.
increased. We shall not only know our 3d. The third thing implied in enjoying friends and godly relations, but those gloriGod, is God's loving us. Were there glory fied saints which we never saw before; it must in God, yet, if there were not love, it would be so; for society without acquaintance is much eclipse the joys of heaven: but “God not comfortable, and of this opinion were St is love," 1 John iv. 16. The saints glorified Austin, Anslem, Luther. And indeed the cannot love so much as they are loved. What scripture seems to hint so much to us; for, if is their love to God's? What is their star to Peter in the transfiguration knew Moses and this sun? God doth love his people on earth, Elias, whom he never saw before, Mat. xvii. when they are black as well as comely; they 4, then surely in heaven the saints shall know have their imperfections; O how entirely will one another, and be infinitely delighted in he love them, when they are without “spot each other's company. or wrinkle!" Eph. v. 27.
3. The third thing comprehended in glory, 1. This is the felicity of heaven, to be in is perfection in holiness. Holiness is the the sweet embraces of God's love; to be beauty of God and angels; it makes heaven; the Hephzibah, the delight of the King of what is happiness but the quintessence of Glory; to be sunning ourselves in the light holiness? Here a Christian's grace is imperof God's countenance. Then the saints fect, he cannot write a copy of holiness shall know " the love of Christ which pass. | without blotting. He is said to receive but eth knowledge," Eph. iii. 19. From this primitias Spiritus,—the first fruits of the glorious manifestation of God's love, will Spirit,' grace in fieri, Rom. viii. 23 ; but at flow infinite joy into the souls of the bless-death believers shall arrive at perfection of ed: therefore heaven is called "entering grace; then this sun shall be in its meridian into the joy of our Lord," Matt. xxv. 12. splendour; then shall they not need to pray The seeing of God, the loving of God, and for increase of grace, for they shall be as the being beloved of God, will cause a jubila- angels, their light shall be clear as well as tion of spirit, and create such holy raptures their joy full. of joy in the saints, as is unspeakable and
4. The fourth thing in glory, is dignity and full of glory, 1 Pet. i. 8. In Deo quadam honour ; they shall reign as kings; therefore dulcidene delectatur anima, imo rapitur, the saints glorified are said to have their inAvg. Now the saints spend their years with signia regalia, their ensigns of royalty, their
white robes and their crown, 2 Tim. iv. 7. in fear of losing it, it would eclipse and emCæsar, after his victories, in token of ho- bitter the joys of heaven; but eternity is writnour, had a chair of ivory set for him in the ten upon their joys; the garland made of senate, and a throne in the theatre; the saints, flowers of paradise fades not, 1 Pet. v. 4. I having obtained their victories over sin and have read of a river which they call the daySatan, shall be enthroned with Christ in the river, in which time it runs with a full torempyrean heaven. To sit with Christ de- rent, but at night it is dried up; such are all notes safety; to sit on the throne, dignity, earthly comforts, they run with a full stream Ps. cxlix. 9, “ This honour have all the all the day-time of life, but at the night of saints."
death they are dried up; but the saints glori5. The fifth thing in glory, is the harmony fied shall drink of the rivers of pleasure for and union among the heavenly inhabitants. evermore, Ps. xvi. 11. Eternity is the The devil cannot get his cloven foot into hea- heaven of heavens; in fine gaudium erit sine ven; he cannot conjure up any storins of con- fine, BERN. The joys of heaven as overflowtention there; there shall be perfect union; ing, so everflowing. there Calvin and Luther are agreed; there is Quest. 4. When do believers enter upon no jarring string in the heavenly music; there possession of glory? is nothing to make any difference, no pride Ans. They pass immediately after death or envy there. Though one star may differ into glory. Some hold, with the Platonists from another, one may have a greater degree and Lucianists, that the soul dies; but many of glory, yet every vessel shall be full: there of the sober heathens believed the soul's imshall the saints and angels sit as olive-plants mortality. The Romans, when their great round about their Father's table in love and men died, caused an eagle to be let loose, and unity. Then shall they join together in con- fly about in the air, signifying hereby that the cert,—then shall the loud anthems of praise soul was immortal, and did not die with the be sung in the heavenly choir.
body. Christ tells us the soul is not capable 6. The sixth thing in glory, is a blessed of killing, Luke xii. 4, therefore not of dying. rest, Heb. iv. 9, " There remaineth therefore And as the soul doth not die, so neither doth a rest.” Felix transitus a labore ad requiem. ) it sleep in the body for a time; if the soul be Here we can have no rest, tossed and turned at death absent from the body, 2 Cor. v. 8, as a bail on racket, 2 Cor. iv. 8, “ We are then it cannot sleep in the body. There is troubled on every side.” How can a ship rest an immediate passage from death to glory; in a storm? But after death the saints get it is but winking, and we shall see God, Luke into their haven. Every thing is quiet in the xxiii. 43, “ To-day shalt thou be with me in centre ; God is centrum quietativum animæ, paradise.” By paradise is meant heaven. as the schoolmen, “ the centre where the soul The third heaven into which Paul was rapt, doth sweetly acquiesce.” A Christian, after (which all hold to be the heaven of the blesshis weary marches and battles, shall put off ed) was called paradise, 2 Cor. xii. 4. Now his bloody armour, and rest himself upon the saith Christ to the thief on the cross, “ Tobosom of Jesus, that bed of perfume; when day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” His death hath given the saints the wings of a body could not be there, for it was laid in dove, then they shall fly away to paradise the grave; but it was spoken of his soul, that and be at rest.
it should be immediately after death in hea7. The seventh thing in glory, is eternity, ven. Let none be so vain as to talk of pur2 Cor. iv. 17, “ An eternal weight of glory."-gatory; a soul purged by Christ's blood, 1st, Glory is a weight: the Hebrew word for needs no fire of purgatory, but goes imme. glory (quod significat pondus) is a weight: diately from a deathbed into a glorified God must make us able to bear it.--2dly, An state. eternal weight. Glory is such a manna as Use 1st. See what little cause believers doth not breed worms. If the saints' glory have to fear death, when it brings such glo. in heaven were but for a time, and they were rious benefits ; "to me to die is gain !"
Why should the saints fear their preferment? | and fields of corn, and shall not the heirs of
Use 2d. You who are real saints, whose years, though at present he hath nothing to hearts are purified by faith, spend much time help himself, yet comforts himself with this, in musing upon these glorious benefits which that shortly he shall have an estate come you shall have by Christ at death. Thus into his hand, 1 John iii. 2, “It doth not yet might you by a contemplative life, begin the appear what we shall be." We shall be enlife of angels here, and be in heaven before amelled with glory, and be as rich as the your time. Eudoxius was so affected with angels. 2. A true saint is, (as Luther) hæres the glory of the sun, that he thought he was crucis; but this may make us go cheerfully born only to behold it. What should we con- through our sufferings; there are great things template but celestial glory, when we shall laid up in store,-there is glory coming, which see God face to face ; David was got above eye hath not seen,-we shall drink of the the ordinary sort of men, he was in the alti- | fruit of the vine in the kingdom of heaven. tudes, Ps. cxxxix. 18, “ I am still with thee.” Though now we drink in a wormwood-cup, A true saint every day takes a turn in heaven; yet here is sugar to sweeten it: we shall taste his thoughts and desires are like cherubims of those joys of paradise which exceed our flying up to paradise. Can men of the world faith, and may be better felt than they can be so delight in looking upon their bags of gold,' expressed.
OF THE RESURRECTION.
John v. 28, 29. Marvel not at this : for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the
graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
Quest. XXXVIII. What benefits shall to glory. The doctrine of the resurrection is believers receive from Christ at the resur- a fundamental article of our faith; the apostle rection?
puts it among the principles of the doctrine of Ans. 1. Their bodies shall be raised up to Christ, Heb. vi. 2. The body shall rise again; glory.
we are not so sure to rise out of our beds as A. 2. They shall be openly acquitted at we are to rise out of our graves. The ran. the day of judgment; and shall be made per- somed body shall rise again. Some hold that fectly blessed in the full enjoyment of God the soul shall be clothed with a new body; but for ever.
then it were improper to call it a resurrecI. The bodies of believers shall be raised up tion, it would be rather a creation, Job xix.
• Though worms destroy this body, yet not the body, then a believer should be only in my flesh, shall I see God.” Not in ano- half-saved. ther flesh, but my flesh, 1 Cor. xv. 53, “ This Obj. 1. But some say, as the Virgin Mary corruptible must put on incorruption." to the angel, “ How can this be ?" so, how
Quest. By what arguments may the re- can it be, that the body which is consumed surrection be proved?
to ashes should rise again? Argument 1. By scripture, John vi. 44, "I
Ans. It doth not oppose reason,
but tranwill raise him up at the last day.” Isa. xxv. scend it; there are some resemblances of the 8, “ He will swallow up death in victory." resurrection in nature. The corn, which is That is, by delivering our bodies from the sown in the ground, dies before it springs up, captivity of the grave wherein death for a 1 Cor. xv. 36, “That which thou sowest is time had power over them, 1 Thess. iv. 14, not quickened, except it die.” In winter the “ Them which sleep in Jesus, will God bring fruits of the earth die, in spring there is a with him."
resurrection of them; Noah's olive tree Arg. 2. Christ is risen: therefore the bodies springing after the flood was a lively emof the saints must rise. Christ did not rise blem of the resurrection. After the passion from the dead as a private person, but as the of our Lord, “many bodies of the saints public head of the church; and the head being which slept in the grave arose,” Matt. xxvii. raised, the rest of the body shall not always 52. God can more easily raise the body out lie in the grave. Christ's rising is a pledge of the grave, than we can awake a man out of our resurrection, 2 Cor. iv. 14, " Knowing of sleep. that he which raised up the Lord Jesus, shall Obj. 2. But when the dust of many are raise us up also by Jesus.” Christ is called the mingled together; how is it possible that a first-fruits of them that sleep, 1 Cor. xv. 20. separation should be made and the same nuAs the first fruits is a sure evidence that merical body arise. the harvest is coming on, so the resurrection Ans. If we believe God can create,
then of Christ is a sure evidence of the rising of he can distinguish the dust of one body from our bodies out of the grave. Christ cannot another; do not we see the chymist can, out be perfect as he is Christ mystical, unless his of several metals mingled together, as gold, members be raised with him.
silver, alchymy, extract the one from the Arg. 3. In respect of God's justice. If other,--the silver from the gold,—the alchyGod be a just God, then he will reward the my from silver,-and can reduce every metal bodies of the saints as well their souls. It to its own kind? And shall we not much cannot be imagined that the souls of believers more believe, that when our bodies are min. should be glorified, and not their bodies; they gled and confounded with other substances, have served God with their bodies,—their the wise God is able to make an extraction, bodies have been members of holiness,—their and re-invest every soul with its own body? eyes have dropped tears for sin,--their hands
Quest. 3. Shall none but the bodies of have relieved the poor,--their tongues have the righteous be raised? set forth God's praise; therefore justice and
Ans. Yes, all that are in the graves shall equity require that their bodies should be hear Christ's voice, and shall come forth, crowned as well as their souls : and how can Acts xxiv. 15. There shall be a resurrection that be, unless they are raised from the dead? of the dead both of the just and unjust: Rev.
Arg. 4. If the body did not rise again, then xx. 12, “] saw the dead, both small and great, a believer should not be completely happy: stand before God.” But though all shall be for though the soul can subsist without the raised out of their graves, yet all shall not be body, yet it hath appetium unionis,-a desire raised alike. of re-union with the body, and it is not fully 1. The bodies of the wicked shall be happy till it be clothed with the body : raised with ignominy; those bodies which therefore undoubtedly the body shall rise on the earth did tempt and allure others again. If the soul should go to heaven, and with their beauty, shall be at the resurrec