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wood and water : « A pure river, of water of life, clear as chrystal, proceeding out of the throne of God, and of the Lamb: and of either side of the river, the tree of life, which bears twelve manner of fruits, and yields her fruit every month," Rev. xxii. 1, 2. How happy might innocent Adam have been in the earthly Paradise, where there was nothing wanting for necessity nor delight! Eden was the most pleasant spot of the uncorrupted earth, and Paradise the most pleasant spot of Eden; but what is earth in comparison of heaven? The glorified saints, are advanced to the heavenly Paradise. There they shall not only see, but eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Pa. radise of God, Rev. ii. 7. They shall behold the Mediator’s glory, and be satisfied with his goodness. No flaming sword will be there, to keep the way of that tree of life ; but they shall freely eat of it, and live for ever. And they shall drink of the river of pleasures (Psal. xxxvi. 8.) these sweetest and purest pleasures, the which Immanuel's land doth afford; and shall swim in an ocean of unmixed delight for
evermore. VII. They shall have Royal Treasures, sufficient to support the dignity they are advanced unto. Since the street of the royal city is pure gold, and the twelve gates thereof are twelve pearls; their treasure must be of that which is better than gold or pearl. It is an eternal weight of glory, 2 Cor. iv. 17. O precious treasure! a treasure not liable to insensible corruption, by moths or rust; a treasure which none can steal from them, Matth. vi. 20. Never did any kingdom afford such a precious treasure, nor a treasure of such variety ; for, “ He thať overcometh shall inherit all things," Rev. xxi. 7. No treasures on earth are stored with all things : if they were all put together in one, there would be far more valuable things wanting in that one, than found in it. This then is the peculiar treasure of these kings, who inherit the kingdom of heaven. They shall want nothing, that may contribute to their full satisfaction. Now they are rich in hope : but then they will have their riches in hand. Now all things are theirs in respect of right: then all shall be theirs in possession. They may go for ever through Immanuel's land, and behold the glory and riches thereof, with the satisfying thought, that all they see is their own. It is a pity these
should ever be uneasy under the want of earthly good things, who may be sure, they shall inherit all things at length.
VIII. Albeit there is no material Temple therein, no mediate serving of God in the use of ordinances, as here on earth; yet, as for this kingdom, “ The Lord God Almighty, and the Lamb, are the temple of it," Rev. xxi. 22. As the temple was the glory of Canaan, so will the celestial temple be the glory of heaven. The saints shall be brought in thither as a royal Priesthood, to dwell in the house of the Lord for ever : for Jesus Christ will then make every saint a pillar in the temple of God, and he shall go no inore out (Rev. iii. 12.) as the Priests and Levites did in their courses go out of the material temple. There the saints shall have the cloud of glory, the divine presence, with most intimate, uninterrupted communion with God: there they shall have Jesus Christ as the true ark, wherein the fiery law shall be for ever'hid from their eyes: and the mercy-seat, from which nothing shall be breathed, but everlasting peace and good will towards them : the cherubims, the society of holy angels who shall join with them in eternal admiration of the mystery of Christ, the golden candlestick, with its seven lamps ; for the glory of God doth lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof, Rev. xxi. 23. The incense-altar, in the intercesşion of Christ, who ever liveth to make intercession for them, (Heb. vii. 25.) eternally exhibiting the merits of his death and sufferings, and efficaciously willing for ever, that these whom the Father hath given him, be with him; and the shew-bread table, in the perpetual feast, they shall have together, in the enjoyment of God. This leads me inore particularly to consider,
IX. The society in this kingdom. What would royal power and authority, ensigns of royalty, richest treasures, and all other advantages of a kingdom avail without com. fortable society? Some crowned heads have made but a sorry life through the want of it; their palaces have been but unto them as prisons, and their badges of honour, as chains on a prisoner; while hated of all, they had none they could trust in, or whom they could have comfortable fellowship with. But the chief part of heaven's happiness, lies in the blessed society the saints shall have there. For clearing of which, consider these few things :
First, The society of the saints, among themselves, will be no small part of heaven's happiness. The communion of saints on earth, is highly prized by all those who are travelling through the world unto Zion; and companions in sin can never have such true pleasure and delight in one another, as sometime the Lord's people have in praying together, and conversing about these things, which the world is a stranger to. Here the saints are but few in company, at best; and some of them are so posted, as they seem to themselves to dwell alone; having no access to'such, as they could freely unbosom themselves to, in the matter of their spiritual case. They sigh and say, “Wo is me, for I am as when they have gathered the summer-fruits—there is no cluster to eat--the good man is perished out of the earth,” Mic. vii. 1, 2. But in the general assembly of the first-born in heaven, none of al} the saints, who ever were, or will be on the earth, shall be missing. They will be all of them together in one place, all possess one kingdom, and all sit down together to the marriage-supper of the Lamb. Here the best of the saints want not their sinful imperfections, making their society less comfortable ; but there they shall be perfect; without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, Eph. v. 27. And all natural, as well as sinful imperfections, are then done away ; “ They shall shine as the brightness of the firmament,” Dan. xii. 3.
There we will see Adam and Eve in the heavenly paradise, freely eating of the tree of life ; Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,and all the
holy patriarchs, no more wandering from land to land, but come to their everlasting rest; all the prophets feeding their eyes on the glory of Him, of whose coming they prophesied; the twelve Apostles of the Lamb, sitting on their twelve thrones; all the holy martyrs in their long white robes, with their crowns on their heads; the godly kings advanced to a kingdom which cannot be moved; and them that turn many to righteous. ness, shining as the stars for ever and ever. There will we see our godly friends, relations and acquaintances, pillars in the temple of God, to go no more out from us: And it is more than probable, that the saints will know one another in heaven; that, at least, they will know their friends, relatives, and these they were acquainted with on
earth, and such as have been most eminent in the church; howbeit that knowledge will be purged from all earthly thoughts and affections. This seems to be included in that perfection of happiness, to which the saints shall be advanced there. If Adam knew who and what Eve was at first sight, when the Lord God brought her to him, Gen. ii. 23, 24. why should one question, but husbands and wives, parents and children, will know each other in glory? If the Thessalonians, converted by Paul's ministry, shall be his crown of rejoicing, in the presence os our Lord Jesus Christ, at his coming, 1 Thess. ii. 19. why may not one conclude, that ministers shall know their people, and people their ministers in heaven? And if the disciples, on the mount of transfiguration, knew Moses and Elias, whom they had never seen before (Matth. xvii. 19.) we have ground to think, we shall know them too, and such as they, when we come to heaven.
The communion of saints shall be most intimate there; they shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the king dom of heaven, Matth. viii. 11. Lazarus was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom, Luke xvi. 23. which denotes most intimate and familiar society. And though diversity of tongues shall cease, (1 Cor. xiii. 8.) I make no question, but there will be an use of speech in heaven; and that the saints will glorify God in their bodies there, as well as in their spirits, speaking forth his praises with an audible voice. (As for the language, we shall understand what it is, when we come thither.) When Paul was caught up to the third heaven, the seat of the blessed, he heard there unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter, 2 Cor. xii. 4. Moses and Elias, on the mount with Christ, talked with him, Matth. xvii. 3. and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem, Luke ix. 31.
Secondly, The saints will have the society of all the holy angels there. An innumerable company of angels shall be companions to them in their glorified state. Happy were the shepherds who heard the song of the heavenly host, when Christ was born; but thrice happy they, who shall join their voices with theirs, in the choir of saints and angels in heaven, when he shall be glorified in all, who shall be about him there. Then shall we be
rought acquainted with the blessed spirits, who never inned. How bright will these morning-stars shine in he holy place ! they were ministering spirits to the heirs f salvation, loved them for their Lord and Master's sake; ncamped round about them, to preserve them from danfer ; how joyfully will they welcome them to their everasting habitations; and rejoice to see them come at length o their kingdom, as the tutor doth in the prosperity of iis pupils ! The saints shall be no more afraid of them, as sometime they were wont to be ; they shall then have put off mortality, and infirmities of the flesh, and be themselves, as the angels of God, fit to entertain communion and fellowship with these shining ones. And both being brought under one head, the Lord Jesus Christ; they join in the praises of God, and of the Lamb, “ Saying, with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain," &c. Rev. v. 11, 12. Whether the angels shall (as some think) assume airy bodies, that they may be seen by the bodily eyes of the saints, and be in nearer capacity to converse wkh them, I know not; but as they want not ways of converse amongst themselves, we have reason to think, that conversation betwixt them and the saints, shall not be for ever blocked up.
Lastly, They shall have society with the Lord him. self in heaven, glorious communion with God and Christ, which is the perfection of happiness. I chuse to speak of communion with God, and the man Christ together ; because as we derive our grace from the Lamb, so we will derive our glory from him too; the man Christ being (if I may be allowed the expression) the centre of the divine glory in heaven, from whence it is diffused unto all the saints. This seems to be taught us by these scriptures, which express heaven's happiness by being with Christ. Luke xxiii. 43. “ This day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” John xxvii. 24. “ Father, I will that these also, whom thou hast given me, be with me.” (And remarkable to this purpose is what follows; that they may behold my glory.) 1 Thess. iv. 17. shall we ever be with the Lord,” viz. the Lord Christ; whom we shall meet in the air. This also seems to be the import of these scriptures, wherein God and the Lamb, the slain Saviour, are jointly spoken of, in the