« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
up the kingdom to the Father. i. Cor. xv. 24. “Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule, and all authority and power.” And as he shall deliver up the kingdom, he shall present the subjects of the kingdom; and what he has obtained by ruling, he shall present as the fruits of his reign.
7. Then will God make a still more abundant manifestation and communication of himself. God shall be all in all ; and the glory of God and the glory of his Son shall be displayed in heaven, in a more abundant manner than ever before; and he 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 ibings, and such as will become the joyful occasion of the marriage of the Lamb.
2d. I shall now describe the Nature and Degree of the consumate and eternal glory and blessedness of the saints.
1. The Nature of this glory and blessedness.
1. I would begin with the lowest part of it, viz. the glory of the place. We have already observed ihat heaven is a place. They shall dwell in the most glorious part of whole creation of God. It is called Paradise. Luke xxiii. 43. “ And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To-day shalt thou be with me in Paradise." 2 Cor. xii. 4. “ How that he was caught up into Paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawsul for man to utter." Rev. ii. 7. “ He that hath ears to hear let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God." The word Paradise signifies a most pleasant and deJightful garden, of which the garden of Eden was a type. The garden of Eden was without doubt a place that was delightful beyond what we can easily conceive ; but if this earthly paradise was so delightful, how pleasant and glorious may we conclude the heavenly paradise to be ; that was not made merely to be the residence of some of the innocent creatures of God during their time of probation, as Eden was, but was prepared by infinite wisdom and skill for the everlasting dwelling place of the great King of heaven and earth, and of his Son Jesus Christ; the place where they might show their glory, and wisdom, and love for ever, and which is to be the habitation of confirmed saints and angels! When God made the universe, he made many parts of it for inferior uses, in which he displayed marvellous skill; then he made the earth, and the sun, and moon, and stars, and the visible heavens, which appear truly glorious; but there was one part of the creation that God made more especially for himself, to be his own dwelling place, the place of his glorious rest, and we may conclude that this is beyond all comparison more glorious than the other parts of it. If some parts of the visible world are so glorious, as the sun, moon, and stars, how glorious may we conclude the highest heavens to be! This is the heavenly mount Zion, the royal city of the great God. It has been the ambition of earthly monarchs to make the cities where they dwell exceedingly magnificent. Thus the king of Babylon boasted, “ Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom, by the might of my power, aud for the honour of my majesty ?” Dan. iv. 30. Especially will kings have their own palaces most magnificent. But if those earthly cities and palaces are some of them so glorious, which are for the habitation of worms, how glorious may we think that to be which is for the glorious habitation of God Almighty! As the third heavens are higher than the earth, so we may expect that it is proportionally more glorious than any earthly garden, city, or palace. Heaven is not only the city of God, but his palace; not only his palace, but his throne: Isai. lxvi. 1. “ Thus saith the Lord, 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 ?" We read how magnificent was Solomon's throne. i Kings x. 18, 19, 20. “Moreover, the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with the best of gold. The throne had six steps, and the top of the throne was round behind : and there were stays on either side of the place of the seat, and two lions stood beside the stays. And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps: there was not the like made in any kingdom.” But what is the throne of a glowworm ? God does not want skill to make his palace and throne glorious enough to become the majesty and glory of him whose house and seat it is. The builder is God, and there is no want of skill in the architect. How glorious and magnificent was the temple of Solomon, that was built only to be the place of the special symbols of God's presence on earth among his people Israel! How much more glorious is that heavenly temple which God himself has built, to be the place of his glorious presence among glorified saints and angels throughout all eternity! This is a place contrived on purpose to show the boundless riches of God's grace and love; and therefore, God has not spared as to the delights and glories with which he has adorned the place. God is rich enough to make the place transcend all created glory. Earthly kings build their houses and palaces, and make them magnificent according to their wealth and ability; but God is infinitely rich, he does not spare for the cost of the treasures to be laid out in adorning heaven, through fear of impoverishing himself. The glory of his residence is what we cannot conceive of; and this is one of those things spoken of in 1 Cor. ii.
9. Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." Therefore in the descriptions that are given of it in the scriptures, the images made use of to shadow it forth to us, are the most glorious with which we are conversant in the world. Such is the glorious description of it by John, as represented to bim in the apocalyptic vision. Rev. xxi. 10, 11-18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23. “ And be carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper-stone, clear as crystal. And the building of the wall of it was of jasper : and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second sapphire ; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth an emerald ; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth ; the twelfth, an amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were, transparent glass. And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no necd of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof." Heaven is here represented by a city whose very walls were made of precious stones. And the foundations were also all precious stones, and the gates were each a single pearl, and the very streets of the city were of pure gold; and yet it was something so excellent, as it appeared to John, that his comparing it to pure gold did not represent the excellency of it: it had also the beautiful transparency of clear glass. The apostle could find nothing on earth excellent enough adequately to represent its surpassing beauty - The streets of the city were pure gold, like unto clear glass." He goes on with the description in the beginning of the next chapter. Rev. xxij. 1, 2–5. “ And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations-And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.” This glorious place shall be the residence of the saints for ever. They shall dwell in this house of God, as the king's children dwell with him in their father's house; they shall dwell in this house, for it is Christ's house. He is the heir and owner of it, because he is the only begotten Son of God; and the church shall dwell in it with Christ, because she is “ the Lamb's wife.” God has made heaven to be his own peculiar dwelling-place, and the dwelling-place of his children; when he made the world, he made heaven for them, and therefore Christ says to them at the close of their trial, Matth. xxv. 34, “ Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”
2. The glory of the bodies of the saints; but this need not be insisted on here; as I have considered it already, when speaking of the resurrection. I would only observe, that however great the glory of the place is, the glory of their bodies will doubtless be far greater; for the place is made to be a dwelling place for their glorious bodies, and the inhabitants will doubtless be more glorious than the habitation that is made for them; as the end is of greater value than the means. However bright heaven itself shall shine, the bodies of the saints themselves will shine far brighter, and appear far more beautiful.
3. The glory and beauty which God will put upon their souls, will as far exceed the beauty of their bodies, as the beauty of their bodies will far exceed the beauty of the place. Here will be their principal ornament, and if their bodies shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father, how bright will their souls shine in the glorious image of God, made perfect in them! When they shall be presented to Christ, perfectly free from sin, without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; when they shall appear holy and without blemish; their bodies shall not only be made like to Christ's glorious body, but their souls like to his holy and glorified soul. They shall then shine with the glory of Christ reflected from them, without any thing to obscure the bright image. Their souls shall be made glorious in wisdom and knowledge; their faculties shall be exceedingly strengthened and enlarged, their eyes made perfectly clear, and divine light shall fill the soul, so that there shall be no darkness within, and perfect love shall reign in the heart. Divine love shall be strong; all the soul shall be as it were love. This love shall be exceedingly great in the principle of it, and shall always be in its highest exercise. Then shall humility also be brought to perfection. None can now express or conceive how pure and holy will be the disposition of the soul of a glorified saint, which shall be, as it were, all love, all sweetness, all humility. The ornament of a meek and quiet spirit is said to be in the sight of God of great price, in this world; but how precious will such spiritual ornaments be in heaven, when they shall be thus perfected ! The souls of the saints are God's jewels; and how bright will God make those his jewels shine in heaven, when he has polished them and fitted them to be gems in his own crown of glory! The soul of man, being spiritual and rational, is susceptible of incomparably greater beauty than the body, because the soul is capable of receiving the image of God, of which the body is not; and the souls of the saints, when God has perfected them, shall appear as the very image of God himself ; and in the graces in which they shall shine shall be seen the glory of the divine workmanship in its perfection. And so lovely will they be that there will be more loveliness and beauty in the soul of one saint than in all the glory and beauty of the place put together.
4. They shall have great delight in the society and enjoyment of one another. We now do not know what enjoyment they will have in conversing together, and in communicating with each other; but doubtless it will be far more perfect than any we have now. The saints in heaven shall all be one society, they shall be united together without any schism, there shall be a sweet harmony, and a perfect union. There the saints shall see and converse with Noah, and Abraham, and Moses, and David, and Isaiah, and Paul, and all the holy martyrs; and they shall freely converse with them. It will be a most blessed society ; there shall be no jars or contentions, nor breaking out among them; no manner of strife, nor envy, nor jealousy ; no ill will, but perfect peace, and perfect love through the whole society. Each one shall love every other with a niost endeared and strong affection. Each one will be perfectly excellent and lovely, and will appear so in every other's eyes : they will be delighted exceedingly in that lovely and perfect image of God, which each one shall see in every other; they shall manifest their love to each other in the most becoming and amiable manner, without any thing ever to disturb or interrupt the peace of that blessed society. There shall be no mixture of wicked men among them as it is here in this world, to defile or dishonour their company. Here the visible churches of Christ are often defiled and dishonoured by one wicked man or other, but that church above shall always be perfectly pure. Rev. xxi. 27. “ And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie; but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.” This blessed family being all united in one body, as having many members, shall all subserve and contribute to each other's happiness as the members of a body that is in perfect health.