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of life, a river of pleasures, constantly flowing into the souls of the saints, that shall be in them as rivers of living water. And they shall also in their converse with Christ manifest their love to him: their hearts shall flow out in an unceasing stream, or ascend continually in a rapturous transport of love. Of those things we can say but little now; yet sometimes when God helps us we can conceive of them a little, but it is but a little at the most.

6. The saints in heaven shall see God. They shall not only see that glorious city, and the saints there, and the holy angels, and the glorified body of Christ; but they shall see God himself. This is promised to the saints. Matth. v. 8. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” 1 Cor. xiii. 12. “For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face; now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” This is that, which is called by divines" the beatific vision," because this is that in which the blessedness of the saints in glory does chiefly consist. This is the fountain, the infinite fountain of their blessedness. The sight of Christ, which has already been spoken of, is not here to be excluded, for he is a divine person; the sight of him in his divine nature therefore belongs to the beatifical vision. This vision of God is the chief bliss of heaven, and therefore I would speak of it a little more particularly. And,

1. As to the Faculty that is the subject of this vision. It is no sight of any thing with the bodily eyes; but it is an intellectual view. The beatific vision of God, is not a sight with the eyes of the body, but with the eyes of the soul. There is no such thing as seeing God properly with the bodily eyes, because he is a spirit: one of his attributes is, that he is invisible. 1. Tim. i. 17. “Now unto the king eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever.” Colos. i. 15. “Who is the image of the invisible God, the first born of every creature." Heb. xi. 27. “ By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.” This highest blessedness of the soul, does not enter in at the door of the bodily senses; this would be to make the blessedness of the soul dependent on the body, or the happiness of man's superior part to be dependent on the inferior. The beatific vision of God is not any sight with the bodily eyes, because the separate souls of the saints, and the angels which are mere spirits, and never were united to body, have this vision. Matth. xviii. 10. “ Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones: for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.” It is not in beholding any form or visible representation, or shape, or colour, or shining light, in which the highest happiness of the soul consists; but it is in seeing God, who is a spirit, spiritually, with the eyes of the soul. We have no reason to think that there is any such thing as God's manifesting himself by any outward glorious appearance, that is, the symbol of his presence in heaven, any otherwise than by the glorified body of Christ. God was wont in the old testament, oftentimes to manifest himself by an outward glory, and sometimes in a outward shape, or the form of a man. But when God manifested himself thus, it was by Christ; it was the Second Person of the Trinity only that was wont thus to appear to men in an outward glory and human shape. John i. 18. “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotton Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him." But since Christ has actually assumed a human body, there is no need of his assuming any aerial form or shape any more. The Deity now became visible to the bodily eyes in a more perfect manner by his having a real body. The saints that shall see Christ in heaven in his glorified body, much more properly see Christ than if they only saw an assumed shape, or some outward glorious appearance, as the symbol of his presence; for now, that which they see is not only a glorious appearance by which Christ is represented, but the real Christ; it is his own body. The seeing God in the glorified body of Christ is the most perfect way of seeing God with the bodily eyes that can be; for in seeing a real body, which one of the persons of the Trinity has assumed to be his body, and in which he dwells for ever as his own, the divine majesty and excellency appear as much as it is possible for them to appear in outward form or shape. The saints do actually see a divine person with bodily eyes, and in the same manner as we see one another. But when God showed himself under outward appearances and symbols of his presence only, that was not so proper a sight of a divine person, and it was a more imperfect way of God's manifesting himself, suitably to the more imperfect state of the church under the old testament. But now Christ really subsists in a glorified body; those outward symbols and appearances are done away, as being needless and imperfect. This more imperfect way therefore is altogether needless, seeing Christ there appears as a glorified body.

This seems to be one end of God's assuming a human body, viz. that the saints might see God with bodily eyes ; that they may see him, not only in the understanding, but in every way of seeing of which the human nature is capable ; that we might see God as a divine person as we see one another. And there is no need of God the Father's manifesting himself in any other glorious form; for he that sees the Son, sees the Father, John xiv. 9 ; and that because he is the image of the invisible God. Coloss. i. 15.Heb. i. 3. “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on

the right hand of the Majesty on high.” But if there be any outward symbol by which God the Father represents himself in beaven; seeing that is not the beatific vision, for that is a far more imperfect way of seeing God than seeing him with the eye of the soul; the soul is capable of apprehending God in a thousand times more perfect and glorious manner than the eye of the body is ; the soul has in itself those powers whereby it is sufficiently capable of apprehending spiritual objects without looking through the windows of the outward senses. The soul is capable of seeing God more immediately, and more certainly, and more fully and gloriously than the eye of the body is.

2. The act of vision. And,

1. It will be an immediate sight, it will be no apprehension of God's excellency by acquiring it from his works ; neither will it be such a spiritual sight of God as the saints have in this world, seeing him in his word and making use of bis ordinances, which is called seeing through a glass darkly." Then they shall see him "face to face." 1 Cor. xiii. 12. They shall not only see the glory of God as reflected from other things, but they shall see him as we see the sun, by his own light in a clear hemisphere. It will be an intuitive view of God. What knowledge the saints have of God in this world is like the twilight before sun-rising ; it is not the direct light of the sun, but the light of the sun reflected, and it is comparatively a dim light; but hereafter the saints shall enjoy the perfect day, they shall see God as we immediately behold the sun after it is risen above the horizon, and no cloud or vapour in the heavens to hinder its sight.

2. It shall be, according to men's capacity, a perfect sight. It shall not be a perfectly comprehensive sight, because it is impossible that a saini's mind should compreheud God; but yet it shall be perfect in its kind, it shall be perfectly certain, without any doubt or possibility of doubt. There shall be a view of God in his being, and in his power, and wisdom, and holiness, and goodness, and love, and all-sufficiency, that shall be attended with intuitive certainty, without any mixture of unbelief, and with much greater certainty than any sight with the bodily eye. And then it shall be perfectly clear without any view of darkness. Now, how much darkness is there mingled with that spiritual sight, which the saints have of God's glory in this world! But then, there shall be no obscurity, nothing to cloud the understanding, or to binder the clearness of the view. God shall be bid with no vail, neither shall there be any vail in the heavens. And this sight shall be most enlarged; they shall see vastly more of the glory of God than any of the saints do in this world ; the souls of the saints shall be like the angels in extensiveness of understanding.

This very

3. The Object of this vision : concerning which I observe,

1. They shall see every thing in God that tends to excite and inflame love, i. e. every thing that is lovely, every thing that tends to exalt their esteem and admiration, to warm and endear the heart. They shall be hold the infinite excellency and glory of God, shall have a blessed-making sight of his glorious Majesty and of his infinite holiness ; shall see as those angels do, of whom we read in Isai. vi. 3. "That, standing before the throne, they cry “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts," and shall behold the infinite grace and goodness of God. Then shall that glorious fountain and ocean be opened fully to their view ; then shall they behold all its excellency and loveliness, they shall have a clear sight of his immense glory and excellency.

2. They shall see every thing in God that gratifies love. They shall see in him all that love desires. Love desires the love of the beloved. So the saints in glory shall see God's transcendent love to them; God will make ineffable manifestations of his love to them. They shall see as much love in God towards them as they desire ; they neither will nor can crave any more. manifestation that God will make of himself that will cause the beatific vision, will be an act of love in God: it will be from the exceeding love of God to them that he will give them this vision, which will add an immense sweetness to it. When they see God so glorious, and at the same time see how greatly this God loves them, what delight will it not cause in the soul! Love desires uvion. They shall therefore see this glorious God united to them, and see themselves united to him. They shall see that he is their Father, and that they are his children. They shall see God gloriously present with them ; God with them; and God in them; and they in God. Love desires the possession of its object. Therefore they shall see God, even their own God; when they behold this transcendent glory of God, they shall see him as their own. When they shall see that glory, power, and wisdom of God, they shall see it as altogether engaged for them ; when they shall see the beauty of God's holiness, they shall see it as their own, for them to enjoy for ever ; when they see the boundless ocean of God's goodness and grace, they shall see it to be all theirs.

4. The Manner in which they shall see and enjoy God; and that is as having communion with Christ therein. The saints shall enjoy God, as partaking with Christ of his enjoyment of God; for they are united to him, and are glorified and made happy in the enjoyment of God as his members. As the members of the body partake of the life and health of the head, so the saints in glory shall be happy as partaking of the blessedness of the Son of God; they being in Christ, shall partake of the love of God the Father to Christ. And as the Son knows the Father, so they

parts of him.

shall partake with him in his sight of God, as being as it were

As he is in the bosom of the Father, so are they in the bosom of the Father; as he has immense joy in the love of the Father, so have they, every one of them in their measure, the same joy in the Father's love.

Herein they shall enjoy God in a more exalted and excellent manner than man would have done if he had never fallen ; for doubtless that happiness, that Christ himself partakes of in bis Father's bosom, is transcendently sweet and excellent; and how happy therefore are they who are admitted to partake of that portion of delight with him!

5. The Agent by whom this vision of God shall be communica ted; viz. the Holy Spirit. As it is by the Holy Spirit that a spiritual sight of God is given in this world, so it is the same Holy Spirit by whom the beatific vision is given of God in heaven. The saints in heaven are as dependent on God for all their happiness, and all their holiness, and all their light, as those on earth; there all is from God by his Holy Spirit, just as it is here. They shall have the beatific vision of God because they will be full of God, filled with the Holy Spirit of God. The Holy Ghost is the pure river of water of life that proceeds from the throne of God and the Lamb, spoken of in Rev. xxii. 1.

6. The Effects of this vision. And these are, that the soul shall be inflamed with love, and satisfied with pleasure.

1. It shall be inflamed with love. The soul shall not be an inactive spectator, but shall be most active, and in the most ardent exercise of love towards the object seen. The soul shall be as it were all eyes to behold, and yet all act to love. The soul shall be as full of love as it shall be of light, and of both it shall be as full as it can hold. The understanding will be in its most perfect act in beholding, and the will will be in its most perfect act in loving. This love will be perfectly such as it ought to be. It shall be perfectly humble, the soul shall be in its place at all times, adoring at God's feet, and yet embraced in the arms of his love. This love shall excite them to praise. And therefore, singing praises and hallelujahs shall be that in which they shall unweariedly be employed.

2. This sight of God shall satisfy the soul with pleasure. So great will the joy be that the soul will desire no greater. It shall be as full of grace, as the large desires of the soul can receive. So sweet shall it be, that the soul will desire nothing sweeter.

So pure and excellent will it be, that the soul will desire nothing better. Ps. xvii. 15. “ As for me I shall behold thy face in righteousness, I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness." When the soul beholds the glory and love of God, it shall be at the same time filled with the glory and love of God; it shall receive satis

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