Imagens das páginas
[ocr errors]

Lord, John. 5: 24, verily, vérily I say unto you,

Chap. VIII. SeEl. IX. To say nothing now about
thac incredible sweetness and boldness with God,
which the consciousness of fančtification gives those,
who endeavour after it. On which account David
described the statutes of the Lord, to be the rejoicing
of the beart; sweeter than honey and the honey-comb,
Ps: 19. 8, 10.
VI. Secondly, in that vision of God, with which He 2. The vi-

fion of honours the faints even in this life. We shall presently God in the hear, that the compleat happiness

of the life to come light of consists in the perfect vision of God. That vision grace, *" therefore, which is the priviledge of believers here, is certainly the beginning of that other. Now God prefents himself here to be seen, ist. By faith; which, indeed, is mere darkness, when compared with the light of glory, and, in that respect, is distinguished from fight, 2 Cor. 5. 7, and faid to be the evidence of things not seen, Heb. 11.1; yet it is a clear and Thining light, in comparison of the ignorance of unbelievers, in whom the God of this world bath blinded their minds, 2 Cor. 4. 4. Hence Moses is said by faith to have seen bin, who is invisible, Heb, 11. 27. By faith also, we all with open face, bebold as in a glass the glory of the Lord, 2 Cor. 3. 18. Nor does the faith, of believers, behold the perfections of God, only in general, as they are in him, but it likewife beholds them, as belonging to them, and become theirs for the fake of Christ. Which certainly has no small influence on our salvation. He that believes, and, by faith views God, and that, as his own, not only expects, but already has eternal life, and through that very faith he is saved, Eph. 2. 8, according to that of be, that beareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, bath everlasting life. 2dly. God is also seen by an experimental sense of his goodness, which intimately insinuates itself into the soul, in the holy use of the ereatures. So that he not only knows by reasoning, chas God is good, not only believes it, on the authority of


X 3

infallible testimony: but has the experience of it both by fight, sense and taste, while God himself, by means of his creatures, wonderfully delights the soul. To this purpose is the invitation of the Pfalmist, Pf. 34. 8. O! lajte, and sees that the Lord is goode 3dly.. He is seen still more simmedaitely, when he reveals himself to the soul, while deeply engaged in holy medication, prayer and other exercises .of devotion, as the fountain of life and the source of light; so as wonderfully to affect it with the immediate darting of his rays into it. This, I imagine, was what David desired, when he fought to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple, PJ. 27. 4. And this, I am apt to think, he obtained, when he fung, you wipe to see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the fanctuary, Pf. 63. 3. 4thly, Something peculiar is at times, imparted to sick and dying christians, in whose imagination God sometimes draws fo distinctly the brightest images of heavenly things, that they feem to see them before their eyes ; nor are they otherwise affected, than if the things themselves were present before them. The nearer the soul is to heaven, it is also enlightened with the brighter says of supercelestial light, flowing from him, who, being light itself, dwells in light inaccessible Of which there are not a few instances in the history of the life and death of godly persons, and very many experiences offer in our daily visitation of the fick. This is a kind of descent of heaven isto the soul, bem fore the soul is taken up to heaven.

rI70) Citi 12 An excel VII. Maimonides, the wifest among the Jews, lent pal- seems to have had something to this purpose in his fage of

mind, when, in More Nevochim, P 3. c. 57, towards Maimoni.

the end, he speaks thus: “ The more that the fa. cerning "culties of the body are impaired, and the fire of death by “lust is extinguished, the more is the understanding the kiss of

strengthened, its light encreased, the apprehens God.

" fion purified, and the more it rejo.ces at whar it “ apprehends ; so that when the perfect man is arrived

des con

MOUTH OF THE LORD, Deut. 34. 5, which shews,

• at mature age, and just approaching to death, the « apprehension, the joy arising from that apprehen« fion, and the love of the thing apprehended, are, " in an extraordinary manner, heightened, so thac “the foul, as it were, is in a state of separation from uithe body, during the time of that high pleasure. «To this our wife men had an eye, while they

fay, that, at the death of Moses, Aaron and Miriam, " these three died psa, in the kiss, or by the kiss. • For, say they, what is said, ro moses the servant of the « Lord died there in the land of Moab nime is by, AT THE

, . 5, , «that he died in the act of killing, mpwa. And lo 13

it is said of Aaron, AT THE MOUTH OF THE LORD, 6 and be died there, Numb. 33. 38. They also affirm of "Miriam, that she died Apus, in the act of kissing: ** but yet the Scripture does not say of her, at THE " MOUTH OF THE LORD, because, being a woman, " that parabolical mode of speech was not suitable. " But the meaning is, that they died from excessive u love, in the pleasure of the apprehension thereof. "As to the phrase itself, our wife men borrowed it from the song of songs, where the apprehension

of the creator, conjoined with the supreme love of #God, is called Apops, kissing, let him kiss me with the "kiffes of his mouth, Cant. 1. 2." Thus far that learned Jew. 17 min

VIII. Thirdly, in the gracious poffeffion and enjoyment 3. The of God; when God himfelf, according to the promise gracious of his covenant, holds communion with them, and enjoygives them not only to see him, but also to possess God, and enjoy him in the inanner we explained, Chap. X. Sedl. XXXIII: and in this consists salvation. Happy is that people, that is in such a cafe ; yea, happy is that people, whose God is the Lord, Pf. 145. 15. juftly glory of riches, who is admitted into the porsession of fuch great happiness. The Lord is the pora tion of mine inheritance, and of my cup, thou maintainest my lot

. - The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places ; yea, I have a goodly beritage, Pf. 16. 5. 6. But that X 3


ment of

He may

4. Affur

fruition of God consists in that sweet and frequent delight the foul takes in him as its treasure, Pf. 73, 28, in its being enriched with his riches, fed with his plenty, preserved by his power, directed by his wisdom, refreshed by his goodness, and, in fine, filled with his sufficiency : so that he knows of nothing he can desire, besides the perfect fruition of him, of which he has now only the first fruits. Blessed is the man, whom thou choosest, and causeft to approach unto thee, that be may dwell in thy courts: be fell be filled with the goodness of thine boufe, even of tby boly temple, Pf» 65 40

IX. Fourtbly, such magnificent beginnings of ance of glory beget all riches of the full assurance of understandlalvation. ing, Col. 2.2, and the firmest certainty of consum

niate happiness, to be enjoyed in its appointed time. For, when one has obtained the first-fruits of the spirit, and has so many and such evident figns of his communion with God and Christ, why may be not say with Paul? I knozo, tokom I have believed, and I am persuaded, that be-is cble to keep that which I have committed into bim against that day, y 2 Tim. II?: and again, I am persuaded, that neither death, nar life, Mall be able to separate us : from the love of God, which is in Christ Jefus our Lord, Ron. 8. 38,39 And in deed, I know not, whether there be any thing more delightful and pleasant, can be desired in this life, than what full assurance of our faith, which entirely calms the conscience, and delights it with the ineffa. ble sweetness of consolations.

X. Fifthly. These so many and so great benefits 5. Joy unSpeakable joined together, beget e joysunspeakable and field of

glory, whereby Peter testifies, though now not feeing, yet believing they rejoice. u Pet. I. 8. For that God, with whom they have fellowship as their God, is

their exceeding joy ha new se, the God of the 55 -4 joy of their exultation, Pf. 43. 4. Nothing exceeds 1945.9, 5 this joy in efficacy, for it penetrates into the inmost 9.'11 bd foul, and is alone fufficient to sweeten the most grievs ous of all actions, let thętn bę eyer so bitter, and


[ocr errors]

its févéral degrees and periods; and is either of the the future

easily dispel the greatest anguish of foul: so that the faithful martyrs of Christ, who had tasted the sweetness of -it, have gone, with joy and songs of praise, to the most cruel torments, as to the most fumptum ous feasts. Nothing is more pure. It does not difcompose the mind, unless in a falutary, wife and holy manner; that; having no command of itself, but being full of God, and on the very confines of Heaven, it both favours and speaks above the capacity of a man." The more plentifully one has drank of this fpiritual nectar, though he may appear delirious to others, who are unacquainted with those de, lights, he is the morei pure, and wife, and happy. -A. Nothing, infine, is more constant; everlasting joy to some upon their hecds, Ifa. 35.10: your heart fall rejoice, ODENS end your joy no man taketh from you, Jobs: 16.22, If ie is not constant as to the fecond effects, or after acts, as they are called, yet it is fo at least, as to the foundation and first a&. For, though God, in this life, according to his infinite wisdom, mixes the communication of his fweetness with much bitterness : yet believers have that in them, which proves the unexhausted fountain of a joy springing forth at times, and of a delight, that is afterwards to continue flowing for ever. Nor does God at all times deal out this joy with a sparing hand: he sometimes bestows it in fuch plenty on his people, that they are almoft made to own themfelves unable to bear such heavenly delight on earth, and to say with Ephrem Syrus ; Lord, withdraw a little, least the brittle vial of imy beart should burst by the rays of thy favour darting too strongly. If God does to great things for his people in the prison, what will he not do in the palace ? If the first-fruits are so plentiful, how abundant will the harvest be?


Ogni ijro XI. The glorification of the future life has again Theglori foul separated from its body, before the last judgment : life, either or of the whole man after the resurrection. We are that of the here to take notice of the gangrene of the Socinian separate X 4


« AnteriorContinuar »