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foever worketh Abomination, or maketh a Lie. Rev. xxi. 27. And it is plainly ina timated, that, after all the Descriptions that are given of it, we are not able fully to conceive it's Greatness and Glory, in this present State : We are told that Eye bath not seen, nor Ear beard, neither have entered into the Heart of Man, the Things which God hath prepared for them that love bim. í Cor. ii. 9. And that it doth not yet appear what we shall be. 1 John iii. 2. And, when St. Paul was rapt up into Paradise and the third Heaven, he tells us be beard unspeakable Words, or Things which it is not lawful, or possible, for a Man to utter. 2 Cor. xii. 2, 4. But the most ravishing Confideration of all is, that this Happiness shall be unchangeable and eternal: Hence it is so often signified to us, in the Gospel, under the Notion of eternal Life. The Saints above shall not be put upon any new Hazards or States of Trial; they shall be
raised for ever above all Fear of Change, · or of losing their Happiness, which they might possibly do, as all Creatures are changeable, if left merely to themselves; but they shall be kept through the mighty Power and Goodnefs of God, who thall ever maintain and confirm them in all Goodness, and in their holy and happy State, to all Eternity: And this is what we might
desire and with for, but could not be afi fured of by our own unaffisted Reason without a Divine Revelation. 3 . As to the Time when all this Happinefs, of which the Gospel makes such an inviting Representation, is to commence, it seems. plain from what is there revealed, that it shall commence, in a lower Degree, im mediately. upon our Departure out of this present Life : - The Souls of good Menj, upon quitting these Bodies, shall immediately enter inte a State of happy Rest and Yoy: This is what our Saviour seems to signify in the Parable, when he saith concerning Lazarus, that he died, and was carried by the Angels into Abraham's Bofom. Luke xvi. 22. And St. Paul faith concerning himself, that be depred to depart, and to be with Christ; which was far better than to continue here. Phil. i. 22. And to the fame Purpose we find him declaring, in his own Name, and that of all fincere Chriftians, We are always confident, knowing that, whilft we are at Home in the Body, we are objent from the Lord. For me walk by Faith, not by Sightrí We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be abfent from the Body, and to be prefent with the Lord. 2 Cor. v. 6, 7, 8. Where it seems plaina ly intimated, that, immediately upon the Soul's being absent from the Body, and con.
VOL. IV. Hh . sequently
sequently before it's being restored to the Body at the Resurrection, it Mall be present with the Lord, in such an immediate and glorious Manner, that the nearest Communion with him we enjoy, here on Earth, may be comparatively regarded as a State of Absence from the Lord. And hence dying Stephen applied to the Lord Jesus 'to receive bis Spirit, just as our Lord bimself committed his Spirit into the Hands of his heavenly Father, to be received by him into Bliss and Glory. See and compare Afts vii. 59. with John xvii. 5.
But, if we speak of the Happiness of good Men, in it's full Completion, and in it's molt perfect State of Bliss, it is represented as commencing at the Resurrection. And there is something inexpressibly noble and sublime in the Account that is given us, in the New Testament, of the Glory of that Day: We are there assured, that then our Lord Jesus Christ hall come in his own and in his Father's Glory, and all the holy Angels with him: That, the Lord himself mail descend from Heaven with a Shout, with the Voice of the Archangel, and the Trump of God: That all that are in their Graves shall bear the Voice of the Son of God, and shall come forth; but that the Dead in Christ all rise first : That, in a Moment, in the Twinkling of an Eye, at the las
Trump, the Dead shall be raised incorruptible, and those good Men that shall theti be found alive upon the Earth shall be changed; so that this Corruptible shall put on In. corruption, and this Mortal pall put on Immortality : Anid that then thofe who are alive and remain, being thus gloriously changed, shall be caught up, together with the rifen Saints; in the Clouds, to meet the Lord' in the Air. Thus, when Christ, who is our Life; pall appear, we shall also appear with bim in Glory. Col. in. 4. For be shall then come to be glorified in bis Saints, and to be admired in all them that believe. 2 Theff. i. 10. Thus shall every Thing concur to heighten the joyful Solemnity of that great Day. The resplendent Appear. ing of Christ himself, in his own wonderful Person, arrayed in his own and in his Father's Glory! The Pomp and Splendor of his illustrious Retinue, innumerable Mya riads of holy and mighty Angels, in theit. several bright Orders and Degrees! The folemn awful Voice and pompous Sound heard through Heaven and Earth! Millions of Saints rising at once from their Graves in their incorruptible shining Bodies, and spread ing Foy and Glory all around! The Bodies. of the good Men, that shall then be living upon the Earth, by a like wonderful Exertion of the Divine Power, changed in a
H hi 2 . Moment,
. Moment, and putting on a new and glorious Form! And both the one and the other caught up in the Clouds, to meet and wel. come their descending Lord and Saviour, when he shall come to judge the World; and then, at the Conclusion of that great Day, after having been openly acquitted in Judgment, and after having heard the joyful Sentence pronounced upon them by the great, the universal Judge, Comi, ye bleffed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the Foundation of the World, afcending again, with their glorious Lord, in blissful Triumph, together with the bright Hofts of attendant Angels, and there preJented, before his beavenly Father, with exceeding Joy, a glorious Church, not have ing Spot or Wrinkle, or any fucb Tbing ; and thenceforward to be for ever with the Lord, perfe&tly happy in the Vision and Enjoyment of God, and in the moft blissful Exercises and Entertainments, to all Eternity!
Such are the Discoveries that are made to us, in the Gospel of Jesus, of the Na. ture and Greatness of that Glory. and Blef. kedness, which God hath, in his infinite Grace and Goodnefs, prepared for good Men in the heavenly State. And must it not be acknowledged, that they far transcend not only any Notions of these Things we could have attained to by the Light of