Imágenes de páginas

desire and wish for, but could not be asfuredof'by our own unassisted Reason without a Divine Revelation.

As to the Time when all this Happiness, 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 Men, upon quitting these Bodies, shall immediately enter into a State os happy Rejl and Joy. This is what our Saviour seems to signify in the Parable, when he faith concerning Lazarus, that he died, and was carried by the Angels into Abrahams Bojbm. Luke xvi. 23. And St. Paul faith concerning himself, that he destredto depart, and to be with Christ; which was far better than to continue here. Phil. i. 23. And to the lame Purpose we find him declaring, in his own Name, and that of all sincere Christians, We are always confident, knowing that, nphilst we are at Home in the Body, we ari absent from the Lord. For we walk by Faith, not by Sight. We are confident, 1 fay, and willing rather to be absent from thl Body, and to be present with the Lord\ Z Gor. V. 6'i Ji&.''Where jtvseems plain* \y intimated, that, immediately upon tht bml'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 Jkall be present with the Lord, in such an immediate and glorious Manner, that the nearefi 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 his Spirit, just as our Lord himself committed his Spirit into the Hands of his heavenly Father, to be received by him into Bliss and Glory. See and compare A6ts vii. 50. with John Xvii. 5.

But, if we speak of the Happiriefs of good Men, in it's full Completion, and in it's most 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, iri the New Testament, of the Glory of that Day: We are there assured, that then cur Lord Jesus Christ shall come in his own and in his Father's Glory, and all the holy Angels with him: That, the Lord himself shall 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 hear the Voice of the Son of God, and shall come forth; but that the Dead in Christ shall rifefrsl: That, in a Moment, in the Twinkling of an Eye, at the last ..-- Trump,

'trump, the Dead Jhall be raised incorruptible, and those good Men that shall theti be found alive upon the Earth shall be changed; so that this Corruptible Jhall put on Incorruption, and this Mortal Jhall put on Immortality i Arid that then those who are alive and remain, being thus gloriously changed, shall be caught up, together 'with the risen Saints, in the Clouds, to meet the Lard in the Air. Thus, when Christ, who is our Life; Jhall appear, we Jhall also appear with him in Glory. Col. iii. 4. For he Jhall then come to be glorified in his Saints, and to be admired in all them that believe. 2 Thess. i. 10. Thus shall every Thing concur to heighten the joyful Solemnity of that great Day. The resplendent Appearing of Christ himself, in his own wonderful Person, arrayed in his own and in his Father's Glory! The Pomp and Splendor os his illustrious RetinUe, innumerable Myriads of holy and mighty Angels, in. their several bright Orders arid Degrees! The solemn 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 spreading "Joy 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 h. 2 Moment, Moments and putting on a new and glorious Form! And both the one and the other caught up in the Clouds, to meet and welcome their descending Lord and Saviour, when he Jhall come to judge the World; and then, at the Conclusion of. that great Day., after having been openly acquitted in Judgtnent, and after having heard the joyful 8enteftce pronounced upon them by the great, the universal Judge, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the Foundation of the Worlds ascending again, with their glorious Lord, in blissful triumph, together with the bright Hosts of attendant Angels, and there presented, before his heavenly Father, with exceeding soy, a glorious Church, not having Spot or Wrinkle, or any such Thing j and thenceforward to be for ever with the Lord, perfectly happy in the Vision and Enjoyment of God, and in the most blissful Exercises and Entertainments, to all Eternity I

Such are the Discoveries that are made to us, in the Gospel os Jesus, of the Nature and Greatness of that Glory and Blessedness, which God hath, in his infinite Grace and Goodness, 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 i Nature, Nature, but any Discoveries that were made in any former Revelation? And therefore it may on this Account be justly said, that our Lord Jesus Christ hath brought Life and Immortality to Light by the Gospel.

It remains that I (hew, that our Lord Jesus Christ hath also given the clearest and best Directions, as to the Way and Terms upon which that future Happiness is to be obtained: But the Consideration of thie must be reserved to another Opportunity.

[graphic][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »