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to be imagined, that the-redeemed tribes will fit down with those they know nothing of.
The knowlege, indeed, and enjoyment of “ the "only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath “ fent,” will be a happinels fo complete, lo glorious, and finished in itself, chat nothing will be Deeded to crown the jubilee, or pertect the salvati. on : John xvii. 3 But, if our Lord had not consi. dered the fociety of saints, as, at least, contributing toward the perfection of that blits, it is not caly to see why he would have made such particular mention of their partn:rs in the glory to be revcaled. :
Besides, there are different notices in the sacred records, by which this hypothesis will be more directly support.d. Haih Jesus Christ, for instance, promised to confess his people, not only before his Father which is in heaven, Matth. X. 32. but before the angels of God, Luke xii. 8. who are not so much as of the same order in the scale of being with themselves ? and can it be thought, that he will leave them unacquaintid with their dear bre. thren and fellow-hoirs ?
Of Peter. James, and John, we are told, thit they knew Mofes' and Elias upon the mount, and distinguished them by their names, though they had never seen these illuftrious per!onages, or either of them, in the field, Matih xrii, 3, 4. B is it to be imagined that, in such paling excurfions, glorified faints should be known by men on earth, and yet unknown by the same very persons who they meet with them to part no more, in the hea. venly world?
And if in a certain parable, Luke xvi. 23. 24. it is insovated, that from the farther lide of the impassable golph, the heirs of glory may both be deläied and distinguished, --can any thing be more
absurd, absurd, than to hefirate a moment concerning the propriety of this delightful truth?
Moreover, fitting down with the patriarchs and prophets, is an intimation that Gentile converts shall be raised to a level with the most eminent faiots in the Jewish church. They shall be in the fame state, of the same family, at the same table.... and have all their immunities secured by the same divine perfections. Have the patriarchs and prophers the feal of God in their foreheads ? Rev. vii. 3. they shall have the name of God written upon theirs, Rev. iii. 12. Are these arrayed in the uniforms of Emmanuel's landicso shall thefe. Do the former make essential parts of the heavenly, -the triumphant commonwealth ? so fall the lat. ter.
A difference indeed may take place between the glory of one saint and another, in respect of degrees; but each of them shall be as glorious as they are capable of, -as glorious as it is possible for them to be. Though, like so many vessels, re. deemed souls may be more or less capacious, they shall all be filled to the brim, consequently, according to their different measures, intirely upon a level *
* We cannot with precision now judge of the rank which different saints may bear in the church of God above, from the places they occupy in the church of God on earth; for it is not only possible, but beyond doubt, that some bearing «ffice in the church. and įp that view superior to those whom the exercise of their office respecteth, are not the holiest of the community; and therefore, in as far as the degrees of future gloiy may be inferred from the degrees of present grace, it mutt follo's, that those who are greatest in the church here, may be least in the church bertafler ; while these
We hall finish this argument with observing a few things more particularly, concerning the fociety with whoin Gentile converts shall mingle in the better world, which have the most direct rendency to promote the special happineis of cach, - the coinmon bliss of all.
As creatures, the patriarchs and prophets are all derived from the same common stock with Gentile converts, who Thall likewise fic down in the kingdom of heaven : for, in the language of Paul to the Athenians, “God hath nade of one blood " all the nations of men, to dwell on all the face " of ihe earth," Acts xvii. 26. . . · However these fages of Israel might excel-in knowlege or wisdom, in courage or strength, confidered as men ;-with whatever honours they might be clothed, and to whatever stations railed above others who shall meet and fit w th them in glory :-- yet, when they are traced back to their common original, every such distinction evaporates, and all such circumstances totally dilappear.
As new creatures, the patriarchs and prophets owe the change-produced, promoted, and perfected in them, to the fame cause that other saints owe their conversion and falvation, “the grace,”. Damely, "of our Lord Jesus Christ,” 2 Cor. viii. 9. There was no previous excellency, no fore. feen beauty in the former, more than there is in the latter, to recommend them unto God: the one as well as the other were laid, and must lie un. der everlasting obligations to him. for every part of their redemption, whether viewed in a n gative or positive light, conferred in tive, or enjoyed through çternity.
who make the least appearance upon carth, may cut ile most thining figure in heaveo.
As creatures and new cieatures, both the patri. archs and prophets had the tanie probationary state to go through, the same enemies to encounter, and the same warfare lo accomplish, that other taints either had or have. Sin, Satan, and the world, were no less sources of vial and distrets to those, than they have been, or must be, to these. Nay, the circumstances are so similar, that an inspired writer exhorts after-saints to keep the same tract, in order to reach the same goal : “ Be not nothful, “ (says he) hut followers of them, who through « faith and patience inherit the promises,” Heb. vi. 12.
The patriarchs and prophets entered into the world of spirits by the very door through which all the after-heirs of glory have passed, do, and will pass to the posle fion of their kingdom *. The decice againft the common head, “ Dust thou art, " and unto dull thou shalt return,” had a virtual respect to his wliole cífspring, as appears from the New Tifament interpretations of it. “It is apa
pointed (says the author of the Epistle to the He. " brews) unto men once to die :" Heb ix. 27 and that we might labour under no uncertainty, with respe&t to the extent of that appointment, it is declared dewhere, that, “as by one man fin " entered into the world, and death hy sin ; death “ palled upon all men, for that all have fioned :" Rom. v. 12. All mca without distinction or excep
*" The grave itself and all the doleful scenes of “ mortality are rendered by far the less funudable, “ fince it is but our dwelling a lirdle while with such « sacred dust, in obfcurity and filence, to arise toge" cher at lalt in glory, to be for ever with the Lord”
The Rev Mr. Sam Bury's dedication to the ACcoubt of his lady's life.
tion, the ancient patriarchs and celebrated prophets, as well as the most inconsiderable heirs of sályation *. .
The uniformity of the whole ransomed family, is the only other circumstance we shall condescend upon, aš vastly conducive toward the perfectioa of future happiness t.
The want of this in the militant church, is one constant spring of trial to the travellers of hope. Unholy persons lurking under a profession of Chriftianity, or their brethren in Christ themselves in. Auenced by illiberal and devious priaciples, marr much of the believers joy, and manifestly impede the communion of saints : but, in all that fociety, there shall not be an unholy perfon, nor one faint otherwise minded than the rest. Their views, feelings, and whole exercises shall all bend one way, and meet in the same point without variation or fecession for ever. To this happy state of things, the words of the prophet may well be applied, that “ Jerusalem shall be holy, and no Nr.inger. shall
pass through her any more ;" Joel iii. 17. and the Itill more expressive words of ths. Apostle can be applied to no other state : “ There shall in no 5 wise enter into” the city, “any thing that de
.* Enoch, indeed, and Elijah were exceptions from this general rule ; but, when all the friends of Jesus Mall meet on the morning of the resurrection, it will appear that the spirit of the law was fulfilled in them, and that their bodies underwent the same change by translation, that the bodies of other saints do by means of their reduction to dust
7 Tully's beautiful aphorism will apply, in its ut. molt extent, only to the heavenly state. - Sed, om55 nium focietatum, nulla præstantior elt, nulla firmior, “ quam, cum viri buni, moribus fimiles, funt familia“ ritate conjuncti."...Cicer. De offic. lib. 1. cap. 17..