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The First Book
Of the Saints Eternal Felicity, under the Title of'
£)/ the Amplitude ofGods Kingdom.
\V what mighty Importance is the Doctrine concerning the Kingdom of Heaven, we may learn from our Heavenly Master's so much insisting upon it , in his first Preaching; in almost all his Parables; and in his Forty days Conversion with - his Disciples after his Resurrection: When , it's said , Acts i. 3. He Appear d to 'em, Speaking oj the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.
We don't pretend here, to Explicate
every thing that concerns this Kingdom:
but only such Particulars as may serve to
B - Describe Describe the Place and the State. of the Blessed. And first of all,' Why it is called the Kingdom of God. Which may be, ( For 'the Amplitude of its .Extent; For the Mul'titude of its Inhabitants; For the Form of '* its Government ; For the Royal Quality 'of all its Subjects ; and for their Enjoy'ment of all the Goods that a Kingdom can « affords . « /
I. It is called the Kingdom of God, For the Amplitude of its Extent: Because it is the most Spacious Region, and of such Wonderful Dimensions, as arc Wider than the Narrowness of Humane thought can tell . how to comprehend. The Orb of this Earth, which is no more than a mere Point, compar'd with the highest Heavens, '(and 'tho' it were a Luminous Body all over as 'bright as theSun/twould be too Little to be 'discerned at all from theStarryFirmaments Yet does it contain so many and mighty Kingdoms, as *tis not easy to reckon up; 'but much harder to be acquainted with; e Tho'a man should study nothing else, 'even all the days of his Life. O then , of what unknown infinite Extent is that Kingdom, which is but One, and yet Dilates and spreads it self thro' all the unconceivable Space and Latitude of the Heaven of Heavens! Nor does it take in only the Supra-ctxlettial Regions, but all the University of things every where. The Empyrtt
urn, indeed, which in a peculiar manner bears the Name of Heaven, is the chief - Province, in which do Reside those Princes of the first Rank, who are all of 'em Sons of God, and Heirs of Glory.
Next is the zÆther, pr Firmament; in which the Stars do Glitter, and ( as if they had a Spirit of Life,) exactly Move, at the great Creator's beck.
The Third is the Air, where Wind and Vapour, Clouds charg'd with Rain and Thunder, and also the Fowls of all various kinds have the Liberty to Expatiate, ,
The Fourth is the Watery Region ; including Fountainsand Rivers, Lakes and Seas; and whatever glides thro' those deep and secret Caverns.
The Fifth is this Terrestrial Globe, where dwell the Inhabitants that might be tempted to Vye ev'n with the Heavenly Host, for the Privilege of their Reason, and their Dominion over all the otherCreatures here; but that their Mortality is a Diminution, which smartly convinces 'em of their Inferiority.
The Last and Lowest Region, unspeakably more disconsolate than any Desart Arabia, not only void of all good Fruits, but full of insupportable Plagues, holds none but such Reprobate Spirits, whose As. piring so high, threw'em so Low; And all whom they seduce, to Conspire in their B z Rebellion, Rebellion, will bear the sad Share in their Condemnation.
But all these strange "Provinces are the ample Dominions of our Heavenly King; and but several Districts of that boundless Kingdom, which he will communicate to them that Love him.
Here then, Christian Soul, Enlarge thy Heart, and suffer not thy self to be cribb'd up in the narrow Limits of present things. Never Pant and Tire out thy self, to compass a Pitiful Particle of that which we call (he World ; when thou may'st Inherit All, if thou wilt. O would Mortal Men butEngage in earnest to seek this Kingdom of God, or but apply their Minds, with any Seriousness, to Think of it, They could not but be under the greatest Confusion, to go take up Arms, and engage in bloody Wars, for some poor despicable Scraps of the Earth, Consider it, Man , when God offers thee even a Co-partnership in his infinite eternal Kiugdom, Wik thou madly run into Rapine, and Slaughter, and innumerable Enormities, only for the Acquisition and possession of a little Town ? O where's thy Understanding then, where's thy Counsel? Why don't ye rather take Wrong, and suffer your selves to be Defrauded? asKS the Apostle, i Cor. 6.7. It cannot be, that he who goes indeed with a Careful heart, to obtain the Kingdom of Heavens should ever use such . . Vio
Violence, and engage in such Wickedness, only for a spot of Clay ; but will certainly find some Umpire or other to Compromise the Matter j or rather let all go, than ha zard the Loss of Heaven, to be Master of such a contemptible Trifle upon Earth.
Of the Multitudes that people the Kingdom of God.
IN the Second place, Well may that High and Lofty Habitation above be called the Kingdom of God, For the wonderful Frequency and Variety of its Inhabitants; Such as no House or City, but the widest Kinj dom can ever contain. We are told , Thousands of Thousands, and the innumeral Company of Angels. To which add all t Spirits of the Just that die in the Lord, fr:, righteous Abel, quite down to the Consu'. mation of all things; together with eve. one of their Bodies also, which shall b raised Glorious, to shine as the Sun in tl Kingdom of their Father: And what Imag' nation then is able to reach any worth Idea of such an innumerable Assen, bly?
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