The paradise of love!
The following is by Jonathan Edwards
There are many principles contrary to love, that
make this world like a tempestuous sea.
Selfishness, and envy, and revenge, and jealousy,
and kindred passions keep life on earth in a constant
tumult, and make it a scene of confusion and uproar,
where no quiet rest is to be enjoyed except in
renouncing this world and looking to heaven.
But oh! what rest is there in that world which the God
of peace and love fills with his own gracious presence,
and in which the Lamb of God lives and reigns, filling
it with the brightest and sweetest beams of his love;
where there is nothing to disturb or offend, and no
being or object to be seen that is not surrounded with
perfect amiableness and sweetness; where the saints
shall find and enjoy all that they love, and so be
perfectly satisfied; where there is no enemy and no
enmity; but perfect love in every heart and to every
being; where there is perfect harmony among all the
inhabitants, no one envying another, but everyone
rejoicing in the happiness of every other; where all
their love is humble and holy, and perfectly Christian,
without the least carnality or impurity; where love is
always mutual and reciprocated to the full; where
there is no hypocrisy or dissembling, but perfect
simplicity and sincerity; where there is no treachery,
or unfaithfulness, or inconstancy, or jealousy in
any form; where there is no clog or hindrance to the
exercises or expressions of love, no imprudence or
indecency in expressing it, and no influence of folly
or indiscretion in any word or deed; where there is
no separation wall, and no misunderstanding or
strangeness, but full acquaintance and perfect
intimacy in all; where there is no division through
different opinions or interests, but where all in that
glorious and loving society shall be most nearly and
divinely related, and each shall belong to every other,
and all shall enjoy each other in perfect prosperity
and riches, and honor, without any sickness, or grief,
or persecution, or sorrow, or any enemy to molest them,
or any busybody to create jealousy or misunderstanding,
or mar the perfect, and holy, and blessed peace that
reigns in heaven!
And all this in the garden of God -- in the paradise of
love, where everything is filled with love, and everything
conspires to promote and kindle it, and keep up its flame,
and nothing ever interrupts it, but everything has been
fitted by an all wise God for its full enjoyment under the
greatest advantages forever!
And all, too, where the beauty of the beloved objects
shall never fade, and love shall never grow weary nor
decay, but the soul shall more and more rejoice in love forever!
Oh! what tranquillity will there be in such a world as this!
And who can express the fullness and blessedness of this
peace! What a calm is this! How sweet, and holy, and joyous!
What a haven of rest to enter, after having passed through
the storms and tempests of this world, in which pride, and
selfishness, and envy, and malice, and scorn, and contempt,
and contention, and vice, are as waves of a restless ocean,
always rolling, and often dashed about in violence and fury!
What a Canaan of rest to come to, after going through this
waste and howling wilderness, full of snares, and pitfalls,
and poisonous serpents, where no rest could be found!
And oh! what joy will there be, springing up in the hearts
of the saints, after they have passed through their wearisome
pilgrimage, to be brought to such a paradise as this!
Here is joy unspeakable indeed, and full of glory --
joy that is humble, holy, enrapturing, and divine in
Love is always a sweet principle; and especially divine love.
Love, even on earth, is a spring of sweetness; but in heaven
it shall become a stream, a river, an ocean!
All shall stand about the God of glory, who is the great
fountain of love, opening, as it were, their very souls
to be filled with those effusions of love that are poured
forth from his fullness, just as the flowers on the earth,
in the bright and joyous days of spring, open their bosoms
to the sun, to be filled with his light and warmth, and to
flourish in beauty and fragrancy under his cheering rays.
Every saint in heaven is as a flower in that garden
of God, and holy love is the fragrance and sweet odor
that they all send forth, and with which they fill the
bowers of that paradise above.
Every soul there, is as a note in some concert of
delightful music, that sweetly harmonizes with every
other note, and all together blend in the most rapturous
strains in praising God and the Lamb forever!
And so all help each other, to their utmost, to express
the love of the whole society to its glorious Father and
Head, and to pour back love into the great fountain of
love whence they are supplied and filled with love, and
blessedness, and glory.
And thus they will love, and reign in love, and in that
godlike joy that is its blessed fruit, such as eye has
not seen, nor ear heard, nor has ever entered into the
heart of man in this world to conceive; and thus in the
full sunlight of the throne, enraptured with joys that
are forever increasing, and yet forever full, they shall
live and reign with God and Christ forever and ever!