The Christian's Charter

Showing the Privileges of a Believer

by Thomas Watson

"All things are yours!"
1 Corinthians 3:21

Chapter 8. The Third Royal Privilege of a Believer is—that he shall "be with Christ in glory." Phil. 1:23, "I desire to be depart," or loosen anchor—and to be with Christ! This is a privilege of the first magnitude! Surely we can be no losers, by being with Christ. A graft or scion, though it is taken out of the tree, it does not perish—but is set into a better stock. Thus it is with a Christian, while he is here, (even after conversion) there is much of the wild olive still in him; now when this scion, by death is cut off, he does not perish—but is set into a more noble stock—he is with Christ, which is far better. Well might the apostle say, "I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far!" Is not a state of perfection better than a state of imperfection?

Our graces are our best jewels—but they are imperfect, and do not give out their full luster; grace is but in its infancy here on earth, it will not be of full growth until we are with Christ. The best Christian in this life—is but a child in grace. Here on earth, we have but some imperfect buddings of grace; when we are with Christ, our graces shall be fully ripe and matured. In this life we are said to receive but "the first fruits of the Spirit." We must not expect a full crop until we are with Christ! Grace while we are here in this world, is mingled with corruption. It is like gold in the ore; or as the pillar of cloud, it has its dark side as well as its light side. Our faith is mingled with unbelief; our humility is stained with pride! The flame of grace is not so pure, but it has some smoky vapors. Our life of grace is said to be hidden. It is hidden indeed, under much corruption, as the sun is hidden under a cloud; or as the corn is hidden under chaff; or as a pearl may be hidden in the mire. Though grace cannot be lost—yet it may be hidden. David so clouded his graces by sin, that others could hardly see the cloth of gold under the filthy garments. Is it not far better to be with Christ? our graces then shall shine forth in their perfection! This is a glorious privilege, we shall be with Christ.

It is a blessed thing to be with Christ while we are here on earth. "I am ever with you." What is it, which the pious soul desires in this life? Is it not to have the sweet presence of Christ! He cares for nothing, but what has something of Christ in it. He loves duties only as they carry him to Christ. Why is prayer so sweet—but because the soul has private conference with Christ! Why is the Word precious—but because it is a means to convey Christ to him! He comes down to us upon the wings of the Spirit; and we go up to him upon the wings of faith! An ordinance without Christ—is but feeding upon the dish—instead of the meat. Why does the wife love the letter—but because it brings news of her husband! Here on earth, we enjoy Christ by letters, and that is sweet; but what will it be to enjoy his presence in glory! Here is that which may amaze us—we shall be with Christ! Christ is all that is desirable! Nay, he is more than we can desire! A man that is thirsty, he desires only a little water to quench his thirst; but bring him to the lake—and here he has more than he can desire. In Christ there is not only a fullness of sufficiency—but a fullness of abundance; it overflows all the banks! A Christian that is most energized by faith, has neither a head to devise, nor a heart to desire—all that which is in Christ! Only when we come to heaven, will God enlarge the vessel of our desire, and will fill us as Christ did the waterpots with wine—"up to the brim." Now this privilege of being with Christ, has six privileges growing out of it.

1. The First Privilege of being with Christ—VISION.

Job 19:26. "In my flesh shall I see God"; the sight of Jesus Christ will be the most sublime and ravishing object to a glorified saint. When Christ was upon earth, his beauty was hidden. "He has no form or loveliness;" the light of the divine nature was hidden in the dark lantern of the human; it was hidden under reproaches, sufferings; yet even at that time there was enough of beauty in Christ to delight the heart of God. "My Elect in whom my soul delights." His veil was then upon his face; but what will it be when the veil shall be taken off, and he shall appear in all his embroidery! It is heaven enough—to see Christ. "Whom have I in heaven but you!" Angels and archangels do not make heaven. Christ is the most sparkling diamond in the ring of glory!

2. The Second Privilege of being with Christ—UNION. We shall enter into a marriage union with Christ. We shall so behold him, as to be made one with him. What nearer than union? what sweeter? Union is the spring of joy, the ground of privilege; by virtue of this blessed union with Christ, all those rare beauties with which the human nature of the Lord Jesus is bespangled, shall be ours. Let us compare two scriptures: John 17:24, "Father, I will that they also whom you have given me, be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory." That is, the glory of the human nature. But this is not all, verse 22, "The glory that you have given me, I have given them." Christ has not his glory only for himself—but for us; we shall shine by his beams. Here on earth, Christ puts his graces upon his spouse, and in heaven he will put his glory upon her.

No wonder then the king's daughter is "all glorious within," and "her clothing of wrought gold." How glorious will the spouse be, when she has Christ's jewels upon her! Judge not of the saints by what they are—but by what they shall be. "It does not yet appear what we shall be," 1 John 3:1. Why, what shall we be? "We shall be like him." The spouse of Christ shall not only be made one with Christ—but she shall be made like Christ; in other marriages, the spouse changes her condition—but here she changes her complexion! Not that the saints in glory shall receive of Christ's essence, they shall have as much glory as the human nature is capable of; though Christ conveys his image—yet not his essence. The sun shining upon a glass leaves a print of its beauty there; and it is hard to distinguish between the glass and the sunbeam: but the glass is not the beam, the sun conveys only its likeness, not its essence.

3. The Third Privilege of being with Christ—NOBILITY. This consists in two things.

1. The saints shall sit with Jesus Christ when he judges the world. "Know you not, that the saints shall judge the world?" The saints shall sit with Christ in judicature, as the justices of peace with the judge. The saints are Christ's assessors; they shall be with him upon the bench, applauding his righteous sentence. O what a glorious tribunal will that be! Here on earth, the world judges the saints—but there the saints shall judge the world.

2. They shall sit nearer the throne than the angels. The angels are noble and sublime spirits—but by virtue of our marriage union, we shall be ennobled with greater honor than the angels! The angels are Christ's friends—but not his spouse! This honor have all his saints. As the saints' robes in glory shall be brighter than the angels: theirs being only the righteousness of creatures—but these having upon them the righteousness of God, so their dignity shall be greater. Here on earth, we are prisoners at bar—but there favorites at court! The saints shall sit down in glory above the angels.

4. The Fourth Privilege of being with Christ—JOY. This joy of the saints proceeds from union; when our union with Christ is perfect, then our joy shall be full. Rev. 21:4, "And God shall wipe away all tears, and there shall be no more sorrow."

1. There shall be no WEEPING. Jesus Christ has provided a handkerchief to wipe off the tears of the saints. Here on earth, the spouse is in sable, it being a time of absence from her husband. But in heaven, Christ will take away the spouse's mourning; he will take off all her black and bloody apparel, and will clothe her in white robes, Rev. 7:13. White, as it is an emblem of the saints' purity, so it is a type of their joy. Heaven would not be heaven—if there were weeping there. Hell indeed is called a place of weeping; those who would not shed a tear for their sins while they lived, shall have weeping enough; but we never read of weeping in heaven. Christ will take down our harps from the willows; there he will call for his heralds and trumpeters. The angels, those blessed choristers, shall sing the divine anthems of praise, and the saints shall join in that heavenly concert. If it were possible that any tears could be shed when we are with Christ, they should be the tears of joy, as sometimes we have seen a man weep for excessive joy! Christ will turn all our water there, into wine.

2. There shall be no SORROW. One smile from Christ's face will make us forget all the afflictions of our earthly life. Sorrow is a cloud gathered in the heart, upon the apprehension of some evil: and weeping is the cloud of grief dropping into rain. But in heaven the sun of righteousness shall shine so bright, that there shall not be the least interposition of any cloud. There shall be no sorrow there, nor anything to breed it. There shall be no sin to humble. Heaven is such a pure soil, that the viper of sin will not breed there. There shall be no enemy to molest. When Israel had conquered Canaan—yet they could not get rid of all the Canaanites, they would live among them; "But the Canaanites would dwell in that land!" But when we are with Christ, we shall never more be troubled with Canaanites. "In that day, there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord." God will keep the heavenly paradise with a flaming sword, that none shall come near to hurt: "Upon all that glory shall be a defense." There shall be nothing to breed sorrow in heaven. There are two things that usually raise the clouds of sorrow, and both shall be removed when we are with Christ.

1. The frowns of great men. How ambitious are men of the King's smile? but alas, that quickly sets in a cloud, and then their comforts are in the wane, they are sad! But when we are with Christ, we shall have a perpetual smile from God! The saints shall never be out of favor, Jesus Christ is the great favorite at court; and as long as God smiles upon Christ, so long he will smile upon the saints, they having on Christ's beauty; and being part of Christ.

2. The loss of dear friends. Friends imparts secrets; friendship is the marriage of affections, it makes two become one spirit. David and Jonathan took sweet counsel together, their heart was knit in one. Now here is the grief—when this precious knot must be untied. But be of good cheer, if your friend is one of the elect, after you have parted with your sins—you shall meet with him and never part. If your friend is wicked, though he were your friend on earth, you will cease to be his friend in heaven. The pious wife will not complain she has lost her wicked husband; nor the pious parent, that he has lost his wicked child. All relations are infinitely made up in Christ, as the whole constellation in the sun, that great lamp of heaven. When a man comes to the lake, he does not complain that he lacks his cistern of water. Though you sucked comfort from your relations; yet when you come to the ocean, and are with Christ, you shall never complain that you have left your cistern behind!

There will be nothing to breed sorrow in heaven; there shall be joy—and nothing but joy. Heaven is set out by that phrase, "Enter into the joy of your Lord." Here on earth, joy enters into us; there we enter into joy. The joys we have here on earth, are from heaven; those joys are in heaven! The joys that we shall have with Christ, are without measure and without mixture. "In your presence is fullness of joy," Psalm 16:11.

1. The HEART shall be filled with joy. Nothing but Christ can replenish the heart with joy: the understanding, will, and affections, are such a triangle, that none can fill but the Trinity. As Christ's beauty shall amaze the eye, so his love shall ravish the heart of a glorified saint! Must it not needs be joy to be with Christ? What joy, when a Christian shall pass the great gulf between heaven and hell! What joy when Christ shall take a believer into the wine cellar, and kiss him with the kisses of his lips! What joy when the match shall be at once made up, and solemnized between Christ and the soul! These are the more noble and entire delights.

2. All the SENSES shall be filled with joy—and at once! The eye shall be filled. What joy shall it be, to see that orient brightness in the face of Christ! There you may see the lily and the rose mixed, white and ruddy, Cant. 5:10. The ear shall be filled. What joy to the spouse—to hear Christ's voice! The voice of God was dreadful to Adam, after he had listened to the serpent's voice. "I heard your voice in the garden—and was afraid," Gen. 3:10. But how sweet will the bridegroom's voice be! What joy to hear him say, "My love, my dove, my undefiled one!" What joy to hear the music of angels, even the heavenly multitude praising God? If the eloquence of Origin, and the golden mouth of Chrysostom, did so affect and charm the ears of their auditors, O then what will it be to hear the glorious tongues of saints and angels, as so many divine trumpets sounding forth the excellencies of God, and singing hallelujahs to the lamb!

The smell shall be filled. What joy to smell that fragrance and perfume which comes from Christ! All his garments smell of myrrh, aloes, and cassia. The sweet breath of his Spirit blowing upon the soul, shall give forth its scent as the wine of Lebanon. The taste shall be filled. Christ will bring his spouse into the banqueting-house, and she shall be inebriated with his love! O what joy to be drinking in this heavenly nectar! This is the water of life! This is the wine on the lees well refined. The touch shall be filled—the saints shall be ever in the embraces of Christ; "Behold my hands and my feet; handle me, and see me," Luke 24:39. That will be our work in heaven; we shall be forever handling the Lord of life! Thus all the senses shall be filled with joy. Well might the apostle say, to be with Christ is better by far! If Christ's sufferings are full of joy, what then are his embraces! If the dew of Hermon hill is so sweet—the first-fruits of Christ's love; what will the full crop be!

In short, there will be nothing in heaven but what shall add infinitely to the joy of the saints. The very torments of the damned shall create matter of joy and triumph. I may allude to that of the Psalmist, "The righteous shall rejoice when he sees the vengeance." "And again they shouted: Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up for ever and ever!" Revelation 19:3. The Elect shall rejoice upon a double account— to see God's justice magnificently exalted, and to see themselves miraculously delivered. There shall be no unpleasant object represented; nothing but joy. Such will that joy be, when we are with Christ, that it is not possible to now even imagine! "He was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell." 2 Cor. 12:4. We read that Joseph gave his brethren money and provisions for the way; but the full sacks were kept until they came to their father's house. Just so, God gives us something by the way; some of the hidden manna; some taste of his heavenly joy in this life—but the full sacks of blessing are kept for heaven! O what joy to be with Christ! Surely if there were such joy and triumph at Solomon's coronation, that all the earth rang with the sound of it, what joy will be on the saints' coronation-day, when they shall be eternally united to Jesus Christ!

5. The Fifth Privilege of being with Christ—REST. A Christian in this life is like quicksilver, which has a principle of motion in itself—but not of rest. We are never quiet—but are like the ship upon the waves. As long as we have sin—we will not have rest. A child of God is full of motion and disquiet; "I have no rest in my bones by reason of my sin," Psalm 38:3. While there are wicked men in the world, never look for rest. If a man is poor, he is thrust away by the rich. If he be rich, he is envied by the poor. Sometimes losses disquiet, sometimes law-suits vex. The saints in this life are in a pilgrim condition; the apostles had no certain dwelling place, 1 Cor. 4:11. We are here on earth, in a perpetual hurry, in a constant fluctuation. Our life is like the tide, sometimes ebbing, sometimes flowing.

Here on earth, is no rest—and the reason is, because we are out of center; everything is in motion until it comes at the center; Christ is the center of the soul. The needle of the compass trembles—until it turns to the North pole. Noah's dove found no rest for the sole of her foot—until she came at the ark. This ark was a type of Christ. When we come to heaven, the kingdom which cannot be shaken, we shall have rest, Heb. 4:9. "There remains therefore a rest for the people of God." Heaven in scripture is compared to a granary, Matt. 3:12, an emblem of rest. Wheat, while it stands on the ground, is shaken to and fro with the wind—but when it is laid up in the granary it is at rest. The elect are spiritual wheat, who while they are in the field of this world, are never quiet—the wind of persecution shakes this wheat, and everyone who passes by, will be plucking these sacred ears of corn. But when the wheat is in the heavenly garner, it is at rest. There remains a rest for the people of God. Not but that there shall be motion in heaven, (for spirits cannot be idle) but it shall be without lethargy and weariness. It shall be a labor full of ease; a motion full of rest. When a believer is in heaven, he has his rest. The lower earthly region is windy and tempestuous. When we are once gotten into the upper region of glory, there are no winds or noxious vapors—but a serene calmness; this is to be with Christ.

6. The Sixth Privilege of being with Christ—SECURITY. It is possible that a man may have a few minutes of rest; but he is not secure, he knows not how soon eclipses and changes may come. He is still in fear, and fear makes a man a slave, though he knows it not. There is torment in fear, 1 John 4:18. He who has great possessions thinks thus: "How soon may I fall from this pinnacle of honor? how soon may the plunderer come?" Nay, a believer who has durable riches—may still be wavering and doubting concerning his condition.

1. He sometimes questions whether he is in the state of grace or not; and thus he thinks with himself; "Perhaps I believe; I have something that glitters, perhaps it is but a counterfeit pearl. Perhaps my faith is presumption, my love to Christ is but self-love." And after the Spirit of God has wrought the heart to some sound persuasion, he is soon shaken again; as a ship that lies at anchor, though it is safe—yet it is shaken and tossed upon the water; and these fears leave impressions of sadness upon the heart.

2. But secondly, he fears that though he is in the state of grace—yet he may fall into some scandalous sin, and so grieve the Spirit of God, sadden the hearts of the righteous, wound his own conscience, harden sinners, discourage new beginners, put a song into the mouth of the profane, and at last God hide his face in a cloud. A child of God after a sad declension, having by his sin put black spots in the face of religion, though I deny not but he has a title to the promise; yet be may be in such a condition, that he cannot for the present apply any promise—he may go weeping to his grave.

These sad fears, like black vapors, are still arising out of a gracious heart. But when once a believer is with Christ, there is full security of heart; he is not only out of danger—but out of fear. Take it thus; a man that is upon the top of a mast, he may sit safe for the present—but not secure. Perhaps the pirates may shoot at the ship, and take it; perhaps the winds may arise suddenly, and the ship may sink in the storm. But a man who is upon a rock, he stands impregnable; his heart is secure. A Christian in this life is like a man upon the top of a mast; sometimes the pirates come aboard, namely, cruel persecutors, and they shoot at his ship, and often, though the passenger (the precious soul) escapes—yet they sink the ship; sometimes the winds of temptation blow; those northern winds; and now the Christian questions whether God loves him, or whether his name is enrolled in the book of life. And though being in Christ, there is no danger—yet his heart hesitates and trembles. But when he is with Christ, off from the top of the mast, and is planted upon the rock—his heart is fully secure; and you shall hear him say thus, now I am sure I have passed the gulf, I am now passing from death unto life, and none shall pluck me out of my Savior's arms!

Chapter 9. The Fourth Royal Privilege—the blessed inheritance.

Let worldlings place their happiness in this life; a believer's happiness is in the future—the golden world is yet to come. I pass to the next privilege, which is the blessed inheritance. Col. 1:12, "Giving thanks unto the Father, who has made us fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light." This world is but a tenement, which we may be soon turned out of; heaven is an inheritance, and a glorious one. Heaven cannot be hyperbolized. If the skirts and suburbs of the palace, namely, the stars and planets are so glorious, that our eyes cannot behold the dazzling luster of them; what glory then is there in the celestial palace itself!

Of this blessed place we have a figurative description in Rev. 21. John was carried away in the Spirit, and had a vision of heaven, verse 2. "And I saw no temple therein;" while we dwell upon earth, there is need for a temple, we shall not be above ordinances until we are above sin; but in heaven, God will be our meeting place—instead of a temple, "he shall be all in all."

Verse 25, "there shall be no night there." No city is to be found, not the most glorious metropolis under heaven, where it is always day: for though some regions which lie immediately under the pole, have light for several months together; yet when the sun withdraws from the horizon, they have as long a night as before they had a day. But says the text, "There shall be no night there." In hell it is all night—but in heaven the day will be ever lengthening. Now this blessed inheritance which the saints shall possess, has eight properties, or rather privileges worth our serious thoughts.

1. Sublimeness. It is set out by a great and high mountain, Rev. 21:10. It is placed above the airy and starry heaven, says Musculus. It is the empyrean heaven which Paul calls the third heaven. For the situation of it; it is far above all heavens, where Christ himself is. This is the royal palace where saints shall dwell. The men of this world are high in power and in pride—and if they could build their nests among the stars, the elect shall shortly be above them; they shall take their flight as high as Christ: here is a preferment worth looking after.

2. Magnificence. It is set out by gems and precious stones, the richest jewels. If the streets are of gold—what is the furniture and decorations! What is the cabinet of jewels! No wonder that "the violent take it by force!" Mat. 11:12. I rather wonder, why others are not more earnest for this inheritance. What are all the rarities of the world, compared to this! The coasts of pearl, the islands of spices, the rocks of diamonds! What a rich place must that needs be, where God will lay out his cost—where infinite wisdom contrives, and infinite bounty disburses!

Fulgentius, beholding the pomp and splendor of the Roman senate-house, cried out, "If the earthly senate-house is so glorious—O how beautiful is the celestial Jerusalem!" In this blessed inheritance there is nothing but glory. There is the king of glory; there are the vessels of glory; there are the thrones of glory; there is the weight of glory; there are the crowns of glory; there is the kingdom of glory; there is the brightness of glory! This is a purchase worth getting! What will not men adventure for a kingdom!

3. Purity. Heaven is set forth under the metaphor of "pure gold, and transparent glass," Rev. 21:11. The apostle calls it "an undefiled inheritance." Heaven is a pure place; it is compared to the sapphire, 21:19. The sapphire is a precious stone of a bright sky color, and it has a virtue in it, says Pliny, to preserve chasteness and purity. Thus heaven is represented by the sapphire; it is a place where only the refined pure spirits enter. Heaven is compared to the emerald, verse 19, which (as writers say) has a precious virtue to expel poison. Heaven is such a pure soil, that as no fever of lust, so no venom of malice shall be there. There shall not enter into it anything "which defiles," Rev. 21:27. It is a kingdom wherein "dwells righteousness," 2 Pet. 3:13.

In this lower earthly region, there is little righteousness; "They set up wickedness by a law," Psalm 94:20. The wicked devours his neighbor, "who is more righteous than he," Hab. 1:13. The just man is oppressed because he is just. One says, there is more justice to be found in hell—than upon earth. For in hell no innocent person is oppressed; but here on earth, righteousness is the thing that is persecuted. A man can hardly tread two steps—but either into sin or into suffering. In this world, the sinner need not fear any punitive vindictive act of justice; rather he who reproves sin may fear. Holiness is the mark which the Devil shoots at! But heaven is a kingdom wherein dwells righteousness; there is the judge of the world, "who puts on righteousness as a breastplate; who loves righteousness."

4. Peaceableness. The word Peace, comprehends all blessings. Peace is the glory of a kingdom: this white lily is the best flower of a prince's crown. How happy was the reign of Pompilius—when it was so peaceful, that the bees made their hives in the soldiers helmets! But where shall we find an uninterrupted peace upon earth? Either there are divisions at home, or wars abroad, the beating of the drums, the roaring of the cannons, the sounding of the trumpets. Solomon's kingdom was peaceable a while—but how soon had he an alarm given him! 1 Kings 11:14, "The Lord stirred up an adversary against him." How soon do the clouds of blood drop after a little sunshine of peace!

But the heavenly inheritance to come is peaceable. There is the "Prince of Peace"; there the saints enter into peace. The harp, in ancient times, was made the emblem of peace; in heaven there shall be the "voice of harpers harping." The saints in this life wear "garments rolled in blood"; but in a state of glory, they are said to wear "white robes," which shall not be stained with the blood of war any more! In heaven righteousness and peace shall kiss each other.

5. Amplitude. The inheritance is sufficiently spacious for all the saints. The garner is wide enough to receive all those infinite grains of wheat which shall be laid in it. Though there are innumerable companies of saints and angels in heaven—yet there is infinitely room enough to receive them: "In my Father's house are many mansions." Some are of opinion that every believer shall have a particular mansion in glory. "Every saint shall have his kingdom," says Jansenius. We know our Savior told his apostles that they would sit upon twelve thrones. Certainly the saints shall not be straitened for room. The world of glory is wide enough for the most sublime spirits to expatiate in!

6. Safety. It is an inheritance which the saints cannot be defrauded of; it is in safe hands. God keeps the inheritance for them, 1 Pet. 1:4, and keeps them for the inheritance, 1 Pet. 1:5, so that there can be no defalcation, nothing can hinder the saints from taking possession.

7. Light. It is called an inheritance "in light." If every star were a sun, it could never shadow out the bright luster of this celestial paradise. Light is a glorious creature; without light, what would all the world be—but a dark prison? What beauty is there in the sun when it is masked with a cloud? Light does actuate the colors, and makes every flower appear in its fresh beauty. Heaven is a bright body, all over embroidered with light. It is not like the starry heaven—here and there bespangled with stars—but other parts of it like chequer-work interwoven with darkness. Here Christ as a continual sun, shall give light to the whole heaven. "The Lamb shall be the light thereof!" Indeed all other light, in comparison of this, is but like the twilight, or rather the midnight. Here alone are the shining rays of beauty, which every glorified eye shall be enabled both to behold and to possess! This light shall have no night to eclipse or extinguish it; when once the Sun of Righteousness has risen upon the soul, it shall never set any more. This is a high privilege of the glory of heaven—that it is an inheritance in light. When the scripture would set forth the blessedness of God himself; it makes it consist in this, "He dwells in light."

8. Permanency. It is an incorruptible inheritance. It runs parallel with eternity. Eternity is a circle which has neither beginning nor end. Eternity is a sea which has neither bottom nor banks! This is the glory of the celestial paradise—it abides forever! If we could by our arithmetic reckon up more millions of ages than there have been minutes since the creation, after all this time (which were a short eternity) the inheritance of the saints shall be as far from ending as it was at the beginning. "This world is fading away, along with everything it craves. But if you do the will of God, you will live forever." 1 John 2:17. Everything is fading away! It is good to look upon the world as the heathens did upon pleasure; they looked upon the back parts of pleasure, and saw it going away from them and leaving a sting. The world is fading away—but heaven never fades, therefore heaven's eminency is its permanency.

With evil things, (such as pain and misery,) length of time makes them worse; but good things, (as joy and pleasure,) length of time makes them better! Heaven's eminency is its permanency. Things are prized and valued by the time we have in them. Lands or houses which are owned—are esteemed far better than leases, which soon expire. The saints do not lease heaven; it is not their landlord's house—but their Father's house!

This house never falls to decay; it is a mansion-house, John 14:2. There is nothing excellent (says Nazianzene) that is not perpetual. The comforts of the world are wavering and uncertain, like a fading garland; therefore they are shadowed out by the tabernacle, which was transient. But heaven is set out by the temple, which was fixed and permanent. It was made of strong materials, built with stone, covered with cedar, over-laid with gold. Eternity is the highest link of the saint's happiness! The believer shall be forever bathing in the pure and pleasant fountain of bliss! The lamp of glory shall be ever burning, never wasting. As there is no intermission in the joys of heaven, so no expiration. When once God has set his plants in the celestial paradise, he will never more pluck them up! He will never transplant them; never will Christ lose any member of this body; you may sooner separate light from the sun, than a glorified saint from Jesus Christ. O eternity, eternity! what a spring of delight will that be—which shall have no autumn! What a day will that be—which shall have no night! Methinks I see the morning-star appear, it is break of day already!

Concerning the glory of this blessed inheritance, let me super-add these four things.

1. The glory of heaven is ponderous and weighty. It is called "a weight of glory," 2 Cor. 4:17. God must make us able to bear it. This weight of glory should make sufferings light: this weight should make us throw away the weights of sin—though they be golden weights! Who would for the indulging of a lust, forfeit so glorious an inheritance! Lay the whole world in scales with it—it is lighter than vanity!

2. The glory of heaven is infinitely satisfying. There is neither lack, nor excess. This can be said properly of nothing but heaven. You who court the world for honor and preferment, remember what the creature says concerning satisfaction, "It is not in me!" Heaven alone, is commensurate to the vast desires of the soul. Here the Christian cries out in a divine ecstasy, "I have enough, my Savior, I have enough!" "You will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand!" Psalm 16:11. "You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your rivers of delight!" Psalm 36:8. Not drops—but rivers! These only can quench the thirst. Every day in heaven, shall be a feast! There is no lack at this feast! There shall excellency shine in its perfection.

This present world is but a jail, the body is the fetter with which the soul is bound. If there is anything in a jail to delight—what is the eternal palace and the throne! If we meet with any comfort in Mount Horeb, what is in Mount Zion! All the world is like a picture of a landscape; you may see orchards and gardens curiously drawn in the landscape—but you cannot enter into them. But you may enter into this heavenly paradise, 2 Pet. 1:11, "For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom," etc. Here is soul-satisfaction.

3. Though an innumerable company of saints and angels have a part in this inheritance, there is never the less for you. Another man's beholding the sun, does not make me to have the lesser light: thus will it be in glory. Usually here on earth, all the inheritance is divided among the several heirs—some are put off with smaller portions. In heaven all the saints are heirs; the youngest believer is an heir, and God has land enough to give to all his heirs. All the angels and archangels have their portion paid out; yet a believer shall never have the less. Is not Christ the heir of all things? Heb. 1:2, and the saints co-heirs? Romans 8:17. They share with Christ in the same glory. It is true, one vessel may hold more than another—but every vessel shall be full.

4. The souls of the elect shall enter upon possession immediately after death! 2 Cor. 5:8, "We are willing rather to be absent from the body—and to be present with the Lord." There is an immediate transition and passage from death—to glory, "the soul returns to God who gave it." Christ's resurrection was before his ascension; but the saints' ascension is before their resurrection. The body may be compared to the bubble in the water, the soul to the wind that fills it; you see the bubble rises higher and higher, at last it breaks into the open air; so the body is but like a bubble, which rises from infancy to youth, from youth to age, higher and higher; at last this bubble breaks, and dissolves into dust, and the spirit ascends into the open air—it returns unto God who gave it.

Be of good comfort, we shall not wait long for our inheritance. It is but winking—and we shall see God. O the glory of this paradise! When we are turned out of all, let us think of this inheritance which is to come; faith itself is not able to reach it! It is more than we can hope for—or even imagine! I may say of this celestial paradise, as once the children of Dan said of Laish, Judges 18:9, 10. "We have seen the land, and behold it is very good; a place where there is no lack of anything." Faith being sent out as a spy to search the land of promise, returns this answer, "There is no lack of anything." There can be no lack where Christ is, who is "all in all," Col. 3:11.

In heaven there is health without sickness, plenty without famine, riches without poverty, life without death. There is unspotted purity, unstained honor, unparalleled beauty. There is the tree of life in the midst of paradise; there is the river which waters the garden; there is the vine flourishing, and the pomegranates budding, Cant. 6:11. There is the banqueting house, where are all those delicacies and rarities, with which God himself is delighted. While we are sitting at that table, Christ's "spikenard will send forth its fragrance," Cant. 1:12. There is the bed of love, there are the curtains of Solomon, there are the mountains of spices, and the streams from Lebanon! There are the cherubim, not to keep us out—but to welcome us into paradise! There shall the saints be adorned, as a bride with gems of glory! There will God give us abundantly, "infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope for!" Eph. 3:20. Is not this enough? What more could we ask for!

Haman's aspiring heart could have asked not only the king's royal robe, and the ring from his hand—but the crown from his head too. A man can ask for million of worlds—but in heaven God will give us more than we can ask; nay, more than we can ever imagine! We could imagine—what if all the dust of the earth were turned to silver; what if every stone were a wedge of gold; what if every flower were a ruby; what if every blade of grass were a pearl; what if every sand in the sea were a diamond! Yet all this is nothing—compared to the glory of heaven! It is as impossible for any man in his deepest thoughts, to comprehend glory, as it would be for him to measure the heavens with a ruler; or drain the great ocean with a thimble. O incomparable place!

Methinks our souls should be big with longing for this blessed inheritance! All this that I have told you of heaven, may make you say as Monica, Augustine's mother, "What am I doing here? Why is my soul held with the earthen fetter of this flesh?" Cleombrotus having read Plato's piece of the immortality of the soul, being ravished with desire of those golden delights in the other world, killed himself. Though we must not break prison—until God opens it—yet how should we long for delivery from this earthly jail! How should we be inflamed with desire to taste of those rare and sweet delicacies, which are above at God's right hand! O what madness is it for men to spin out their time, and tire out their strength--in pursuing the vanities of this

world! This is to imitate Dionysius, who busied himself in catching flies!

Surely, were we "carried away in the Spirit," I mean, elevated by the power of faith—to the contemplation of this royal and stately palace of glory—I know not whether we should more wonder at the luster of heaven, or at the dullness of such as mind earthly things. The world adored—though is but a painted pageant or shadow! It is reported of Caesar, that traveling through a certain city, as he passed along, he saw the women, for the most part, playing with monkeys and parrots; at which sight he said, "What! have they no children to play with!" So I say, when I see men toying with these earthly and beggarly vanities, "What! are there not more glorious and sublime things to mind!"

That which our Savior said to the woman of Samaria, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that says to you, Give me to drink, you would have asked of him, and he would have given you living water!" The same may I say, did men know these eternal mansions, and what it were to be digging in these rich mines of glory. Would God give them a vision of heaven a while, as he did Peter, who saw "heaven opened," Acts 10:11, how would they fall into a trance, (being amazed and filled with joy!) and being a little recovered out of it, how importunately would they beg of God, that they might be adopted into this stately inheritance!

But why do I expatiate? these things are unspeakable and full of glory. Had I as many tongues as hairs on my head, I could never sufficiently set forth the beauty and resplendency of this blissful inheritance! Such was the curious art of Apelles in drawing of pictures, that if another had taken up the pencil to touch up the painting, he would have spoiled all Apelles' work. Such is the excellency of this celestial paradise, that if the angels should take up their pencil to delineate it in its colors, they would but stain and eclipse the glory of it. I have given you only the dark shadow the picture, and that but crudely and imperfectly! Such is the beauty and bliss of this inheritance, that as Chrysostom says, "if it were possible that all the sufferings of the saints could be laid upon one man—it would not compare with his being in heaven for one hour!"

Some of the learned are of opinion, that we shall know our friends in heaven. This seem very probable to me—for surely our knowledge there shall not be eclipsed or diminished, but increased. And that which Anselm asserts—that we shall have a knowledge of the patriarchs, and prophets, and apostles, all that were before us, and shall be after us, our predecessors and successors, to me seems very rational. For society without acquaintance is not comfortable, and methinks the scripture does hint this much. If Peter and James, having but a glimpse of glory, (when our Lord was transfigured on the mount), were able to know Moses and Elijah, whom they had never seen before; how much more shall we, being infinitely irradiated and enlightened with the Sun of Righteousness, know all the saints, though we were never acquainted with them before! This will be very comfortable. Certainly there will be nothing lacking—which may complete the saints' happiness!

Now that this glorious inheritance is the saints' privilege, I shall evince by two arguments.

1. It is so—in respect of the many OBLIGATIONS which lie upon God for performing this. As,

1. In regard of his promise, Titus 1:2, "In hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, has promised." God's promise is better than any man's bond.

2. In regard of his oath. "He who is truth has sworn." Heb. 6:17.

3. In regard to the price that is paid for it—Christ's blood. Heaven is not only a promised possession—but a purchased possession, Eph. 1:14.

4. In regard of Christ's prayer for it: "Father, I will that they also whom you have given me, be with me where I am." Now God can deny Christ nothing, being his only favorite. "I know you always hear me," John 11:42.

5. In regard of Christ's ascension. He is gone before us to take possession of heaven for us. He is now making preparations for our coming; John 14:2, "I go before to prepare a place for you." We read that our Lord sent two of his disciples to prepare "a large upper room for the Passover," Mark 14:15. Just so has Jesus Christ gone before—to prepare a large upper room in heaven for the saints.

6. In regard of the dwelling of the Spirit in the hearts of the godly, giving them an assurance of heaven; and stirring up in them passionate desires after this glorious inheritance. Hence it is, we read of the pledge of the Spirit, 2 Cor. 1:22, and the first-fruits of the Spirit, Romans 8:23, and the seal of the Spirit, Eph. 1:13. God does not still his children with rattles. Heaven is already begun in a believer, so that the inheritance is certain. You see how many obligations lie upon God, and to speak with reverence, it stands not only upon God's mercy—but upon his faithfulness to make all this good to us!

2. The second argument is in respect of the UNION which the saints have with Jesus Christ. They are members of Christ, therefore they must have a part in this blessed inheritance. The member must be where the head is. Indeed the Arminians tell us that a justified person may fall finally from grace, and so his union with Christ may be dissolved, and the inheritance lost. But how absurd is this doctrine! Is Christ divided? can he lose a member of his body? then his body is not perfect; for how can that body be perfect which lacks a limb? If Christ might lose one member from his body—he might lose all! And so he would be a head without a body. But be assured, the union with Christ cannot be broken, John 17:12, and the inheritance cannot be lost. What was said of Christ's natural body, is as true of the mystical body: "a bone of it shall not be broken." See how every bone and limb of Christ's natural body was raised up out of the grave, and carried into heaven. Just so, shall every member of his mystical body, joined to him by the eternal Spirit, be carried up into glory. Fear not, O you saints, neither sin nor Satan can dissolve your union with Christ, nor hinder you from going to that blessed place where your Head is.

Question. Here it will be asked, "Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord?" Psalm 24:3. Who shall be a citizen of this new Jerusalem which is above?

Answer. The new creature: this you read of, 2 Cor. 5:17. This new creature does prepare us for the new Jerusalem. This is the divine and curious artifice of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, forming Christ in us. The same Holy Spirit who overshadowed the Virgin Mary, and formed the human nature of Christ in her womb—does work and produce this new creature. O blessed man and woman—in whom this new creature is formed! I may say to you, as the angel to Mary, "That which is conceived in you, is of the Holy Spirit!" Of all God's creatures, the new creature is the best.

Let me ask—are you a new creature? are you a branch cut off from the wild olive tree of nature, and ingrafted into a new stock, the tree of life? Has God defaced and dismantled the old man in you? Does some limb drop off every day? Have you a new heart? Until then you are not fit for the new heaven! Are you new all over? Do you have a new eye to discern the things that differ? Do you have a new appetite? Does the pulse of your soul beat after Christ? It is only the new creature, who shall be the heir of the New Jerusalem.

When you were sailing to hell, (for we have both wind and tide to carry us there), have the north and south winds awaked? Has the gale of the Spirit blown upon you, and turned your course? Are you now sailing to a new port? Has the seal of the Scripture stamped a new and heavenly print upon you? Then I am speaking all this while to you; this blessed inheritance is entailed upon you!

But if you are an old unrepenting sinner, expect that heaven should be kept, as paradise, with a flaming sword—that you may not enter! Be assured, God will never put the new wine of glory, into an old musty bottle. Heaven is not like Noah's ark, which received both clean and unclean animals into it! Nor is heaven like Pharoah's court, where the vermin came! This inheritance does not receive all comers. It is only the wheat, which goes into Christ's garner; what has the chaff to do there! This inheritance is only for "those who are sanctified," Acts 20:32. Is your heart consecrated ground? We read that in the time of Ezra, after the return of the people from the captivity, some who were ambitious for the priesthood, sought the writings of the genealogies—but they were not found among the numbers of the priests, "therefore they were put aside as polluted, from the priesthood." So whoever they are, who think to have a part in this blessed place, if their names be not found; that is, if they are not enrolled among the new creatures, they shall be put away from this inheritance, as polluted!

Chapter 10. The Fifth Royal Privilege—our KNOWLEDGE shall be clear.

Knowledge is a beautiful thing; such was Adam's ambition to know more, that by tasting the tree of knowledge, he lost the tree of life. In heaven our knowledge shall be full and clear. Many things we have now but in the notion, which then we shall see perfectly; now, "we know but in part." The best Christian has a veil on his eye, as the Jews have upon their heart; hereafter the veil shall be taken off. Here on earth, we see through a glass darkly—in a riddle, mystery; then, we shall see face to face; that is, clearly.

There are five mysteries which God will clear up to us when we are in heaven.

1. The great mystery of the TRINITY. This we know but in part. Unity in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity, where one makes three, and three make but one: this is bad arithmetic—but good divinity. We have but dark conceptions of it: it is a mystery so deep, that we may soon wade beyond our depth.

Augustine being to write his books of the Trinity, was taught modesty by a child, who was attempting to empty the sea into a little spoon; to whom Augustine said, that he labored in vain; for his little spoon would not contain the sea. To whom the child answered, "my little spoon will sooner hold this vast ocean, than your shallow brain can contain the depth of the Trinity!" How little a portion is known of God! If Job asked the question, "who can understand the thunder?" We may much more ask, "who can understand the Trinity?" But in heaven we shall see God as he is, that is, perfectly.

Question. But shall every saint enjoy God so perfectly, that he shall have the same knowledge that God has?

Answer. We shall have a full knowledge of God—but not know him fully—yet we shall take in so much of God as our human nature is capable of; it will be a bright and glorious knowledge. Here on earth, we know him but by his power, wisdom, mercy—we see but his back-parts; there we shall see him face to face.

2. The mystery of the INCARNATION. Christ assuming our human nature, and marrying it to the divine. Therefore called God-man, God with us. A mystery which the angels in heaven adore. God said, "The man has become as one of us," Gen. 3:22—but now we may say, God himself is become as one of us! There was nothing within the sphere of natural causes to produce it. The incarnation of Christ is a golden chain made up of several links of miracles. For instance, that the Creator of heaven should become a creature; that eternity should be born; that he whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain, should be enclosed in the womb; that he who thunders in the clouds, should cry in the cradle; that he who rules the stars, should suck the breasts; that he who upholds all things by the word of his power, should himself be upheld; that a virgin should conceive; that Christ should be made of a woman, and of that woman which himself made; that the creature should give a being to the Creator; that the star should give light to the sun; that the branch should bear the vine; that the mother should be younger than the child she bore; and the child in the womb bigger than the mother; that he who is a Spirit, should be made flesh; that Christ should be without father, and without mother—yet have both; without mother in the God-head, without father in the manhood; that Christ being incarnate, should have two natures, (the divine and human), and yet but one person; that the divine nature should not be infused into the human, nor the human mixed with the divine—yet assumed into the person of the Son of God; the human nature not God—yet one with God. Here is, I say, a chain of miracles.

I acknowledge the mercy of the incarnation was great, we having now both affinity and consanguinity with Jesus Christ: Christ's incarnation is the saint's inauguration.

The love of Christ in the incarnation was great; for herein he did set a pattern without a parallel. In clothing himself with our flesh, which is but walking ashes, he has sewed, as it were, sackcloth to cloth of gold—the humanity to the Deity. But though the incarnation is so rich a blessing—yet it is hard to say which is the greater, the mercy or the mystery. It is a sacred depth—how does it transcend reason, and even puzzle faith! We know but in part, we see this only in a glass darkly—but in heaven our knowledge shall be cleared up, we shall fully understand this divine riddle!

3. The mystery of SCRIPTURE. The hard knots of scripture shall be untied, and dark prophecies fulfilled. There is a sacred depth in scripture which we must adore: some places of scripture are hard in the sense, others dark in the phrase, and cannot well be translated in regard of ambiguity; one Hebrew word having such various, and sometimes contrary significations, that it is very difficult to know which is the genuine sense. As it is with a traveler who is not skilled in his way, when he comes to a turning where the way parts, he is at a standstill, and knows not which of the ways to take; such difficulties and labyrinths are there in scripture. It is true, all things purely necessary to salvation, are clear in the word of God; but there are some sacred depths that we cannot fathom, and this may make us long after heaven, when our light shall be clear.

Just so for prophecies, some are very abstruse and profound; divines may shoot their arrows—but it is hard to say how near they may come to the mark: it is dubious whether in such a particular age and century of the church, such a prophecy was fulfilled. The Jews have a saying when they meet with a hard scripture they don't understand, "Elijah will come and interpret these things to us." We do not expect Elijah; but when we are in heaven, we shall understand prophecies; our knowledge shall be clear.

4. The great mystery of PROVIDENCE shall be cleared up. Providence is the queen of the world; it is the hand which turns all the wheels in the universe! Chrysostom calls it "the pilot which steers the ship of the creation." Providences are often dark; God sometimes writes in short-hand. The characters of providence are so various and strange, and our eyes are so dim, that we know not what to make of providence. Hence we are ready to censure that which we do not understand. We think that things are very eccentric and disorderly; God's providence is some times secret—but always wise. The dispensations of providence are often sad, "Judgment beginning at the house of God," and the "just man perishing in his righteousness," Eccles. 7:15; that is, while he is pursuing a righteous cause. Though his way be pious, it is not always prosperous. On the other side, "those who do evil get rich, and those who dare God to punish them go free of harm," Mal. 3:15.

Though now our candle is in a dark lantern, and the people of God cannot tell what God is a doing—yet when they are in heaven they shall see the reason of these transactions: they shall see that every providence served for the fulfilling of God's promise, namely, "That all things shall work together for good," Romans 8:28. In a watch the wheels seem to move contrary one to another—but all carry on the motion of the watch, all serve to make the watch work properly. Just so, the wheels of providence seem to move contrary—but all shall carry on the good of the elect; all the lines shall meet at last in the center of the promise. In heaven, as we shall see mercy and justice, so we shall see promises and providences kissing each other. Our light shall be clear.

When a man is at the bottom of a hill, he cannot see very far; but when he is on the top, he may see many miles distant. Here on earth, the saints of God are in the valley of tears, they are at the bottom of the hill, and cannot tell what God is a doing. But when they come to heaven, and shall be on the top of the mount, they shall see all the glorious transactions of God's providence; never a providence but they shall see either a wonder or a mercy enrapt up in it. A painter first makes a crude draught in the picture—here an eye, there a hand; but when he has painted it out in all its parts and lineaments, and laid them in their colors—it is beautiful to behold. We who live in this age of the church, see but a crude draught, as it were some dark pieces of God's providence represented; and it is impossible that we should be able to correctly judge of God's work, by pieces. But when we come to heaven, and see the full body and portraiture of God's providence drawn out in its lively colors, it will be a most glorious sight to behold! Providence shall be unriddled!

5. The mystery of HEARTS. We shall see a heart-anatomy. "For God will bring every act to judgment, including every hidden thing, whether good or evil." Ecclesiastes 12:14. We shall see the designs and cabinet-counsels of men's hearts revealed; then the hypocrite's mask shall fall off. Oh the black conclave that is in the heart of man! The heart is deep: it may be compared to a river which has fair streams running on the top—but when this river comes to be drained, there lies abundance of vermin at the bottom. Thus it is with man's heart, there are fair streams running on the top—a civil life, a religious profession; but at the day of judgment, when God shall drain this river, and unveil hearts; then all the vermin of ambition, lust, and covetousness shall appear—all shall come out! Then we shall see whether Jehu's design was zeal for God, or the kingdom. We shall see clearly whether Jezebel had more mind to keep a fast, or to get Naboth's vineyard. Then we shall see whether Herod had more mind to worship Christ, or to worry him. All the secrets of men's hearts shall be laid open! Methinks it would be worth dying to see this sight. We shall then see who is the Achan, who is the Judas. The women's paint falls off from their faces when they come near the fire. Just so, before the scorching heat of God's justice, the hypocrite's paint will drop off, and the hidden motives of his heart will be visible! These mysteries will God reveal to us—our knowledge shall be clear.

Chapter 11. The Sixth Royal Privilege—our LOVE shall be perfect.
Love is the jewel with which Christ's bride is adorned. In one sense, love is more excellent than faith; for love never ceases, 1 Cor. 13:8. The spouse shall put off her jewel of faith, when she goes to heaven—but she shall never put off her jewel of love. Her love shall be perfect.

1. Our love to GOD shall be perfect. The saint's love shall be joined with reverence; for a filial disposition shall remain—but there shall be no servile fear in heaven. Horror and trembling is proper to the damned in hell; though in heaven there shall be a reverencing fear—yet a rejoicing fear: we shall see that in God which will work such a delight that we cannot but love him! This love to God shall be,

1. A FERVENT love. Our love to God in this life, is rather a faint desire—but in heaven the smoke of desire shall be blown up into a flame of love. We shall love God with an intenseness of love, and thus the saints shall be like the seraphim who are so called, from their burning. Here on earth, our love is lukewarm, and sometimes frozen: a child of God weeps that he can love God no more. But there is a time shortly coming, when our love to God shall be fervent, it shall burn as hot as it can! The damned shall be in a flame of fire, the elect in a flame of love!

2. A FIXED love. Alas, how soon is our love taken off from God! Other objects presenting themselves, steal away our love. "Your goodness is like a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goes away": in the morning you shall see the grass covered with drops of dew, as so many pearls—but before noon all is vanished; so it is with our love to God. Perhaps at a sermon, when our affections are stirred, the heart melts in love; and at a sacrament, when we see Christ's blood, as it were, trickling down upon the cross, some love-drops fall from our heart; but within a few days all is vanished, and we have lost our first love: this is matter of humiliation while we live. But O you saints, comfort yourselves, in heaven your love shall be fixed, as well as fervent; it shall never more be taken off from God! Such beauty and excellency shall shine in God, that as a divine magnet, it will be always drawing your eyes and heart after him.

2. Our love to the SAINTS shall be perfect. Love is a sweet harmony, a tuning and chiming together of affections.

1. It is our duty to love the saints—though they are of bad dispositions; sometimes their nature is so abrasive and unpolished, that grace does not cast forth such a luster. It is like a gold ring on a leprous hand, or a diamond set in iron. Yet if there is anything of Christ—it is our duty to love it.

2. It is our duty to love the saints—though they in some things differ from us. Yet if we see Christ's image or portraiture drawn upon their hearts, we are to separate the precious from the vile. But alas, how defective is this grace! how little love is there among God's people! Herod and Pilate can agree: wicked men unite when saints divide. Contentions were never more hot, love never more cold. Many there are whose music consists all in discord; they pretend to love truth—but hate peace. Divisions are Satan's powder-plot to blow up religion.

It would not be strange to hear the harlot say, "Let the child be divided;" but to hear the mother say so, this is sad! If pope, cardinal, Jesuit, all conspire against the church of God, it would not be strange; but for one saint to persecute another—this is strange! For a wolf to worry a lamb is usual—but for a lamb to worry a lamb is unnatural. For Christ's lily to be among the thorns, is ordinary; but for this lily to become a thorn, to tear and fetch blood—this is strange! How will Christ take this at our hands! Would he not have his coat rent, and will he have his body rent! O that I could speak here weeping!

Well, this will be a bright foil to set off heaven the more—there is a time shortly coming when our love shall be perfect, there shall be no difference of judgment in heaven; there the saints shall be all of one mind. Though we fall out along the way—we shall all agree in the journey's end. The cherubim, representing the angels, are set out "with their faces looking one upon another"; in this life Christians turn their backs one upon another—but in heaven they shall be like the cherubim with their faces looking one upon another.

It is observed that the olive tree and the myrtle tree have a wonderful sympathy, and if they grow near together, will mutually embrace, and twist about each others roots and branches. Christians in this life are like tearing brambles—but in heaven they shall be like the olive and myrtle—and sweetly embrace one another! When once the blessed harp of Christ's voice has sounded in the ears of the saints, the evil spirit shall be quite driven away! When our strings shall be wound up to the highest pitch of glory, you shall never more hear discord in the saints' music! In heaven there shall be a perfect harmony!

Chapter 12. The Seventh Royal Privilege—the resurrection of our bodies.
Trajan's ashes after death were brought to Rome and honored, being set upon the top of a famous pillar. So the ashes of the saints at the resurrection shall be honored, and shine as silver dust! This is an article of our faith. Now for the illustration of this, there are three things considerable: 1. That there is such a thing as the resurrection. 2. That this is not yet past. 3. That the same body that dies, shall rise again.

1. I shall prove the proposition that there is a resurrection of the body. There are some of the Sadducees of opinion that there is no resurrection; then "let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die," 1 Cor. 15:32. To what purpose are all our prayers and tears? and indeed it were well for them who are in their lifetime as brute beasts, if it might be with them as beasts after death. But there is a resurrection of the body, as well as an ascension of the soul; which I shall prove by two arguments.

1. Because Christ is risen, therefore we must rise. The head being raised, the rest of the body shall not always lie in the grave, for then it would be a head without a body. His rising is a pledge of our resurrection, 1 Thess. 4:14.

2. In regard of justice and equity. The bodies of the wicked have been weapons of unrighteousness, and have joined with the soul in sin! Their eyes have been a casement to let in vanity! Their hands have been full of bribes! Their feet have been swift to shed blood! Therefore justice and equity require that they should rise again, and their bodies be punished with their souls!

Again, the bodies of the saints have been members of holiness! Their eyes have dropped down tears for sin! Their hands have relieved the poor! Their tongues have been trumpets of God's praise. Therefore justice and equity require that they should rise again, that their bodies as well as their souls may be crowned!

There must be a resurrection, else how should there be a remuneration? We are more sure to rise out of our graves—than out of our beds! The bodies of the wicked are locked up in the grave as in a prison, that they may not infest the church of God; and at the day of judgment they shall be brought out of the prison to trial. And the bodies of the saints are laid in the grave as in a bed of perfume, where they mellow and ripen until the resurrection. Noah's olive tree springing after the flood, the blossoming of Aaron's dry rod, the flesh and sinews coming to Ezekiel's dry bones—what were these, but lively emblems of the resurrection!

2. That this resurrection is not yet past. Some hold that it is past, and make the resurrection to be nothing else but regeneration, which is called a rising from sin, and a "being risen with Christ"; and do affirm, that there is no other resurrection but this, and that only the soul is with God in happiness, not the body. Of this opinion were Hymeneus and Philetus, 2 Tim. 2:18. But the rising from sin is called the first resurrection, Rev. 1:6, which implies that there is a second resurrection; and that second I shall prove out of Dan. 12:2. "And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth, shall awake." He does not say they are already awake—but they shall awake. And John 5:28, "The hour is coming, in which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; those who have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and those who have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." Observe, Christ does not say, they have come forth of the grave already—but they shall come forth.

Here a question may be moved, Whether the bodies of some of the saints are not in heaven already? then it will seem that their resurrection is not yet to come; as we read that Elijah was taken up to heaven in a fiery chariot; and Enoch, Heb. 11:5, "was translated, that he might not see death."

Answer. I know the question is controverted among divines. Should it be granted that they are bodily in heaven, by an extraordinary writ, or dispensation from God—this does not at all disprove a general resurrection to come. But there are some reasons do incline me to think that Enoch and Elijah are not yet bodily in heaven, nor shall be until the resurrection of all flesh, when the rest of the elect, like a precious crop, being fully ripe, shall be translated into glory. The first is Heb. 11:13, where it is said, "these all died in faith," where Enoch was included: now why we should restrain this word, these, only to Abel, Noah, Abraham, and not also to Enoch, I see no rational ground.

Question. But is it not said, he was translated, "that he might not see death"; how can these two stand together, that Enoch died—yet he did not see death?

Answer. These words, that he might not see death, I conceive (with some other divines) the meaning is, that he might not see it in that painful and horrid manner as others: his soul had an easy and joyful passage out of his body; he died not after the common manner of men. Seeing and feeling are often in scripture—the one is put for the other.

2. My second argument is, 1 John 3:2: "We know when he shall appear, we shall be like him." We read in scripture but of two appearings of Christ, his appearing in the flesh, and his appearing at the day of judgment. Now his appearing in this text, must needs be meant of his last appearing: and what then? "We shall be like him," that is, in our bodies, Phil. 3:21. The spirits of just men being already made perfect, Heb. 12:23, whence I infer, Enoch is not yet ascended bodily into heaven, because none of the bodies of the saints shall be fully made like Christ until his second appearing.

3. Besides this, may be added the judgment of many of the Fathers, who were pious and learned. It is not probable that Enoch and Elijah should be taken up in their bodies into heaven, says Peter Martyr; and he urges that saying of our Lord, "No man has ascended into heaven"; (that is, physically) "but the Son of man that descended from heaven." Of this opinion also is the learned Doctor Fulk, who in his marginal notes upon the 11th to the Hebrews, has this descant: "It appears not," says he, "that Enoch now lives in the body, no more than Moses; but that he was translated by God out of the world, and died not after the common manner of men." And concerning Elijah, the same author has this passage: "It is evident that he was taken up alive; but not that he continues alive." And again, "Because we read expressly, that he was taken up into heaven, 2 Kings 2:1, it is certain" (says he) "that his body was not carried into heaven." Christ being the first that in perfect humanity ascended there, 1 Cor. 15:20, "Christ has become the first fruits of those who sleep." He is called the first fruits, not only because he was the most excellent, and sanctified the rest—but because he was the first cluster which was gathered; the first that went up in a physical manner into the place of the blessed: hence we see that the resurrection is yet to come.

3. At the resurrection every soul shall have its own body. The same body that dies, shall arise. Some hold that the soul shall be clothed with a new body—but then it were improper to call it a resurrection of the body, it should be rather a creation. It was a custom in the African churches to say, I believe the resurrection of this body. I confess, the doctrine of the resurrection is such, that it is too deep for reason to wade: you must let faith swim. For instance, suppose a man dying is cast into the sea, several fish come and devour him, the substance of his body goes into these fishes, afterwards, these fish are taken and eaten, and the substance of these fishes go into several men. Now how this body, thus devoured, and as it were, crumbled into a thousand fractions, should be raised the same individual body, is infinitely above reason to imagine; we have scarcely faith enough to believe it.

Question. How can this be?

Answer. To such I say as our blessed Savior, Matt. 22:19, "You are in error—not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God."

1. You are in error—not knowing the scriptures. The scripture tells us expressly that the same body that dies shall rise again; Job 29:26, "In my flesh shall I see God," not in another flesh. And verse 27, "My eyes shall behold him," not other eyes. So 1 Cor. 15:53, "This mortal shall put on immortality," not another mortal—but this mortal, and, 2 Cor. 5:10, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad." Not in another body. Death in scripture is called a sleep. It is far easier with God to raise the body, than it is for us to awaken a man when he is asleep!

2. You are in error—not knowing the power of God. That God, who created all things out of nothing—can he not reduce many things to one thing? When the body is gone into a thousand substances, cannot he make a compilation, and bring that body together again? The chemist can, out of several metals mingled together—as gold, silver, and tin—extract the one from the other, the silver from the gold, the tin from the silver, and can reduce every metal to its own kind? And shall we not much more believe that when our bodies are mingled and confounded with other substances, the wise God is able to make a divine extraction, and reinvest every soul with its own body!

Use 1. This is comfort to a child of God. As Christ said to Martha, John 11:23, "Your brother shall rise again," so I say to you, your body shall rise again. The body is sensible of joy as well as the soul; and indeed, we shall not be perfect in glory until our bodies are reunited to our souls. Therefore in scripture, the doctrine of the resurrection is made matter of joy and triumph! Isaiah 26:19, "Yet we have this assurance: Those who belong to God will live; their bodies will rise again! Those who sleep in the earth will rise up and sing for joy!" Death is as it were the fall of the leaf—but our bodies shall flourish as a herb, in the spring of the resurrection. That body which is mouldered to dust shall revive.

Sometimes the saints sow the land with their bodies, Psalm 142:7, and water it with their blood, Psalm 79:3. But these bodies, whether imprisoned, beheaded, sawn asunder—shall arise and sit down with Christ upon the throne! O consider what joy there will be at the reuniting of the body and soul at the resurrection! As there will be a sad meeting of the body and soul of the wicked, they shall be joined together as briars, to scratch and tear one another; so, what unspeakable joy will there be at the meeting together of the soul and body of the saints—how will they greet one another (they two being the nearest acquaintance that ever were). What a welcome will the soul give to the body! "O blessed body, you allowed yourself to be martyred, and crucified, you were kept under control by watchings, fastings, etc. When I prayed, you attended my prayers with hands lifted up, and knees bowed down. You were willing to suffer with me, and now you shall reign with me! Cheer up, my dear friend; you were sown as seed in the dust of the earth with ignominy—but now are raised a spiritual body. O my dear body, I will enter into you again as a heavenly sparkle, and you shall clothe me again as a glorious vestment!"

Use. 2. It shows the great love and respect God bears to the weakest believer; God will not glorify the bodies of his dearest and most eminent saints, not the patriarchs or prophets, not the body of Moses or Elijah, until you rise out of your grave. God is like a master of a feast that stays until all his guests are come. Abraham, the father of the faithful, must not sit down in heaven until all his children are born, and the body of every saint perfectly mellow and ripe for the resurrection.

3. If the bodies of the saints must arise—then consecrate your bodies to the service of God! These bodies must be made one with Christ's body. The Apostle makes this use of the doctrine of the resurrection, 1 Cor. 6:14, "And God will raise our bodies from the dead by his marvelous power, just as he raised our Lord from the dead." There is the doctrine. "Don't you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ? Should a man take his body, which belongs to Christ, and join it to a prostitute? Never!" Verse 15; There is the use. It is enough for wicked men to adulterate and defile their bodies. The drunkard makes his body a tunnel for the wine and liquor to run through. The epicure makes his body a living tomb to bury the good creatures of God. The adulterer makes his body a slave to his lust. The body is called a vessel in scripture; these vessels will be found musty at the resurrection, fit only to hold that wine which you read of, Psalm 75:8, "In the hand of the Lord there is a cup, and the wine is red"; this is the wine of God's wrath. It is enough for those bodies to be defiled, which shall be joined to the devil! But you who are believers, that expect your bodies shall be joined with Christ's body, oh cleanse these vessels! Take heed of putting your bodies to any impure services. Present your bodies a living sacrifice, Romans 12:1. Have a care to guard all the passages which sin might come in at. Sometimes the devil comes in at the eye; therefore Job made a covenant with his eyes. Sometimes sin goes out at the tongue; therefore David set a watch before his lips. Surely those who have their hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, that is, the guilt of known sin, will have a care to have their bodies washed with clean water.