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degrees of acts and habits in the soul; and whether there be divers degrees of substantiality, or of the virtus vel facultas formalis of several souls : I shall know better the difference of habits called acquired and infused; and what common grace is, and what it doth ; and what nature can do of itself, or by common grace, without that which is proper to the justified; and how far any degrees of grace are lost.
I shall know what measure of grace I had myself; and how far I was mistaken in myself; and what acts were sincere; and how much that was not sound was mixed; and what was of myself and sin.
I shall know much more of my sins than here I ever knew, the number and the greatness of them; that so I may know, with greatest thankfulness and love, how much I am beholden to pardoning and healing grace.
Yea, I shall know more of my body, as it was the habitation of my soul, or the organical matter on which unitedly it worked. know how far it helped or hindered me; and what were all those obscure diseases, that puzzled all the physicians, and myself; and how marvellously God sustained, preserved, and oft delivered me; and what of my actions was to be imputed to the body, and what of them to the soul.
IX. And every fellow-creature, which I am concerned to know, I shall know far better than now I do, both things and persons: the good and bad, the sincere and the hypocrites, will be there discerned: and many an action that here went for honorable, covered or colored with wit or worldly advantages, or false pretences, will then be found to be odious and unjust : and wickedness will be flattered or extenuated no more: and many a good and holy work which false men, through wickedness and worldly interest, reproached as some odious crime, will there be justified, honored, and rewarded. All sciences are there perfect, without our ambiguous terms, or impersect axioms, and rules of art.
X. And, lastly, I shall better know from what enemies, what sins, what dangers, I was here delivered : what contrivances and malicious endeavors of Satan and his instruments God defeated; how many snares I escaped : and I shall better know how great my deliverance is by Christ from the wrath to come. Though we shall not know
hell by painful sense, we shall know it so far as is necessary to fill us with gratitude to our Redeemer: yea, we shall know much of it far better than the damned spirits that feel it. For we shall know, by sweet and full fruition, what the joy and blessedness is which they have lost : when they have no such kind of knowledge.
All this knowledge will be thus advanced to my glorified soul beyond what I can here conceive in flesh: and is it not then far better to be with Christ?
IV. The constitutive reasons from the state of my will. Sect. 1. But it is the will that is to the soul what the heart is to the body : as it is the prime seat of morality, so is it the chief seat of felicity. My greatest evil is there ; and my greatest subjective good will be there. Satan did most against it, and God will do most for it. And will it not be better to be with Christ than here?
1. It will not there be tied to a body of cross interessts and inclinations, which is now the greatest snare and enemy to my soul; which is still drawing my love, and care, and fears, and sorrows, to and for itself, and turning them from my highest interest. How great a deliverance will it be to be freed from the temptations, and the inordinate love, and cares, and fears for this corruptible flesh?
2. My will shall not there be tempted by a world of inferior good, which is the bait and provision for the flesh, where meat, and sleep, and possessions, house, lands, and friends, are all become my snares and danger. God's mercies will not be made there the tempter's instruments. I shall not there have the flatteries or frowns, promises or threatenings, of the tyrants of the world to tempt me: bad company will not infect me, nor divert me: the errors of good men will not seduce me; nor reputation or reverence of the wise, learned, or religious, draw ine to imitate them in any sin.
3. I shall there have none of Satan's solicitations, to pervert my will : he will not have that advantage by my sense and fancy, nor that access unto me, as now he hath. But of this I spake before.
Sect. 2. My will shall there be better than here, 1. Negatively because, 1. There will be nothing that is displeasing to God: no sinful inclination, habit, or act: nothing to strive against God's Spirit ; por
grudge at any word or work of God: no principles of enmity or re-
Sect. 3. II. Positively Christ will have finished his cure on my
That we shall be like, or equal 10, angels, is a high part of the blessed's praise ; but how much more is it, to be thus far like to God. Indeed, God's image, and the divine nature in' us here, can be no less than this similitude to God's will in the degree that we have it. But, alas! that degree is so very low, as that we can hardly tell whether our similitude or dissimilitude be the more; I mean, whether our wills are for more that God willeth, or against more. Oh, how many thousand wishes and desires have we had, which are against the will of God! But there we shall have the full impression of God's will, upon our wills, as face answereth face in a glass, or as the wax answereth the seal; as the finger on the outside answereth to the motion of the clock within, so, in all things which belong to our duty and perfection, we shall answer the will of God. As the echo answereth the voice, defectively, but Vol. II.
truly, without contradiction or discord, so will our wills be as the echo of God's will.
2. And then I am sure that there will be nothing in my will but good; for God willeth no evil.
3. And this will be virtually all obedience ; for all sin is voluntary, and all moral good is primarily in the will.
4. And then there will be no matter of disquiet in me, but all will be in perfect peace; for all that is like God will be pleasing both to God and me; no troubling crossness will remain.
5. And how easy and sweet then will all my obedience be, when I shall perfectly will it, without any reluctancy or averseness? All will be my very pleasure that I do.
Sect. 4. And seeing my will shall be the same with the will of God, it followeth that it shall never be frustrate, but I shall have all whatsoever I would have, and shall be and do whatsoever I would be and do. For I shall desire nothing but what God willeth, and God's will shall certainly be done. I shall have as much love and joy as I would have; I shall be as happy as I would be; I shall desire nothing for others but it shall be done. Indeed, if God's will were there unknown to me, I might ignorantly go against it, as I do here; but there, before I will or desire any thing, I shall know whether it be God's will or not, so that I shall never wish any thing which shall not be accomplished. And as it is God's perfection to have his will always done, (though all his laws be not obeyed,) so my perfection shall consist in this likeness unto God, that my will shall be still fulfilled. And then Christ's promises will be perfectly performed, “Whatsoever ye ask the Father in my name, he will give it you, Ye shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you.” (John xv. 16, and xvi. 23, and xiv. 13, 14, and xv. 7.) While their will was the same with the will of Christ: but he saith not that it shall all be given us here. We ask for perfection, and we shall have it, but not here.
Sect. 5. III. Yea, my will itself shall be my fruition, for it shall not be the will of one in need ; a desire of what I want, for I shall want nothing; therefore, it is said that we shall thirst no more: but it will be a complacency in what I do possess, and in this also my perfec
tion will be the image of God's perfection : not but that all creatures still receive from God, and in that sense may be said to need, in that they have nothing of themselves, but all by gift and communication from him ; but being still and full possessors, they cannot properly be said to want. Complacency in that which we possess is love and pleasure in one act; and, indeed, pleasure and love are the same thing. To love any thing, is to have that thing to be pleasing to my mind. Even when it is wanted, it is thought on as a pleasing thing, and therefore desired, so that the desiring act of the will is but a second act occasioned by want, and following the first act, which is complacency, or simple love. I desire it because I love it. Rightly, therefore, is the will itself called love, for in the first act love, will, and rational appetite, are all words of the same signification. My will, therefore, must needs be perpetually full of perfect joy, when enjoying love and pleasure will be my will itself. Thus shall I have in me the spring of living waters, and the comforter will then perfectly do his work, when my constant will itself shall be comfort. Well, therefore, is glory said to be the perfection of sanctifying grace, when this grace is the beginning of that love and joy which glory is the perfection of ; and perfection is the Spirit's work.
Sect. 6. IV. And it will be much of my felicity that my will shall be confirmed and fixed in this conformity to the will of God, and holy love will be its nature.
Now both understanding and will are so lamentably mutable, that further than God promiseth to uphold us, we know not one day what we shall think, judge, or will, the next. But when love is as a fixed nature in us, we shall be still the same, adhering to amiable goodness, without intermission or cessation. It will be as easy to us (and more) to love God and holiness, as it is to the hungry and thirsty to love meat and drink, or to the proud to love praise or domination, yea or to any man to love his life. And we shall be no more weary of loving, than the sun is of shining, or than the hungry is of feasting, or a friend of friendly love and converse. Nay, the comparison is quite too low, for all creatures here have a fading vanity which wearieth the satiated or failing appetite, but there is no such thing in heaven.