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such Books, to understand and do such things as others do. They think the time long till they have attained what they see others have attained. And in. this also should we imitate them. We should be ever pressing forward, and earnestly reaching out after further degrees of Grace and Knowledge. We should be ever longing after that time, when we shall all come to a perfect Man, to the Measure of the Stature of the fulhess of Christ.
And so I come to the Apostles second Illustration of the difference that is bea tween our , .
here and hereafter, in the 12th Verse. For now we fee through a Glass darkly, but then Face to Face : Now I know in part, but then shall I know even as also I am known. In these words the Apostle compares our imperfect Knowledge here to the fight we have of a thing through a Glass, and our perfect Knowledge in Heaven to the immediate Vision of any thing, without the interposition of a Glass between our Eye and the Object. Then he adds an explication of the comparison: Now we know in pårt, but then Mall I know as also I am known. Through a * Y 2
Glass, so our Translators have render'd
and not in a Glass as some others. I shall not take upon me to contradict those Learned Men who were imployed in that Translation : especially seeing their rendring the words in that manner is very agreeable to the Scope of the Apostle, and seeing also the Original will fairly admit of it. As for the comparison, that we may the better understand the import of it, we must consider the parts of it severally, and enquire both what our seeing through a Glass implies, and what our seeing Face to Face.
Concerning the former of these. What we see through a Glass, we see not so clearly and exactly as when we see a thing without the interposition of a Glass. Thus when we see a thing thro a Glass Window, or through a Glass drawn over it, as Jewellers and Goldsmiths have a Glass drawn over their precious things to keep them bright and clean. I say in this case we have a more dark, imperfect and obscure vision of the thing, than when the Glass is removed, and the object is immediately présented to the Eye of the beholder
. And the like difference there is between
our Knowledge of God and Heavenly things here and hereafter. think we see these things in this Life pretty clearly and distinctly ; but when we come to Heaven and have an immediate sight of them, without the intervention of a Glafs, through which we here behold them, we shall acknowledge that we never saw them to the purpose before, and that while we were here, we saw little better than the Man in the Gospel immediately after that Christ had opened his Eyes, who saw Men fo confusedly that he could hardly distinguish them from Trees. The Impressions that are made on the Mind by what is seen through a Glass are easily lost and forgotten ; the reason whereof is because the Impressions are weaker. And fo it is also in Spiritual things, they being seen only as through a Glass, they make not such strong and lasting Impressions upon the Mind as they shall make hereafter. And hence it is that after we have in some good measure understood them, we come again within a little while either to question the Truth of them, or to lose much of our former apprehensions of them.
The things which now seem to be clear and mani
fest to us, after some Time appear dark and doubtful,
• To apply this briefly.
Vse. Though we see Heavenly things while we are here as through a Glass
, yet let us not despise the Day of small things, let us not undervalue these dark er and more imperfect discoveries of Heavenly things, which God affords us in this Life.
1. 'Tis a great and just matter of Thankfulness that God lets us see these things though but as through a Glass He might have denyed us the Knowledge of them altogether ; he might have left us in the Condition of Heathens who set in darkness and in the shadow of Death. He might have refused to afford us as much as any one glimpse of Heavenly things.“
2. As 'tis his Mercy that we see any thing at all of the things of another World, so 'tis Mercy that in the difcovery
of them God condescends to our weakness, shewing them us as through a Glass, because we could not bear the immediate and full fight of them while we are here.' When God would cause
his Glory to pass before Mofes, Exodus 33. 20, 21, 22, 23, he told him, he could not fee. his Face, for no Man could see that and Live; and therefore he is put in a clift of a Rock, and God covers him with his hand while he passeth by, and then takes away his hand and lets him fee his back parts only. Our frail Nature could not endure to see God as he is in himself, and therefore God shews himself to us here as through a Glass, reserving the immediate vision of himself, and the clearer manifestations of his Glory till we come to be rendred capable thereof, as hereafter we shall be.
3. 'Tis also just matter of Thankfulness that we know that this lower way of knowing God is but for a while; the time is hastening when we shall no longer fee as through a Glass, but see God Face to Face.
And this brings me to the second part of the comparison : Now we see thro' a Glass darkly, but then Face to Face. We often Read in Scripture of the Face of God, but in all such passages of Scripture, the word Face, when attributed to God, is not to be taken properly as