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unions and distinctions in the Godhead, those sublime and mysterious relations of the sacred Trinity, which we now believe without comprehending the manner of them, will be more clearly unveiled; and though we may not even then be able thoroughly to comprehend them, (for “ who," even in heaven, “ by searching can fully find out God? who can find out the Almighty to perfection ?") yet every shadow of contradiction shall vanish; and, filled with reverence, we shall wonder and adore.
We shall know God in our nature. We shall have a brighter display of the Redeemer's glory than the favoured disciples had on the mount of transfiguration; and our hearts will burn within us, while he instructs us in the mystery of the incarnation, and the union of two natures so widely different.
We shall study the attributes of God; his wisdom and his love, his power and his faithfulness, his holiness and grace, his eternity and all-sufficiency; these and his other boundless perfections we shall contemplate in themselves and in their operations; we shall see their harmony, and shall find in them subjects for our eternal research and eternal praise.
We shall know him in his works of creation. If it be pleasant to us now to contemplate these works, how much more so shall it be when nature shall be fully open to our view! We shall behold - their immensity, their variety, inimitable structure, admirable uses, and their subserviency, even in their minutest parts, to the regularity and order of the whole natural system, and the general good of the moral world.” We shall perhaps see new worlds, and be filled with admiration and love, while we every where trace in them the wisdom, goodness, and power of our Heavenly Father, the universal Lord.
Though we are very little acquainted, while we are on earth, with any of the planetary worlds besides that which we inhabit,” says good Dr. Watts, " yet who knows how our acquaintance may be extended hereafter among the inhabitants of the various and distant globes ? And what frequent and swift journeys we may take thither, when we are disencumbered of this load of flesh and blood, or when our bodies are raised again, active and swift as the sun-beams ? Sometimes we may entertain our holy curiosity there, and find millions of new discoveries of divine power and divine contrivance in those unknown regions; and bring back from thence new lectures of divine wisdom, or tidings of the affairs of those provinces to entertain our fellow-spirits, and to give new honours to God the Creator and Sovereign."* We shall become acquainted, too, with the intelligent creation. We now know but little of our fellow-spirits, of their numbers, their ranks, the occupations, the extent of their ministry to us or other worlds; but when we shall have associated with them, and contemplated the spiritual and external creation, we shall join that celestial hymn of praise, “ Thou art worthy to receive glory, and honour, and power; for thou - hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”
We shall there understand the works of Providence. The conduct of God to his church or to individuals is often incomprehensible to us; but then light will be shed upon all that is mysterious, and we shall perceive that which now appears intricate and evil, displaying unerring wisdom and paternal kindness. Here we behold but a few unconnected links of the
Happiness of Sep. Spirits.
great chain of events ; there we shall view it from beginning to end. And with what joy shall we make this review of the conduct of God to the universe in general; to our world; to the church; to each
particular believer; and to ourselves! With what de. light and wonder shall we look back upon the events of our own lives, and see that “all things have wrought together for our good;" that a gracious Providence was presiding over the minutest event that occurred to us; that every temptation, and trial, and bereavement, as well as every blessing, flowed from covenant love! With what delight shall we see saints of every age making the same review; and listen to the proofs of divine wisdom and goodness given us by patriarchs, by prophets, by apostles, by martyrs, by the early Christians, by the heroes of the Reformation, by the pious who were our contemporaries! With what union of soul will we then fall before the throne, and cry, “ Thou hast done all
66 things well !"
But there is another subject which we shall study with still greater delight, and of which our increasing knowledge will fill us with still more sacred transports. Christian, you know what is this subject; it is your joy and your triumph upon earth; it will be your joy and yourtriumph in heaven: it is redemption through the blood of Jesus. Oh! how lofty and how touching will be our speculations on this mystery of grace! How shall we delight to lose ourselves, to be absorbed and swallowed up in that boundless love of the Saviour, which is unfathomable even by an angelic mind, or the enlarged powers of the glorified immortal! With what inexpressible emotions shall we contemplate the God-man, and hear him tell of the everlasting covenant of redemption and the eternal purposes of peace; and speak of the woes which he endured when he bore the wrath of God due for our sins, and of his victories over our enemies ! While we feel the happiness he purchased for us, and see the memorials of his sufferings in that glorified body which is the monument of redeeming love, with what rapture shall we join the heavenly host, in crying, “ Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power,
and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing !With what delight shall we ever meditate on this astonishing display of mercy, and exclaim, with admiration in
, creasing in proportion to the increase of our knowledge, “ Oh the height, the length, the depth, and the breadth of the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge!"
Finally, the word of God shall continue to occupy us even in heaven. There, in the presence of the objects of which it speaks, we shall discover in it new beauties, and find a solution for all its difficulties. Its prophecies, its doctrines, its promises, all its contents will be clearly enderstood, and will afford matter of delightful converse among the blest.
Such are the objects which shall engage the contemplations of Christians in the future world.
III. What will be its chief properties.
1. Our knowledge of them shall be immediate and intuitive. Instead of the labour, cares, processes of reasoning, that are here necessary, we shall have only to open our souls for the reception of that celestial light which will flow into them from God, the source of light. As in nature the beams of the rising sun immediately present to us those objects which before were hidden in darkness; so in the light of eternity we shall look upon the unveiled face of
truth, and pass with ease and rapidity from discovery to discovery.
2. Our knowledge shall be full and adequate, both in variety and degree, as far exceeding our present knowledge, as the full splendour of the meridian sun excels the first faint rays of light which are yet struggling with darkness. It shall be certain and infallible. Here, many mistakes are mingled with our knowledge, and in most things we can only rise to probable conjectures : there, every error shall cease, and the smallest doubt shall not remain.
3. Our knowledge shall be transforming. “ Beholding the glory of God, we shall be changed into the same image from glory to glory.” “Seeing him as he is, we shall be made like unto him.". The displays of the divine perfections and works will not merely amuse us, or serve as objects of barren speculation or surprise, but will make us more like the All-Perfect, will augment our holiness, and inspire us with devotion and love. None of the inhabitants of that world sin against the light, or “ hold the truth in unrighteousness;" but each new discovery of the divine excellency affects ancw all the faculties of their souls.
4. This knowledge is beatifying. Even here, intellectual pleasures as far excel those of sense, as the soul exceeds the body; and of all intellectual pleasures, those that relate to God are the most pure and exalted. There is little comparison between the feelings of the mere philosopher, who contents himself with the discovery of the secrets of nature, without observing the presiding Deity; and of the Christian philosopher, who every where perceives the traces of the All-Wise and All-Merciful, and ** looks through nature up to nature's God.” And