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of things created, possible and imaginable; so the joy, which it causeth in the souls of the blessed, must be infinitely greater than all other joys, which either have or can be caused by the creature. If there were in the world a man as wise as an angel, we should all desire to see him, as the queen of Sheba did Solomon; but if to this wisdom were joined the strength of Sampson, the victories of Maccabeus, the affability of David, the friendliness of Jonathan, the liberality of the emperor Titus, and to all this the beauty and comeliness of Absalom; who would not love, and desire to live and converse with this admirable person? Why, then, do we not love the sight of God, in whom all those perfections and graces are infinitely united, and which we ourselves, if we serve him, are to enjoy, as if they were our own?

O how great and delightful a theatre shall it be to see God, as he is with all his infinite perfections, and the perfections of all creatures, which are eminently contained in the Deity. How admirable were that spectacle, where were represented all that are, or have been, pleasant or admirable in the world! If one were placed where he might behold the seven wonders of the world, the sumptuous banquets made by Ahasuerus, the rare shows exhibited by the Romans, the wealth of Croesus, the Assyrian and Roman monarchs, and all these jointly together, who would not be transported with joy and wonder at so admirable a sight? But more happy were he, upon whom all these were bestowed, together with a thousand years of life, wherein to enjoy them: yet all these were nothing, in respect of the beatifical vision of God, in whom those, and all the perfections, that either are, or have been, or possibly can be, are contained: whatever else is great and delightful in the world, together with all the pleasure and perfections, that all the men of the world have obtained, or shall obtain to the world's end; all the wisdom of Solomon, all the sciences of Plato and Aristotle, or all the strength of Aristomenes and Milo, all the beauty of Paris and Adonis; if they should give all these to one person, it would have no comparison, and would seem a loathsome thing, being compared only to the delight which will be enjoyed in seeing God for all eternity; because in him will be seen a theatre of bliss and greatness, wherein is com

prised, as in one, the greatness of all creatures. In him will be found all the riches of gold, the delightfulness of the meadows, the brightness of the sun, the pleasantness of music, the beauty of the heavens, the comfortable smell of amber, the contentedness of all the senses, and all that can be either admired or enjoyed.

To this may be added, that this inestimable joy of the vision of God, is to be multiplied into innumerable other joys; into as many as there are blessed spirits and souls, which shall enjoy the sight of God; in regard every one is to have a particular contentment of the bliss of every one; and because the blessed spirits and souls are innumerable, the joys likewise of every one, will be innumerable. For, as every saint shall love another equally as himself, so he shall receive equal joy from his happiness to that of his own: and if he shall rejoice in the happiness of those equal unto himself, how much shall he rejoice in the happiness of God, whom he loves better than himself?

Let us, therefore, rejoice, who are Christians, unto whom so great blessings are promised; let us rejoice that heaven was made for us, and let this hope banish all sadness from our hearts; let those grieve and be melancholy, who have no hope of heaven, and not we, unto whom Christ hath promised the blessedness of his glory. Let this hope comfort us, this joy refresh us; and let us now begin to enjoy that here, which we are ever hereafter to possess; for hope is an anticipation of joy; upon this we ought to place all our thoughts, turning our eyes from all the goods and delights of the earth. From hence I will shut up the windows of my senses; the things of the earth seeming unto me unworthy to be looked upon after the contemplation of the heavenly, in the hope whereof I will only rejoice.


O Father of light, grant me the light of thy glory; that one day I may clearly see that, which I now believe by the light of faith. O eternal Word, bestow thyself upon me, that I may possess in heaven, that which I see by hope upon earth. O Holy Ghost, make me partaker of thine infinite beauty; to the end I may one day enjoy that,

which I now embrace by charity. Lord, I am wholly thine, be thou wholly mine; thou art my eternity, thou art my salvation and hope; grant, Lord, that I may praise thee everlastingly. I desire nothing in heaven or earth, but thyself; for thou art the God of my heart, and the only part which I pretend unto in the eternity of eternities.


The Excellency and IIappiness of the Souls and Bodies of the Just, in the Life Eternal.

WHEN the Hebrews would express a blessed person, they did not call him" blessed," in the singular; but "blessings," in the abstract and plural; and so, in the first Psalm, in place of "beatus," the Hebrews say, "beatitudes;" and, certainly, with much reason; since the blessed enjoy as many blessings. as they have powers or senses; blessings in their understanding, will, and memory; blessings in their sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. The understanding shall live there, with a clear and supreme wisdom; the will, with an inflamed love; the memory, with an eternal representation of the good which is past; the senses, with a continual delectation in their objects. Finally; all that is man, shall live in a perpetual joy, comfort, and blessedness.

And to begin with the life and joy of the understanding: the blessed, besides that supreme and clear knowledge of the Creator, shall know the Divine mysteries, the secrets of Providence, the frame and making of the world, the whole artifice of nature, the motions of the stars, the properties of the planets, and of all created entities; all which they shall not only know jointly and in mass, but clearly and distinctly, without confusion. This shall be the life of the understanding, which shall feast itself with so high and certain truths. The knowledge of the greatest wise men and philosophers of the world, even in things natural, is full of ignorance and deceit; because they know not the substance of things, but through the shell of accidents; so as the most simple peasant, arriving at the height of glory, shall be re

plenished with a knowledge, in respect of which the wisdom of Solomon and Aristotle were but ignorance and barbarism.

What content were it to behold all the wise men of the world, and the principal inventors, and masters of sciences and faculties, met together in one room; Adam, Abraham, Moses, Solomon, Zoroaster, Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Pythagoras, Homer, Trismegistus, Solon, Lycurgus, Hippocrates, Euclid, Archimedes, and all the doctors of the church! How venerable were this junto! How admirable this assembly! And what journies would men make to behold them! If, then, to see such imperfect scraps of knowledge, divided amongst so many men, would cause so great admiration; what shall be the joy of the blessed, when each particular person shall see his own understanding furnished with that true and perfect wisdom, whereof all theirs is but a shadow? Who can express the joy they shall receive by the knowledge of so many truths? What contentment would it be to one, if at once they should shew unto him whatever there is, and what is done in the whole earth? The fair buildings; the fruit-trees, of so great diversity; all living creatures, of so great variety; all the birds, the fishes, the metals so rich; all people and nations, farthest remote? Certainly, it would be a sight of wonderful satisfaction. But what will it be to see all this; whatsoever there is in the earth, together with all that there is in heaven and above heaven? Some philosophers, in the discovery of a natural truth, or the invention of some rare curiosity, have been transported with a greater joy and content, than their senses were capable of. For this, Aristotle spent so many sleepless nights; for this, Pythagoras travelled into so many strange nations; for this, Crates deprived himself of all his wealth; and Archimedes never removed his thoughts, night nor day, from the inquisition of some mathematical demonstration. He spent many days in finding out, by his mathematical riches, how much gold would serve to gild a crown of silver; and having found it, he fetched divers skips, and cried out, "I have found it, I have found it!" If, then, the finding out of so mean a truth, could so transport this great artist; what joy shall the saints receive, when God shall discover unto them those high secrets, and, above all, that sublime mystery of the trinity of persons in the unity of essence? The blessed

shall receive more knowledge in one instant, than the wise of the world have obtained, with all their watchings, travels, and experiences. Aristotle, for the great love he bore to knowledge, held, that the chief felicity of man consisted in contemplation. If he found so great joy in natural speculation, what shall we find in Divine, and the clear vision of God? As the understanding shall be applied to the prime truth, which is God himself; so shall the beatified will be inseparably joined to the essence of the Divine goodness. There shall the memory also live, representing unto us the Divine benefits, and rendering eternal thanks unto the Author of all. The soul, rejoicing in its own happiness, to have received so great mercies for so small merits; and, remembering the dangers from which it hath been freed by Divine favour, it shall sing that verse in the Psalm: "The snare is broken, and we are delivered." The remembrance of the acts of virtue and good works shall be a particular joy unto the blessed; both in respect they were a means of our happiness, as also of pleasing so gracious and good a Lord.

In heaven, we shall not only joy in the memory of those things, wherein we have pleased God, in complying with his holy will, and in ordering and disposing our life in his service; but in the troubles, also, and dangers we have past. The memory of death is bitter to those who are to die; but unto the just, who have already passed it, and are secure in heaven, nothing can be more pleasant, who now, to their unspeakable joy, know themselves to be free from death, infirmity, and danger.

There, also, shall live the will, rejoicing to see all its desires accomplished, with the abundance and sweet society of so many felicities; being necessitated to love so admirable a beauty, as the soul enjoys and possesses in God Almighty. Love makes all things sweet; and, as it is a torment to be separated from what one loves, so it is a great joy and felicity to remain with the beloved: and, therefore, the blessed, loving God more than themselves, how unspeakable a comfort must it be to enjoy God, and the society of those whom they so much affect? The love of the mother makes her delight more in the sight of her own son, though foul and of worse conditions, than that of his neighbours. The love, then, of the saints, one towards another, being greater than

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