« PreviousContinue »
other Injunctions he laid upon them, as the forbid. ding them Wine, and the eating of Swine's Flesh: Friday he ordained for his Sabbath, to distinguish his Followers from Jews and Chriftians, who folemnize the Days following. To thofe who obferve his Religion, and purely keep his Laws, he promifeth Paradife. Pfal. cxix. 77. O let thy loving Mercies come unto me, that I may live ; for thy Law is my Delight.
O happy Souls! who are delivered from the Perils of the Sea of this troublesome World, and got fafe to Shore! who have reach'd their native Country, and exchang'd their Prifon for a Palace! Happy thofe Combatants, who have received that Crown of Glory, which they endur'd the Fight of various Afflictions to obtain, and are now tranflated from fhort Tribulations, to endless Triumphs! Happy thofe who have put off their Load of Frailty and Sufferings! who are in quiet Poffeffion of the Glory that fadeth not away, and cloathed with Majefty and Honour! O happy State! O Kingdom everlafting! where the Souls of the Saints are in Peace and Felicity! where eternal Rejoicing is upon every Head, and Sorrow and Sighing flee away! where the Saints reign with thee, their beloved Lord, and deck themselves with Light, as with a Garment ! O Kingdom ever-bleffed, in which, thou Lord, the Hope and Crown of all thy faithful Servants, makeft them glad with the Joy of thy Countenance, and that Peace which paffeth all Understanding! Their Joy knows no Bounds; their Mirth, no Sorrow; their Health, no Pain; their Light hath no Intervals of Darkness; their Life hath no Death; their Happiness is univerfal, without the leaft Mixture of Evil; their Youth is ever fresh and gay; their Beauties, always blooming; their Love, ever fervent; their Pleafures have no Abatement; for thou, O God, art their all in all, their fole, their chief, their perfect Good! Happy,
Happy, fure, beyond Imagination, is that bleft Soul, which, making its Escape out of this earthly Prison, wings its Way to Heaven without any Restraint; which fees its dearest Lord Face to Face, and, no longer enflav'd to the Fear of Death, triumphs in the Enjoyment of everlasting Glory; poffeffing thee, the Object of its Love and long purfuit, and finging Hymns of never-ceafing Praife, to the Honour of her King and Redeemer; fatiated with the Plenteoufnels of thy Houfe, and drinking freely of the River of thy ever-overflowing Pleafures! O happy Company of heavenly Citizens! O glorious Pomp of Souls returning from their toilfome Pilgrimage, to the Excellence of the Beauty, and Splendour, and Majesty of thy Courts! Oh the ravishing Entertainment of those harmonious Hymns, the Melody of Angels, and fweet Notes of Songs in Concert; of which every Member of the heavenly Choir bears his Part: No Mixture of Bitter pollutes thofe holy Joys; no Malice, or Wickedness; no Want, or Diigrace; no railing, reviling, or angry Difputes; no Fear, or Difquiet; no Doubt, or Uneafinefs; no Force, or Difcord; but perfect Peace and Love, eternal Praife and Thanksgiving, uninterrupted Reft, and Joy everlasting in the Holy Ghoft! My God, how happy fhould I be to hear that transporting Mufick, and thofe divine Compofitions, which publish the Myfteries and Glories of the ever bleffed Trinity! My God, how much happier and more honoured, if not only admitted to hear, but to join in Concert with thofe Sons of God, who fing to their Chrift and King, perpetually, the fweet Songs of Sion! O Life, truly worthy that Name, because everlafting, ever-bieffed! a Life of Joy, unpolluted with Sufferings or Sorrow; Reft, without I abor or Disturbance; Honour, without Fear or Envy ; Riches, without Robbery or Lofs; Health, without Decay; Plenty without Lack: where all things are enjoy'd in perfect Charity; where
God is feen Face to Face, and the Mind is feafted, and fully fatisfied with Knowledge; ever seeing and ever defiring to see more ; but defiring, without Uneafinefs, and fatisfied, fo as never to be cloy'd. O everlasting Morning! O glorious Day! whofe Sun never declines; in which I hope to hear that moft rapturous Invitation, Enter thou into the Joy of thy Lord: Into that Joy, where are things great and unfearchable, yea, marvellous things without Number: A Joy without Conclufion, without Interruption, without Allay; where we shall meet with all we can wifh, and reft fecure from all we can fear; free from the Enemy's Affaults, from the Tempter's feducing Infinuations; full of Tranquility, Reft and Peace; bleffed with the ravishing Vision of the Deity for ever: Such is the Joy of the Lord thy God. Sweet and charming are the heavenly Delights, fubject to none of thofe Viciffitudes and Interruptions which abate our Pleasures here below; no Succeffions of Day and Night; no Intervals of Darknefs; no Difference of Seafons in their feveral Courses; nor is the Light derived by artificial Helps, or natural Luminaries, the fame with ours; no Lamps or Candles; no fhining of the Moon or Stars; but God of God, and Light of Light, even the Sun of Righteoufnefs, fhines in thee, and the white immaculate Lamb, he it is that enlightens thee with the full Luftre of his Majefty and Beauty; thy Light, and thy Glory, and all thy Happiness, is the inceffant Contemplation of this Divine King; for this King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, is in the midft of thee, and all his Hofts are miniftring round about him continually. There are the melodious Choirs of Angels; there the sweet Fellowship and Company of the heavenly Inhabitants; there the joyful Pomp of all thofe triumphant Souls, who from their fore Trials and Travels, through this Valley of Tears, at laft return victorious to their Native Country; there the goodly
goodly Fellowship of Prophets, whofe Eyes God open'd to take a Profpect of far diftant Mysteries; there the bleffed Apoftles, the twelve Leaders of the Christian Armies; there the noble Army of Martyrs; there the holy Men and Women, who, in the Days of their Flesh, were mortified with the Pleasures of Sin and the World; there the Virgins and Youths whofe blooming Virtues put out early Fruit, and ripen'd into Piety, far exceeding the Proportion of their Years; there the Sheep and the Lambs who have efcap'd the ravening Wolf, and all the Snares laid for their Deftruction; these all rejoice in their proper Manfions, and tho' each differ from others in Degrees of Glory, yet all agree in Blifs and Joy, diffus'd to all in common, and the Happinefs of every one is esteemed each one's own. This is their conitant, their delightful Employment. Oh how happy fhall I be how exquifitely, how inceffantly happy! if when this Body crumbles into Duft, Í fhall be entertain'd with that celeftial Harmony, and hear the Hymns of Praife to their eternal King, which Troops of Angels and Saints innumerable are ever finging in full Concert. What Tongue can exprefs, what Thought conceive, the admirable Beauty, the exact Order, the numberlefs Multitude of the heavenly Hoft, the inexhauftible Spring of Joy, arifing from the beatifick Vifion the fervent Love which minifters inexpreffible Delight; the ever-growing Defires which rife with their Satisfactions, and the grateful Satisfactions which crown that Defire; a Defire always eager, and never uneafy; always full, and never cloy'd; the Bleffednefs deriv'd down to them, by their infeparable Union to the Fountain of all Blifs. Oh that I were capable of expreffing thy Excellencies, in as perfect and becoming a manner, as the melodious Choirs of Angels do, in their perpetual Songs of Praife! how gladly would
I then spend all my Breath, and even warble out my Soul in Songs of Thanksgiving.
Happy are they whofe chiefeft Hope is fix'd on Heaven and heavenly Things: Happy, whofe conftant Employment is praying to, and converfing with, thee: Happy, whofe Solitude is spent in awful Silence, and heavenly Raptures, and conftant Watchfulness over themselves: Happy, who, even while in this frail Body, anticipate, fo far as their Condition will allow, the ineffable Sweetness of their future Glories.
The Life to come is represented to us by the following Characters, that it is Eternal in Duration, and a Bleffedness to all Eternity; a State where there is the most profound Security and Tranquility; Pleasure, without Paffion; Love, without Fear; Love in Perfection; Day, without Night; Activity and Strength, without Poffibility of Decay ; perfect Unanimity: All the Souls in it wrapt up in the Contemplation of God, and past all Apprehenfion of being ever deprived of his beatifick Prefence. A City bleft with the most glorious Inhabitants, where all the Saints and Angels take up their perpetual Refidence; the Splendor whereof confifts in the fhining Graces of God's Ele&t; where Health abounds, and Truth reigns for ever; where there is no deceiving, no being deceived; out of which none of the Happy are ever expelled, into which none of the Wretched are ever admitted.
O happy State! O truly glorious Kingdom! without Succeffion, without Conclufion! where Time is not measured by the Revolution of Day's and Nights, Summers and Winters; but Eternity is continued through one endless Day, one everblooming Spring; when they who have been victorious in their fpiritual Warfare, join in concert with the bleffed Angels, and fing the Songs of Sion without ceafing.