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consummation of our happiness, till the glorious coming of our Lord : as 2 Tim. i. 12. I am persuaded, that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day; and ver. 18. The Lord grant unto him, that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day. . Tim. iv. 8. There is laid up for me a crown of righteGusness, which the Lord shall give me at that day, 1 Pet. i. 5. The salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. And i Pet. v. 4. When the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. Add Col. iii. 4. and i John iii. 2. From these testimonies we are, by no means, to conclude, that the souls of the righteous shall be till then without all sense of happiness; but only, that what they have till then been favored with, is but a kind of prelibation, till the work of salvation shall be in every respect completed. For certainly it cannot be denied, that there is a great difference between that measure of happiness, which the souls of believers enjoy, while they are separated from the body, and that consummation of glory, which is to be revealed at the last day; and that because the happiness of a part is not to be compared with that of the whole ; since even that part, which is already received into heaven, has not attained to that perfection which the gospel has promised : as we will presently more fully shew. Hence also, the ancients said, that the souls of believers have indeed a joy, but it is only enjoyed in part; as sinners have a sorrow and a punishment in part, while they are shut up in prison, they are reserved for the coming of the judge ; Auctor quæst. $ respons. quæst. 20. who is said to be Athanasius. And Chrysostom places these souls as in a kind of porch. Bernard called it a hall,* distinguishing three states of men, or of souls; “ the first, in the tabernacle ; the
* Serm. ii, de sanctis.
second, in the hall; the third, in the house of God." Which, however, is to be understood with caution, not that the souls of believers are out of heaven, and have not the vision of God; but we are to think, that then they will obtain their most perfect happiness, when they shall be re-united to their bodies.
XXXIV. Those things which the last day will con tribute to the consummation of happifiess, we comprize chiefly under three heads. First, The bodies of believers, when raised in glory, shall be restored to their souls. The apostle has fully treated on this subject, 1 Cor. xv. The bodies indeed shall be the same, which believers, as was their duty, tenderly cherished in this life, in which, as in temples dedicated to the most holy God, they glorified God, and often underwent so many afflictions for the cause of Christ and religion. For both the justice of God, the comfort of the godly, and the very term resurrection, which can only be applied to what fell by death, do require them to be the same. But though they are to be the same as to substance; yet they shall be so changed as to qualities, that they will seem to be altogether different: For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory, i Cor. xv. 53, 54. Great therefore shall be the change of the body, but the same subject shall remain. Which the apostle intimates by the term, this, as if he had pointed to his own body. And to what purpose is the repetition of the same particle four several times, but to remove all ambiguity, and every cause of hesitation? And in fine, how otherwise can death be said to be swallowed up in vic
tory? Ought it not rather to be said, that death swallowed up our bodies EIS NIKOS, or, as it is in the prophet, LENITZACH, which may also be translated for ever, if the same numerical bodies do not rise ? • XXXV. Moreover, we cannot here but admire the almost incredible goodness of God. The divine mercy was willing to bless our bodies also with a participation of heavenly felicity. But their present constitution renders them incapable of so great a glory. As herbs and flowers wither and fade by the excessive heat of the radiant sun, so also our bodies, such as we now carry about with us, are unequal to bear the heavenly glory: Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.* Where flesh and blood do not denote our nature corrupted by sin, but the very substance of the human body, with those infirmities of animal life, which naturally follow it. Our flesh is from blood; blood from meat and drink ; and in blood consists that animal life, from which the body is called animal.† By flesh and blood therefore is signified the nature of the human body, as it is nourished and preserved in this life, by taking in meat and drink, and by the circulation of the blood. But such flesh and blood is incapable of the heavenly glory. What then? Is God to diminish the heavenly glory, that our body may also be admitted to have some par- ticipation of it? By no means. He will rather change - the qualities of our body, and of terrestrial make it heavenly, and of animal, spiritual, so as thus to bear a suitable proportion to the glory, wherewith it shall be endowed. $ But who, while he still remains on this earth, can take in this heavenly language ? who can form an idea of such a spiritual body? And yet it is evident from undoubted testimonies of holy writ, that the righteous shall have this .granted to them, and we are to
* 1 Cor. xv. 50. + Ver. 44. Ver. 40, 43.
look for it from our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working, thereby he is able even to subdue all things unto -himself ;* that we may shine forth, not as to our soul only, but also as to our body, as the sun in the kingdom of our Father.t :
XXXVI. The second thing, in which the last dayshall contribute to the consummation of our happiness, is such a great effulgence of the divine perfections in the works of glory, that a more illustrious neither the understanding can conceive, nor the heart wish for. Undoubtedly the soul of man. immediately upon its reception into heaven, most distinctly sees very many things in and concerning God, which on earth it under: stood only by the faint glimmering light of faith : but yet God has postponed the full display of his glory to that day. And therefore that yision of God, which we maintain to belong to the separate sou), though more evident than we can now well conceive, is not yet so perfect, but a greater measure of new light may be superadded. For as knowledge depends most of all on the revelation or discovery of the objects'; so that knowledge cannot be brought to its perfection, while a great part of the objects lie concealed. But a great part of the objects in the contemplation of which our mind shall be employed, lie concealed, till a new heaven and a new earth are made, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Indeed, the more illustrious the works of God are, with which the blessed see theinselves surrounded, the greater is the pleasure with which they contemplate the glory of God therein. But what more illustrious, than to see this vast universe, delivered from the bondage of corruption, and brought into the glorious liberty of the sons of God, which this created world * Phil. iii. 21.
+ Matth. xiii. 43.
with earnest expectation waited for ?* What more noble and divine, than that general judgment, in which they shall hear themselves not only acquitted, their enemies not only condemned, but themselves also appointed to judge angels in Christ their Head ?+ What more illustrious, than that general assembly of all the elect, from the beginning of the world to the last day, who, being clothed with heavenly bodies, shall each of them shine as the sun in the kingdom of their Father? And with what pleasing astonishment may we imagine, the soul will look upon its body, which it formerly knew to be subject only to very many and great infirmities, but shall then behold it glittering with such a blaze of light, as that it may seem, not indeed equal to, but yet greatly resembling the glorious body of Christ ? And as, in all these things, it can admire nothing but the effulgence of the divine glory, may it not be said, while it beholds thein, to see God himself in a most eminent manner? Hence John says,f But we know, that when he shall appear, we shall be like him: for we shall see him as he is. And David in like manner promises himself, only after the resurrection, that contemplation of God, which gives the most full satisfaction :S. As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness. To this also we are to refer that of Paul; For we now see 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 i'll that is, in a manner most perfect and altogether divine, a more excellent than which cannot, it seems, be the portion of any creature. For both the object shall be most clearly represented, as well in its most glorious operations, as in its immediate illapse, or entrance into * Rom. viii. 19, 21. + 1 Cor. vi. 3. 1 John iii. 2. & Psal.
xvii. 15, || 1 Cor. xii. 12.