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which are in heaven, and which are in the earth;' Eph. i. 10. Even the things in heaven, so far stood in need of a reconciliation, as that they might be gathered together in one, with the things on earth; the glory whereof is manifested in this heavenly ministration. And the apostle affirms that the 'heavenly things themselves were purified by the sacrifice of Christ;' Heb. ix. 23. Not that they were actually defiled in themselves, but without this purification they were not meet for the fellowship of this mystery in the joint-worship of the whole society in heaven and earth, by Jesus Christ. Hence, therefore, there is a continual manifestation of the glory of God unto the angels themselves. They behold his manifold wisdom and grace in the blessed effects of it, which were treasured up in the holy counsels of his will from eternity. Hereby is their own light and blessedness advanced, and they are filled with admirations of God, ascribing praise, honour, and glory unto him for evermore. For the behold

ing of the mystery of the wisdom of God in Christ, which is here so despised in the dispensation of the gospel, is the principal part of the blessedness of the angels in heaven, which fills them with eternal delight, and is the ground of their ascribing praise and glory unto him for evermore.

This is that manifestative glory wherewith God satisfieth himself, until the end determined shall be. On the account hereof he doth and will bear with things in this world, unto the appointed season. For whilst the creation is in its present posture, a revenue of glory must be taken out of it for God, and longer than that is done it cannot be continued. But the world is so full of darkness and confusion, of sin and wickedness, of enmity against God, is so given up to villany, unto all the ways whereby God may be dishonoured, that there is little or no appearance of any revenue of glory unto him from it. Were it not on the secret account of divine wisdom, it would quickly receive the end of Sodom and Gomorrah. The small remnant of the inheritance of Christ, is shut up in such obscurity, that as unto visible appearance and manifestation, it is no way to be laid in the balance against the dishonour that is done unto him by the whole world. But whilst things are in this posture here below, God hath a solemn honour, glory, and worship above in the presence of all his holy ones, wherein he resteth and takes plea

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sure. In his satisfaction herein, he will continue things in this world unto all the ends of his wisdom, goodness, righteousness, and patience, let it rage in villany and wickedness as it pleaseth. And so when any of the saints who are wearied and even worn out with the state of things in this world, and it may be understand not the grounds of the patience of God, do enter into this state, they shall unto their full satisfaction behold that glory which abundantly compensates the present dishonour done to God here below.

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[2.] This state of things is continued for the glory of Christ himself.' The office of mediator was committed by God the Father unto his only-begotten Son, no other being able to bear or discharge it. See Isa. vi. 9. Rev. v. 1-6. But in the discharge of this office it was necessary he should condescend unto a mean and low condition, and to undergo things difficult, hard, and terrible; Phil. ii. 6-8. Such were the things which our Lord Jesus Christ underwent in this world; his undergoing of them being necessary unto the discharge of his office; yea, it consisted therein. Herein was he exposed unto reproach, contempt, and shame, with all the evils that Satan or the world could bring upon him. And besides, he was for us, and in our stead, to undergo the curse of the law,' with the greatest of terrors and sorrows in his soul, until he gave up the ghost. These things were necessary unto the discharge of his office, nor could the salvation of the church be wrought out without them. But do we think that God would commit so glorious an office unto his only Son to be discharged in this manner only? Let it be granted that after he had so accomplished the will of God in this world, he had himself entered into glory; yet if he should so cease the administration of his office, that must be looked on as the most afflictive and dolorous that ever was undergone. But it was the design of God to glorify the office itself, as an effect of his wisdom, and himself therein; yea, so as that the very office itself should be an everlasting honour to his Son as incarnate. Unto this end the administration of it is continued in glory in his hand, and he is exalted in the discharge of it. For this is that glory which he prays that all his disciples may be brought unto him to behold. The time between his ascension, and the end of all things is allotted unto the glory of Christ in the administra

tion of his office in the heavenly sanctuary. And from hence doth the apostle prove him as a high-priest,' to be far more glorious than those who were called unto that office under the law; Heb. viii. 1-3. Herein it is manifest unto angels and men, how glorious a thing it is to be the only king, priest, and prophet of the church. Wherefore, as it behoved Christ in the discharge of his office to suffer; so after his sufferings in the discharge of the same office he was to enter into his glory; Rev. i. 18.

[3.] God hath respect herein unto those who depart in the faith, in their respective generations, especially those who died betimes, as the apostles and primitive Christians. And sundry things may be herein considered.

1st. There are two things which believers put a great price and value on in this world, and which sweeten every condition unto them. Without them the world would be a noisome dungeon unto them, nor could they be satisfied with a continuance therein. The one is the service of Christ. Without an opportunity of being exercised herein, they could not abide here with any satisfaction. They who know it not so to be, are under the power of worldly-mindedness. The meanest service of Christ hath refreshment in it. And as to those who have opportunities and abilities for great instances of service, they do not know on just grounds, nor are able to determine themselves, whether it be best for them to continue in their service here below, or to enter into the immediate service of Christ above; so glorious, so excellent is it to be usefully serviceable unto the Lord Jesus. So was it with the apostle, Phil. i. 21— 26. so may it be with others, if they serve him in the same spirit, with the same sincerity, though their ability in service be not like unto his. For neither had he any thing but what he received. Again, they have the enjoyment of Christ in the ordinances of gospel worship. By these means do they live, in these things is the life of their souls.

In this state of things God will not call them hence unto their loss; he will not put an end unto these privileges without an abundant recompense and advantage. Whatever we enjoy here, yet still to depart hence and to be with Christ shall be far better; Phil. i. 23. For,

(1st.) Although service here below shall cease, and be

given over unto other hands who are to have their share herein; yet on the continuance of this state of things in heaven, there is also a continuation of service unto Christ, in a way inexpressibly more glorious, than what we are in this life capable of. Upon their admittance into this state of things above, they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple, and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them; Rev. vii. 15. The whole state of the glorious worship of God before described, is here respected; and herein is a continual service performed unto him that sits on the throne and unto the Lamb. Wherefore it is so far from being loss, in being called off from service here below, as that in point of service itself, it is an inconceivable advancement,

(2dly.) The enjoyment of Christ in and by the ordinances of his worship, is the immediate fountain and spring of all our refreshments and consolations in this world; Psal. lxxxvii. 7. But what is it unto the blessed immediate enjoyment of him in heaven? Hence the blessedness of the state above is described, by being with Christ, being with Christ for ever, in the presence and immediate enjoyment of him. The light of the stars is useful and relieving in a dark night as we are on our way, but what are they when the sun ariseth? Will any man think it a loss that upon the rising of the sun they shall not enjoy their light any more, though in the night they knew not what to have done without it? It may be we cannot conceive how it will be best for us, to forego the use of sacraments, ministry, and the Scripture itself. But all the virtue of the streams is in the fountain; and the immediate enjoyment of Christ unspeakably exceeds whatever by any means we can be made partakers of here below.

In this blessed state have the holy apostles, all the primitive martyrs and believers from the time of their dissolution, enjoyed full satisfaction and solace, in the glorious assembly above; Rev. vii. 15-17, &c.

2dly. Hereby there is a continuation of communion between the church triumphant above, and that yet militant here below. That there is such a communion between glorified saints and believers in this world, is an article of faith. Both societies are but one church, one mystical

body, have one head, and a mutual concernment in each other. Yea the spring and means of this communion is no small part of the glory of the gospel. For before the saints under the Old Testament had the mystery of the glory of God in Christ with our redemption thereby revealed unto them, in the way before declared; this communion was very obscure; but we are now taken into the light and glory of it, as the apostle declares; Heb. xii. 22-24.

I know some have perverted the notions of this communion unto idolatrous superstition; and so have all other truths of the gospel been abused, and wrested unto the destruction of the souls of men; all the Scriptures have been so dealt withal; 2 Pet. iii. 16. But they deceived themselves in this matter, the truth deceiveth none. Upon a supposition of communion, they gathered that there must of necessity be an immediate communication between them above and us below. And if so, they knew no way for it, no means of it, but by our praying unto them, and their praying for us. But they were under the power of their own deceivings. Communion doth not require immediate mutual communication, unless it be among persons in the same state, and that in such acts as wherein they are mutually assisting and helpful unto one another. But our different states will admit of no such intercourse, nor do we stand in need of any relief from them, or can be helped by any acts of their love, as we may aid and help one another here below. Wherefore the centre of this communion is in Christ alone, and our exercise of it is upon him only, with respect unto them.

Yet hereon some deny that there is any such communion between the members of the church, or the mystical body of Christ in these divers states. And they suppose it is so declared in that of the prophet, Isa. Ixiii. 16. Doubtless, thou art our Father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not.' But there is nothing of any such importance in these words. The church under a deep sense of its present state, in its unworthy walking and multiplied provocations, profess themselves to be such, as that their forefathers in covenant could not own them as their children and posterity in the faith. Hereupon they appeal unto the infinite mercy and faithfulness of God, which ex

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