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gueß at thofe ravishing Felicities which will fpring out of it hereafter. When we fhall be perfectly releafed from all the encumbrances of flesh and blood, and fin; when we fhall be tranflated into a free and quiet ftate, wherein we fhall have nothing else to do, but only to know and love, obey and imitate, and have no imperfection either natu ral or vicious, to clog or difturb us in this our Beatifical employment. Wherein we shall act with all our vigour and might, and thruft forth the whole ftrength of our Souls in every Love and every Obedience; fo that every motion of our Souls. towards God, fhall have the Vehemence of a Rapture in it, without the Violence. When, I fay, we shall be eternally fixed in a State of fuch perfect Freedom and Activity, our Happineß must needs be as large as our Defires, and as great as our utmost Capacity or Power of Atting upon God. For now we fhall imitate the most Perfect, and adore the most Adorable, as much as ever we are able; that is, we fhall perform with all our might and vigour the Acts that are most agreeable to our Reafonable Nature: and in the utmost vigour of fuch Acts (as I have already fhewed) confifts our utmost Happineß.
Suppofe we then a Society of Rational Beings. placed in fuch a State, wherein they have an Object of infinite Perfections always before them, and no Evil from without or within to check or divert them from exerting all their Powers upon him in the most reasonable Actions: Suppose them now to be moving with unspeakable vigour and agility, like fo many ever-living Orbs about this their ever lafting Center; to be as full of Love and Duty to
him as ever their Hearts can hold; to be copying his Perfections, and adoring his Excellencies with an uncontroulable Freedom and Alacrity, and breathing forth themselves to him in chearful Praifes and Rapturous Hallelujahs; in a word, to be exercifing themselves about him to their utmost Strength and Power, in all thofe bleffed Offices which his Nature and their Relation to him call for Suppose, 1 fay, all this, and you have before ye that which is the very top and flower of the Heaven of a reasonable Creature; who in this bleffed ftate is fixed, as it were in his own proper Element, where, without any lett or disturbance, he freely moves and acts according to his most natural Tendence and Inclination.
And now by this time I think it is clear enough, that the main and principal Part of the Heaven of a Man, confidered as a reasonable Crea-. ture, confifts in Knowing and Chufing of God." But befides this, there are other bleffed Ingredients of Heaven; the principal whereof is, the Knowing and Chufing thofe that are most like unto God namely, the bleffed Jefus in his Humane Nature, and the Holy Angels and Saints, who are all in their feveral Meatures and Degrees the exprefs and lively Images of God. And therefore if to Know and Chufe God be the Supreme Felicity of Heaven, then doubtlefs the next to that is, to Know and be Acquainted with thefe bleffed Images of him, and freely to chufe their Company and Converfation, and be entirely united to them in Affection; without which it would be no Felicity to dwell in the fame place with them. For to co-habit with Jefus and with Saints and Angels,
and not be acquainted with, and united to them in Heart and Affection, would be rather a Burden than a Pleasure. The Happiness therefore of being in their Society, confifts in Knowing and Chufing them. And this is every where implied, where our being with them is mentioned as a part of our Heaven. Thus, 1 Thef. iv. 17. to be ever with the Lord, is the fame thing with being ever in Heaven: but then,'tis to be ever with him upon Choice; for fo those words imply, Phil. i. 23. I defire to depart and to be with Chrift which is far better. And accordingly this is mentioned by the Apostle as a dear Priviledge of our being Members of the Chriftian Church, whereby we are entituled to the Society of Holy Myriads of Angels, of the general Affembly of the Church of the first-born, of God the Fudge. of all, of the Spirits of Just men made perfect, and of Jefus the Mediator of the New Covenant, Heb. xii. 22, 23, 24. And indeed this must needs be an ineftimable Happiness, not only to cohabit, but be acquainted with, and in Heart and Will united to this Bleffed and Glorious Company. For what Soul that has any Spark of Cordial Love to Jefus, the best Friend of Souls that ever was, any grateful remembrance of what he did and fuffered for our fakes; would not efteem it a mighty Felicity to be admitted into his Prefence, and to be an Eye-mitnefs of the happy Change of his past woful Circumstances? To fee him that was fo cruelly treated, fo barbaroufly vilified, tortured and butchered for our fakes, raised to the highest pitch of Splendour and Dignity, to be Head and Prince of all the Hierarchy of Heaven, to be worshipped and celebrated throughout all the noble Choir of Arch-An
gels and Angels and Spirits of just men made perfect? Verily methinks had I only the Priviledge to look in and fee my dear and blessed Lord furrounded with all this Circle of Glories, it would be a most Heavenly Confolation to me, though I were fure never to partake of it. The very Communion I fhould have in the Joys of my Master, would be a kind of Heaven at Second-hand to me, and my Soul would be wondrous Happy by Sympathizing with him in his Felicity and Advancement. But Oh! when that Bleffed Perfon fhall not only permit me to fee his Glory, but introduce me into it, and make me Partaker of it; when I fhall not only behold his Beloved Face, but be admitted into his Dear Converfation, and dwell in his Arms and Embraces for ever; when I fhall hear him record the wondrous Adventures of his Love, through how many woful Stages he paffed to refcue me from Mifery, and make me Happy, and in the mean time fhall have a molt ravishing Feeling of that Happiness; how will my Heart spring with Joy, and burn with Love, and my Mouth o'reflow with Praifes and Thanksgivings to him!
And as our Acquaintance with, and Choice of the Blessed Jefus muft needs contribute vastly to our Happiness; fo muft alfo (though not in fo high a Degree) our being intimately acquainted and united with Saints and Angels. Who being not only endowed with large and comprehenfive Understandings, but also with perfect Good-nature and moft generous Charity, must needs make excellent Company. For as their Goodneß cannot but render their Converfation infinitely free and be nign, fo their great Knowledge must neceffarily
render it equally profitable and delightful. And then being fo Knowing as they are, they must needs be fuppofed to understand all the wife Arts of Endearment; and being fo Good, they must be alfo fuppofed to be continually practising them. And if fo, what a Heavenly Converfation muft theirs be, the Scope whereof is the most glorious Knowledge, and the Law whereof is the moft perfect FriendShip? Who would not be willing to leave a foolish, froward, and ill-natur'd World, for the bleffed Society of thefe wife Friends and perfect Lovers? And what a Felicity muft it be to spend an Eternity in fuch a noble Converfation! Where we shall hear the deep Philofophy of Heaven communicated with mutual Freedom in the Wife and Amicable Difcourfes of Angels and of Glorified Spirits; who without any Referve,or affectation of Mystery,without Paffion or Interest or peevish Contention for Victory, do freely Philofophize, and mutually impart the treasures of each others Knowledge. For fince all Saints there are great Philofophers, and all Philofophers perfect Saints, we must needs fuppofe Knowledge and Goodneß, Wisdom and Charity to be equally intermingled throughout all their Converfation; and being fo, what can be imagined more delightful! When therefore we fhall leave this impertinent and unfociable World; and all our good old Friends that are gone to Heaven before us, fhall meet us as foon as we are landed upon the fhore of Eternity, and with infinite congratulations for our fafe Arrival fhall conduct us into the Company of the Patriarchs and Prophets, Apoftles and Martyrs, and introduce us into an intimate Acquaintance with them, and