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with all those brave and generous Souls, who by their glorious Examples have recommended themselves to the World; when we shall be familiar Friends with Angels and Arcb- Angels, and all the Courtiers of Heaven shall call us Brethren, and bid nis Welcome to their Masters Foy, and we shall be received into their glorious Society with all the tender endearments and Caresses of those Heavenly Lovers; what a mighty Addition to our Happiness will this be!
There are indeed some other additions to the Happiness of Heaven; such as the Glory and Magnificence of the Place, which is the Highest Heaven, or the upper and purer Tracts of the Æther, which our Saviour calls Paradise, Luke xxiii. 43. and S. Paul the Third Heaven, 2 Cor. xii. 2. both which in the phrase of that Age bespeak it to be a place of unspeakable Glory; for fo the Jews do commonly call this blessed Seat, the Third or Angel-bearing Region of Heaven, by which they denote it to be the Palace of the King of the whole World, where his most glorious Courtiers do reside, ; and they also call it Paradise, in allusion to the Earthly Paradise of Eden; because as that was the Garden of this lower World, so this is of the whole Creation. And though we have no exact description of this place in Scripture, and that perhaps because no humane Language can describe it ; yet since God hath chosen it for the Everlasting Theatre of Bliss and Happiness, we may thence reasonably conclude that he hath most exquisitely furnifhed it with all accommodations requisite to a most happy and blissful Life.
Besides which also there is the everlasting Duration of it, which is another great Accession to its Happiness. That such is the Nature of its Enjoyments, as that they do not, like all other Pleasures, spend and waste in the Fruition ; that though it will be always feeding our Faculties with new Delights, yet it will never be exhausted, but be always equally, because infinitely, distant from a period. So that its Happiness consisting of an infinite Variety of Pleasure extended to an infinite Duration, it will be impoflible for those that enjoy it to be either cloy'd with the repetition of it, or tormented with the fear of losing it.
But these Two last I only niention, because they do not so properly belong to our present Argument; which is only to explain the Nature of Heaven so far as is necessary to the right understanding of the Nature of those Means by which it is to be attained.
Now from what hath been said concerning this great' End of the Christian Life, there Two things are to be inferr'd concerning the Nature of it.
1. That the main of Heaven confifts not fo much in any outward Possession, as in an inward State and Temper. For though Heaven be doubtless a most glorious Place, and all its blessed Inhabitants do polfefs and hold it by an everlasting Tenure, yet 'cis a great mistake to imagine that the main happiness of Heaven confifts in living for ever in a glorious Place, which separated from all the rest of Heaven would be but a poor and hungry kind of Happiness. For Life is no otherwise a Happiness, than as it is the Principle of all our
pleasant and grateful Perceptions; and if we could live forever without perceiving, it would be the same thing to us, as if we were nothing but a Company of everlasting Stones and Trees; and whạt great matter would it figoife to live for ever in a glorions Place, unlefs we could be for ever affected by it with a delightful fense and perception which is impof ble; because all delightful fenfe (as hath already been proved) arifes out of the vigorous exercise of our Faculties about fuch Objects as are suitable to them; but what can there be in the most glaxious Place so suitable to a Rational Mind and Will, as to keep them for ever vigorously employed and exercised about it? It may indeed for a while employ the Mind in an eager Contemplation of its new and furprizing Beauties ; but how soon would the Mind dis-relilh it, were it to be its only entertainment for Eternity ? And as for the Will, what would a fine Place fignifie to it, if it were not replenished with such Objects as are suitable to its own Options? And indeed there is nothing that can everlastingly gratifie a Rational Mind and Will, but what has in it fuch an Infinity of Truth as is everlastingly Knowable, and such an infinity of Goodness as is ever lastingly Defirable; or, which is the same thing, nothing but what hath Truth enough in it for the one to be vigorously contemplating for ever, and nothing but what hath Goodness enough in it for the other to be as vigorously loving, adoring, and imitating for ever. And such an infinitude of Truth and Goodness
, is no where to be found but in God. But God, as well as the place, and Duration of Heaven, being an Object that is external to us, neither is,
nor can be a Happiness to us unless we att upon him, and freely exercise our Faculties about him ; unless we know him, and Love him, &c. So that obat which Felicitates all, is our own Internal Att; ?tis by this that we enjoy Heaven, and perceive all the Pleafures of it. 'Tis not by being in Heaven that men are constituted Happy, but by vigoronny exerting their Faculties upon the Heavenly Objects. For without this, to be in Heaven or out of it would be indifferent to us. The Happiness of Heaven therefore consists in a State of Heavenly Attia on ; in being so attempered and connaturaliz'd to the Objects of Heaven, as to be always acting upon, and chearfully employing our Faculties about them. For as there is no Pleasure in Acting coldly upon fuit able Objects, so there is Pain and Trouble in acting vigorously upon unfuit able ones. And therefore to make Heaven it felfa Happiness to us, pris necessary not only that we fhould act vigoroully upon the Objeets of it, but that we should fo act from a suitableness of Temper to them. That we fhould contemplate God,
fubmit to his will adore and imitate his perfections from a God-like Temper and Disposition. For otherwise thefe Acts will be Penances instead of Pleasures to us; and the more intenfely we exert them, the more painful they will be. And if we were in Heaven, all that Heavenly Exercifo in which the Happiness of ic confifts, would be but a Torment and Vexation to us, untess we had a Heavenly Temper. For as the Parts of Matter can never rejt, but do move about in a perpetual Whirl-poot, till they hit into a place or Interftice that is of the fanie Form and Fighre with them; fo there is nothing can rejt in Heaven but
what is Heavenly. All that is otherwise rebounds and flies off of its own accord, and can never aco quiesce there, till 'cis of the fame Form, and Temper, and Disposition with it. Froni hence therefore it's evident that the Happinefs of a Man in Heaven consists not so much in the outward Glo. sy of the Place, as in the inward State of his own Mind, which from a suitableness of Temper to the Heavenly Objects doth always freely employ and exercise its Faculties about them.
II. That the Heavenly State is nothing else but the Perfe&tion of all Heavenly Verive, For it hath been already proved, That Heaven consists in a clear and intimate Knowledge, and a free and uncontested Choice of God, and of those Blessed Beings that resemble him; and thefe Two compre hend all Heavenly Virtue. So that the difference between the state of Grace and Glory is not in Kind, but in Degree. For Grace, is the Seed of Glory, and Glory is the Maturity of Grace. 'Tis Knowledge exalted above all Error and Prejudice, above all Difficulty or Obscurity of Apprehension ; 'tis Lave strained from all repugnancies of Flesh and Spirit, and refined into a pure Celestial flame ; 'tis Obedience to and Imitation of God, perfectly sepa-, rated from all finful Defects, and freed from the Clog of counter-striving Principles; 'tis Adoration of and Dependency upon him, without the least degree of Indisposition or Defpondency; in a word, 'tis a free and uncontrolled Motion of all the Heavenly Virtues together, in which they are every one most vigorously exerted, without the least Checkor Impediment. This therefore being the State of Heaven, as is evident from what hath been dir.