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Some Graces, even amongst them that seem here of the First Magnitude; there are, which in their own Nature argue Imperfection, fuch are Faith, and Hope, and Patience, and Long-fuffering, and fome like them. Now all thefe by reafon of the Perfection of the Future Condition, fhall ceafe and be changed in-. to what is agreeable to Perfection. Faith will pass into Vision: What we now believe, we fhall then fee; and fo the Evidence of things not feen, will be at an end. Hope will pafs into Enjoyment, and being poffeft of the Subftance of things hoped for, we shall hope no more. Expectation in which the nature of hope effentially lies, must in such cafe, needs be at an end. Patience of Evils can there have no place,where no Evil dwells. Nor bearing with one anothers Infirmities when all our Infirmities (perfonal and focial or both our, and our Brethrens) are taken And fo of other like Graces. But the away. greatest of all Graces is Charity; which will then and ever remain; and that in a most exalted Estate. Our love to God, will not then be that faint, dull, poor forced Compound of Warmth and Indifferency, it is now. It will then be all pure and perpetual Flame. Our Love to Mankind, will not be that narrow hearted ftingy Affection, which here begins with Self, and too much confines it felf thereto; but as far as finite Beings are capable thereof, of the fame comprehenfion with God's Love. We fhall fee by the light of his Glory, and Love by the emanations of
his Philanthropy, or by a fympathy with his eternal Good-Will towards Mankind.
I have thus endeavoured, as I am able to state the First Point, or resolve the firft Difficulty propofed; namely, to what Perfection the Spirits of fuft Men while feparated from their Bodies, may be conceived to attain. The Second is,
What Happiness their Society can there be to their Chriftian Brethren, when gathered to them?
And for refolving hereof, I lay this for a foundation, which for the present, I must take for a certain Truth, because I cannot ftand particularly to prove it: Namely, that the Saints fhall affuredly know one another in the future World. Indeed,l judge it unqueftionably true,and that as well of the wicked,as of the Juft. But I have no occafion at present to fpeak, touching the former. The Saints, I fay, fhall not only renew all their Virtuous Acquaintances, and old Friendships, even after the Grave, but contract new ones. We fhall know Abraham, and Ifaac, and Jacob, Mofes and Elias, and the Prophets; St. Peter and St.Paul,and the beloved Disciple,and allthofe ancient Witneffes of the Faith, who here,many of them wandred about in defarts,and mountains, and Caves of the Earth; fome of them cloathed in Sheep Skins, and Goat Skins, deftitute, afflicted, tormented; others of them naked, and cold, and hungry, of whom the World was not worthy. But God has provided that without us, even they fhould not be made perfect. Heb. xi. ult. Now
this being laid as a Foundation, we may conceive, amongst other Particulars, that the Society of the Spirits of Juft Men made perfect will contribute to our Happiness, even when glorified in the Three following
I. It will be one degree of Happiness, to be free from the folicitude we are apt to retain for the Condition, Good and Welfare of many of our Chriftian Friends. There are diverse perhaps now Dead, whom in Life we dearly loved, and touching the condition of whofe Souls we have many times Fear and Anxiety: Though fometimes again, as we have reafon, we conceive great hopes touching their Happiness. When therefore we fhall find them as happy as our felves, inftated as Co-heirs with our Lord Christ Jefus in his Kingdom, all fuch Solici tude must ceafe. That painful Anxiety,' with which poffibly we may go out of the World, touching the perfeverance and final Salvation of fome we leave behind us, in the midst of a Wicked and Adulterous Generation, (amidst the Temptations and Violence of the World; Obnoxious to the Malice of the Devil, and the Deceitfulness of Sin) the Fears, left by any or all these they should mifcarry (all this trouble and concern, which our love to them gives us for them,) will I fay, be removed; and as we rest from our Labour, fo we fhall be at reft from those Cares too. This certainly is a degree of Felicity, for which many of us (many a ten
der hearted Parent, (many Husbands and Wives, many Pious Souls in other Relations) would give a World if they had it at prefent to be fure of. This is the First Point,
II. In as much as Charity will be there most perfect, the Society of that Holy Multitude muft vaftly enlarge our otherwife private Joys. It is the nature of Charity fays the Apostle (1 Cor. 13. 4.) That it is kind, that it envyeth not, that it feeketh not its own, that it rejoiceth not in Evil, but certainly therefore rejoiceth in others Good. When therefore we shall see the whole Body of the Faithful all bleffed about us, in that Immenfe Circle of Light, their Blifs, will as by Sympathy encrease our own, and we shall fhine the Brighter by the vicinity of their Glories.
III. For as much as according to Humane Speaking and even Understanding, the more there are in Heaven of the Spirits of Juft Men made perfect, the greater must be the Glory of the most high God, it will prove on this account, an encrease of our Joys in Heaven, that by their Society the Glory of God is encreased. To raise the Glory of God to the greatest pitch, to fet forth his Name, and bring Credit to our holy Religion, ever has been, is, and will be the grand defign and endeavour of all holy Men on Earth.
When therefore their Souls fhall be received into their Fathers House, and shall there join with the vast Fraternity and Assembly of Saints and Angels, whofe inceffant Bufi
nefs it is to give Glory unto God, this Bleffed Company muft needs inhance their Joys. It has been sweet to them many a time to give God Praise, even by themselves, on their Knees in their Closets; yet much a greater Joy, to praise him with their Chriftian Brethren, in the great Congregation: But when they fhall be taken into the heavenly Quire, and be taught by Saints, as well as Angels, to Sing his Praise, here will be a Congregation and Harmony indeed! Who can express what Joy this must fill fuch Souls with? This is matter of Joy to the very Angels in Heaven: They (fays our Lord in the Gospel) Rejoice at the Converfion of a Sinner, and much more then must we, at the Salvation of fo many Sinners (that have been but in that State happily chang'd) and at their mutual glorifying God with us.
I have thus endeavoured (according to what of time I have had to confider, and what I have of Ability to comprehend, I have, I fay, endeavoured) faithfully to represent the Perfections of Separate Holy Souls, and how the Society of one another, adds to each others Blifs. I am fenfible I have come much short of fo great a Subject. Words cannot express it, no nor Thoughts reach it. Eye has not feen, nor Ear heard, neither has it entred into the Heart of Man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him. I Cor. 2. 9.
If our dear Brother (whofe Earthly Part lies here before us) could hear, how I have spoken of these things, though I have endea