The Practice of Piety—a Puritan devotional manual, directing a Christian how to live, that he may please God

by Lewis Bayly (1611)

Meditations on the blessed state of those reconciled to God in Christ

Now let us see how happy a godly man is in his state of renovation, being reconciled to God in Christ.

The godly man whose corrupt nature is renewed by grace in Christ and become a new creature, is blessed in a threefold respect—First, in his life; Secondly, in his death; Thirdly, after death.

I. Meditations on the blessed state of a Christian during his LIFE

This is but in part, and that consists in seven things—

1. Because he is born of the Spirit (Jn. 3:5)—not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man—but of God (Jn. 1:13), who in Christ is his Father (Gal. 4:6,7; 2Cor. 9:8)—so that the image of God his Father is renewed in him every day more and more (Eph. 4:2,3,13; Col. 3:10.)

2. He has, for the merits of Christ's sufferings—all his sins, original and actual, with the guilt and punishment belonging to them (Rom. 4:8,25; 8:1,2; 1Pet. 2:24), freely and fully forgiven him; and all the righteousness of Christ as freely and fully imputed to him (Rom. 4:5,19); and so God is reconciled to him (2Cor. 5:19); and approves him as righteous in his sight, on the merits of Christ (Rom. 8:33,34).

3. He is freed from Satan's bondage (Act. 16:18; Eph. 2:2), and is made a brother of Christ (Jn. 20:17; Rom. 8:20), a fellow-heir of his heavenly kingdom (Rom. 8:17), and a spiritual king and priest (Rev. 1:6), to offer up spiritual sacrifices to God by Jesus Christ (1Pet. 2:5; Mal. 3:17.)

4. God spares him as a man spares his own son that serves him. And this sparing consists in,

(1.) Not taking notice of every fault—but bearing with his infirmities (Ex. 34:6,7). A loving father will not cast his child away, just because he is sick.

(2.) Not making his punishment, when he is chastened, as great as his deserts (Ps. 103:10.)

(3.) Chastening him moderately when he sees that he will not by any other means be reclaimed (2Sam. 7:14,15; 1Cor. 11:32).

(4.) Graciously accepting his endeavors, notwithstanding the imperfection of his obedience; and so preferring the willingness of his mind before the worthiness of his work (2Cor. 8:12.)

(5.) Turning the curses which he deserved to fatherly corrections. Yes, turning all things, all calamities of this life, death itself, yes, his very sins, to his good (Rom. 8:28; Ps. 89:31,33; 119:71; Heb. 12:10; 2Cor. 12:7; 1Cor. 15:54,55; Heb. 2:14,15; Lk. 22:31,32; Ps. 51:13,14; Rom. 5:20,21.)

5. God gives him his Holy Spirit, who,

(1.) Sanctifies him by degrees throughout (1Th. 5:23), so that he more and more dies to sin and lives to righteousness (Rom. 8:5,10.)

(2.) Assures him of his adoption, and that he is by grace the child of God (Rom. 8:16.)

(3.) Encourages him to come with boldness and confidence into the presence of God (Heb. 4:16; Eph. 3:12).

(4.) Moves him without fear to say unto him, 'Abba, Father' (Gal. 4:6; Rom. 8:15,16.)

(5.) Pours into his heart the gift of sanctified prayer.

(6.) Persuades him that both he and his prayers are accepted and heard of God, for Christ his mediator's sake.

(7.) Fills him with, 1st, Peace of conscience (Rom. 5:1; 14:17); 2nd, Joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14:17)—in comparison whereof all earthly joys seem vain and vile to him.

6. He has a recovery of his sovereignty over the creatures (Ps. 8:5; Heb. 2:7,8), which he lost by Adam's fall; and from thence free liberty (Rom. 14:14; 1Tim. 4:2, &c.) of using all things which God has not restrained (1Cor. 9:19,20), so that he may use them with a good conscience (1Cor. 3:22,32; Heb. 1:7). For to all things in heaven and earth he has a sure title in this life (1Cor. 3:22); and he shall have the complete and peaceable possession of them in the life to come (Mt. 25:34; 1Pet. 1:4). Hence it is that all reprobates are but 'usurpers' of all that they possess, and have no place of their own but hell (Acts 1:25).

7. He has the assurance of God's fatherly care and protection day and night over him; which care consists in three things:

(1.) In providing all things necessary for his soul and body, concerning this life (Mt. 6:32; 2Cor. 12:14; Ps. 23; 34:9,10), and that which is to come; so that he shall be sure ever either to have enough, or patience to be content with that he has.

(2.) In that God gives his holy angels, as ministers, a charge to attend upon him always for his good (Heb. 1:14; Ps. 34:7; 91:11). Yes, in times of danger to pitch their tents about him for his safety wherever he be. Yes, God's protection shall defend him as a cloud by day, and as a pillar of fire by night (Isa. 4:5;) and his providence shall hedge him from the power of the devil (Job 1:10).

(3.) In that the eyes of the Lord are upon him, and his ears continually open, to see his state (Ps. 34:15; Gen. 7:1), and to hear his pleas for help, and in his good time to deliver him out of all his troubles (Ps. 34:19).

Thus far of the blessed state of the godly and regenerate man in this life.

Now of his blessed state in death.

II. Meditations on the blessed state of a Christian in his DEATH

When God sends death as his messenger for the regenerate man, he meets him half-way to heaven, for his thoughts and affections are in heaven before him (Phil. 3:20; Col. 3:2). Death is never strange nor fearful to him—not strange, because he died daily—not fearful, because while he lived, he was dead, and his life was hidden with Christ in God (1Cor. 1:31; Col. 3:3). To die, therefore, is to him nothing else in effect—but to rest from his labor in this world, to go home to his Father's house, unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born, to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant (Rev. 14:13; 2Cor. 5:6; Jn. 14:2; Heb. 12:22).

While his body is sick, his mind is sound; for God makes his bed in sickness, and strengthens him with faith and patience, upon his bed of sorrow (Ps. 41:3). And when he begins to enter into death—the way of all the world—he gives (like Jacob, Moses, and Joshua) to his children and friends, godly exhortations and counsels, to serve the true God, to worship Him truly all the days of their life (Gen. 49). His blessed soul breaths nothing but blessings, and such speeches as savor a sanctified spirit. As his outward man decays, so his inward man increases, and waxes stronger; when the speech of his tongue falters, the sighs of his heart speak louder unto God; when the sight of the eyes fails, the Holy Spirit illuminates him inwardly with abundance of spiritual light. His soul fears not—but is bold to go out of the body, and to dwell forever with her Lord (2Cor. 5:8). He sighs out with Paul, "I desire to depart—and to be with Christ," Phil. 1:23. And with David, "As the deer pants after the water-brooks, so my soul pants after you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God—when shall I come and appear before God?" Ps. 42:2. He prays with the saints, "How long, O Lord, holy and true?" Rev. 6:10. "Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly," Rev. 22:10.

And when the appointed time of his death is come (Job 14:5), knowing that he goes to his Father and Redeemer in the peace of a good conscience (Ps. 31:5), and the assured persuasion of the forgiveness of all his sins, in the blood of the Lamb, he sings with blessed old Simeon his Nunc dimittis, "Lord, now let you your servant depart in peace," (Lk. 2:29; Ps. 37:37; Isa. 57:2), and surrenders up his soul, as it were, with his own hands, into the hands of his heavenly Father, saying with David, "Into your hands, O Father, I commend my soul, for you have redeemed me, O God of truth," Ps. 31:5. And saying with Stephen, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit," Acts 7:59. He no sooner yields up the Spirit—but immediately the holy angels (Mt. 18:10; Acts 12:15; 27:23) who attended upon him from his birth to his death, carry and accompany his soul into heaven, as they did the soul of Lazarus into Abraham's bosom (Lk. 16:22), which is the kingdom of heaven, where only good angels and good works do accompany the soul (Mt. 8:11; Lk. 13:28; Acts 15:10,11; Eph. 1:10; Heb. 11:9,10,16; 12:22,23; Lk. 19:9; 9:31;) the one to deliver their charge (Ps. 91:11; Heb. 1:14); the other to receive their reward (Rev. 14:13; 22:12).

The body, in convenient time, as the sanctified temple of the Holy Spirit (1Cor. 6:19), the members of Christ (1Cor. 6:15), nourished by his body (Mt. 26:26), the price of the blood of the Son of God (1Cor. 6:20; 1Pet. 1:19), is by his fellow-brethren reverently laid to sleep in the grave as in the bed of Christ (1Th. 4:14; Acts 7:6; 8:2), in an assured hope to awake in the resurrection of the just, at the last day, to be partaker, with the soul, of life and glory everlasting (Dan. 12:2; Jn. 5:28,29; Lk. 14:14; 1Th. 4:16,17; Rev. 14:13). And in this respect not only the souls—but the very bodies of the faithful also are termed blessed.

Thus far of the blessedness of the soul and body of the regenerate man in death—Now let us see the blessedness of his soul and body after death.

III. Meditations on the blessed state of a Christian AFTER DEATH.

This state has three degrees—

1. From the day of death—to the resurrection.

2. From the resurrection—to the pronouncing of the sentence.

3. After the sentence—which lasts eternally.

1. From the day of death—to the resurrection.

As soon as ever the regenerate man has yielded up his soul to Christ, the holy angels take her into their custody, and immediately carry her into heaven (Luke 16:22), and there present her before Christ—where she is crowned with a crown of righteousness and glory; not which she has deserved by her good works—but which God has promised of his free goodness to all those who, of love, have in this life sincerely served him, and sought his glory (Heb. 1:14; 12:24; 2Tim. 4:8; Rev. 2:10; 1Pet. 5:4.)

Oh, what joy will it be to your soul, which was accustomed to see nothing but misery and sinners on earth—now to behold the face of the God of glory! Yes, to see Christ welcoming you, as soon as you are presented before him by the holy angels, with a "Well done! Welcome good and faithful servant! Enter into your Master's joy!" And what joy will this be, to behold thousand thousands of cherubim, seraphim, angels, thrones, dominions, principalities, powers! (Col. 1:6; Eph. 1:21) All the holy patriarchs, priests, prophets, apostles, martyrs, confessors, and all the souls of your Christian friends, parents, husbands, wives, children, and the rest of God's saints, who departed before you in the true faith of Christ—standing before God's throne in bliss and glory!

If the Queen of Sheba, beholding the glory and majesty of Solomon, was ravished therewith, and broke out and said, "Happy are your men, happy are these your servants, which stand ever before you, and hear your wisdom," (1Ki. 10:8), how shall your soul he ravished to see herself, by grace, admitted to stand with this glorious company, to behold the blessed face of Christ, and to hear all the treasures of his divine wisdom! How shall you rejoice to see so many thousand thousands welcoming you into their heavenly society (Lk. 15); for as they all rejoiced at your conversion—so will they now be much more joyful to behold your coronation—and to see you receive your crown, which was reserved for your coming (1Tim. 4:8).

There the crown of martyrdom shall be put on the head of the martyr, who for Christ's gospel's sake endured torments. The crown of piety shall be put on the head of the head of them who sincerely professed Christ. The crown of good works shall be put on the head of the good alms-giver's head, who liberally relieved the poor. The crown of incorruptible glory shall be put on the head of the head of those who by their preaching and good example have converted souls from the corruption of sin, to glorify God in holiness of life. Who can sufficiently express the rejoicing of this heavenly company, to see you thus crowned with glory (Rev. 7:9), arrayed with the shining robes of righteousness, and to behold the palm of victory put into your hand!

O what thanks and praise will you have, that, by God's grace, you have escaped all the miseries of the world, all the snares of the devil, all the pains of hell—and received eternal rest and happiness! For there everyone rejoices as much in another's happiness as in his own, because he shall see him as much loved of God as himself; yes, they have as many distinct joys as they have copartners of their joy. And in this joyful and blessed state, the soul rests with Christ in heaven until the resurrection; when the number of her fellow-servants and brethren shall have been fulfilled, which the Lord terms 'but a little season' (Rev. 7:9.)

II. The second degree of man's blessedness after death, is from the resurrection—to the pronouncing of the final sentence. For at the last day:

1. The elementary heavens, earth, and all things therein, shall be dissolved, and purified with fire (2Pet. 2:10,12,13.)

2. At the sound of the last trumpet, or voice of Christ, the Archangel—the very same bodies which the elect had before (though turned to dust and earth) shall arise again (1Cor. 15:52; 1Th. 4:16; Jn. 5:28; Ezek. 37:7,8, &c.). And in the same instant, every man's soul shall re-enter into his own body, by virtue of the resurrection of Christ, their head (Rom. 8:11; Phil. 3:10,11; 1Th. 4:14), and be made alive and rise out of their graves, as if they did but awake out of their beds of sleep (Rom. 5:17; 1Cor. 15:22). And howsoever tyrants bemangled their bodies in pieces, or consumed them to ashes—yet shall the elect find it true at that day, that not a hair of their head has perished (Mt. 19:30.)

3. They shall come forth out of their graves, like so many Josephs out of prison; or Daniels out of the lion's den; or Jonahs out of the whale's belly; (1Th. 4:14; Dan. 6:23).

4. All the bodies of the elect being thus made alive, shall arise in that perfection of nature whereunto they would have attained by their natural temperament, if no impediment had hindered (Isa. 65:20); and in that vigor of age that a perfect man is—at about thirty-three years old, each in their proper gender. To which divines think the apostle alludes when he says, "Until we all come unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the age (or stature) of the fullness of Christ," Eph. 4:13. Whatever imperfection was before in the body (as blindness, lameness, crookedness) shall then be done away. Jacob shall not halt, nor Isaac be blind, nor Leah weak-eyed, nor Mephibosheth lame. For if David would not have the blind and lame to come into his house, much less will Christ have blindness and lameness to dwell in his heavenly habitation. Christ made all the blind to see, the mute to speak, the deaf to hear, the lame to walk—who came to him to seek his grace on earth—much more will he heal all their imperfections whom he will admit to his glory in heaven! Among those tribes, there is not one feeble; but the lame man shall leap as a deer, and the mute man's tongue shall sing (Ps. 105:37; Isa. 35:6). And it is very probable, that seeing God created our first parents, not infants, or old men—but of a perfect age or stature—the new creation from death, shall every way be more perfect than the first frame of man, from which he fell into the state of the dead. Neither is it like that time of infancy—being imperfection; or of old age—being corruption—which are not consistent with the state of a perfect glorified body.

5. The bodies of the elect being thus raised, shall have four most excellent and supernatural qualities. "So it is with the resurrection of the dead: Sown in corruption, raised in incorruption; sown in dishonor, raised in glory; sown in weakness, raised in power; sown a natural body, raised a spiritual body." (1 Corinthians 15:42-44)

(1.) They shall be raised in power, whereby they shall forever be freed from all wants and weakness, and enabled to continue, without the use of food, drink, sleep, and other former helps (1Cor. 15:43).

(2.) In incorruption, whereby they shall never be subject to any manner of imperfections, blemish, sickness, or death (1Cor. 15:41; Isa. 65:20.)

(3.) In glory, whereby their bodies shall shine as bright as the sun in the skies (Mt. 13:43; Lk. 9:31;) and which being made transparent, their souls shall shine through far more glorious than their bodies (1Th. 4:17).

There are three glimpses of which glory were seen—first, in Moses' face (Ex. 34:29); secondly, in the Transfiguration (Mt. 17:2); thirdly, in Stephen's countenance (Acts 6:15). These are three instances and assurances of the glorification of our bodies at that glorious day. Then shall the mourner lay aside his mourning garments, and put on the robe of the King's Son, Jesus. Then every true Mordecai (who mourned under the sackcloth of this corrupt flesh) shall be arrayed with the King's royal apparel (Est. 6:4), and have the royal crown set upon his head, that all the world may see what shall be done to him whom the King of kings delights to honor. If now the rising of one sun makes the morning so glorious, how glorious shall that day be, when innumerable millions of millions of bodies of saints and angels shall appear more glorious than the brightness of the sun—the body of Christ in glory surpassing all!

(4.) In agility, whereby our bodies shall be able to ascend, and meet the Lord at his glorious coming in the air, as eagles flying unto their blessed homes. To this agility of the glorious bodies of the saints the prophet alludes, saying, "They shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint," Isa. 40:31. And to this state may that saying of Wisdom be referred—"In the time of their vision they shall shine, and run to and fro, as sparks among the stubble."

And in respect of these four qualities, Paul calls the raised bodies of the elect spiritual (1Cor. 15:46)—for they shall be spiritual in qualities—but the same still in substance.

And howsoever sin and corruption make a man, in this state of mortality, lower than angels, yet surely, when God shall thus crown him with glory and honor (Ps. 8:5), man shall be superior to angels. For are they spirits? So is man also in respect of his soul—yes, more than this, they shall have also a spiritual body, fashioned like unto the glorious body of the Lord Jesus Christ (Phil. 3:21)—an honor which he never gave to angels—and in this respect man has a prerogative above them. Nay, they are but spirits appointed to be ministers unto the elect (Heb. 1:14; Ps. 91:11); and as many of them, who at the first disdained this office, and would not keep their first estate, were for their pride hurled into hell (Jude, verse 6; 2Pet. 2:4). This lessens not the dignity of angels—but extols the greatness of God's love to his redeemed people.

But as for all the elect, who at that second and sudden coming of Christ shall be found still living—when the fire that shall burn up the corruption of the world, and the works therein—shall in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, burn up the dross and corruption of their mortality, and make them immortal bodies. This change shall be unto them, instead of death.

Then shall the soul with joyfulness greet her body, saying—O we meet again, my dear sister! How sweet is your voice! How lovely is your countenance—even after having lain hidden so long in the clefts of the rocks, and in the secret places of the grave! (Song 2:14). You are indeed a habitation fit, not only for me to dwell in—but such as the Holy Spirit thinks fit to reside in—as his temple, forever. The winter of our affliction is now past; the storm of our misery is blown over and gone. The bodies of our elect brethren appear more glorious than the lily-flowers on the earth; the time of singing hallelujah is come, and the voice of the trumpet is heard in the land. You have been my associate in the Lord's labors, and companion in persecutions and wrongs, for Christ and his gospel's sake. Now shall we enter together into our Master's joy. As you have borne with me the cross—so shall you now wear with me the crown. As you have with me sowed plenteously in tears—so shall you reap with me abundantly in joy. O blessed, ever blessed be that God, who, when yonder reprobates spent their whole time in pride, fleshly lusts, eating, drinking, and profane vanities—gave us grace to join together in watching, fasting, praying, reading the scriptures, keeping his commandments, hearing sermons, receiving the holy communion, relieving the poor, exercising, in all humility, the works of piety to God, and walking uprightly in all our duties towards men. You shall, henceforth, hear no mention of your sins—for they are forgiven and covered (Ps. 32:1). But every good work which you have done for the Lord's sake—shall be rehearsed and rewarded.

Cheer up your heart, for your Judge is flesh of your flesh, and bone of your bone (Dan. 9:21). Lift up your head, behold these glorious angels, like so many Gabriels, flying towards us, to tell us that the day of our redemption has come (Lk. 21:28), and to convey us in the clouds to meet our Redeemer in the air. behold, they are at hand! Arise, therefore, my dove, my love, my lovely one—and come away (Song 2:1,3). And so, like young deer (verse 17), they run with angels towards Christ, over the trembling 'mountains of division'.

6. Both living and dead being thus revived and glorified, shall instantly, by the ministry of God's holy angels (Lk. 17:34,35,36), be gathered from all the quarters and parts of the world, and caught up together in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air (1Th. 4:17), and so shall come with him, as a part of his glorious retinue—to judge the reprobates and evil angels (1Cor. 6:1,3). The twelve apostles shall sit upon twelve thrones (next Christ) to judge the twelve tribes, who refused to hear the gospel preached by their ministry. And all the saints, in honor and order, shall stand next to them, as judges also, to judge the evil angels, and earthly-minded men (1Cor. 6:2,3). And as some of them received grace in this life to be more zealous for his glory, and more faithful in his service, than others—so shall their glory and reward be greater than others in that day (Rev. 22:12; 2Cor. 5:6.)

The place where they shall be gathered unto Christ, and where Christ shall sit in judgment, shall be in the air (1Th. 4:17), over the valley of Jehoshaphat, by Mount Olivet, near to Jerusalem, eastward from the temple, as it is probable, for four reasons—

1. Because the holy scripture seems to intimate so much in plain words—"I will gather all nations into the valley of Jehoshaphat and plead with them there. Cause your mighty one to come down, O Lord—let the heathen be awakened and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat; for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about," Joel 3:1,2,11,12. Jehoshaphat signifies, 'the Lord will judge'. And this valley was so called from the great victory which the Lord gave Jehoshaphat and his people over the Ammonites, Moabites, and inhabitants of Mount Seir (2Chr. 20); which victory was a type of the final victory which Christ, the Supreme Judge, shall give his elect over all their enemies in that place at the last day, as also the Jews interpret it—(see Zech. 14:4,5; Ps. 51:1,2)—all agreeing that the place shall be thereabouts.

2. Because that as Christ was thereabouts crucified and put to open shame, so over that place his glorious throne should be erected in the air, when he shall appear in judgment to manifest his majesty and glory. For it is fit that Christ should in that place judge the world with righteous judgment—where he himself was unjustly judged and condemned.

3. Because that seeing the angels shall be sent to gather together the elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other, it is most probable that the place where they shall be gathered to shall be near Jerusalem and the valley of Jehoshaphat; which geographers describe to be in the midst of the surface of the earth.

4. Because the angels told the disciples that as they saw Christ ascend from Mount Olivet (Acts 1:11), which is over the valley of Jehoshaphat, so he shall in like manner come down from heaven.

5. Lastly, When Christ is set in his glorious throne, and all the many thousands of his saints and angels, shining more bright than so many suns in glory, sitting around him (Mt. 25:31; Jude, verse 14; Rev. 20:11,12), and the body of Christ in glory and brightness surpassing them all; the reprobates being separate, and remaining beneath upon the earth (for the right hand signifies a blessed, the left hand a cursed estate), Christ will first pronounce the sentence of bliss upon the elect (Mt. 19:28;) and he will thereby increase the grief of the reprobate who shall hear it, and he will show himself more prone to mercy than to judgment (Ps. 145:9; Isa. 28:21). And thus, from his throne of majesty in the air, he will, in the sight and hearing of all the world, pronounce unto his elect, "Come you who are blessed by my Father—inherit the kingdom prepared for you, from the beginning of the world! For I was hungry, etc." Mt. 25:34.

Come you. Here is our blessed union with Christ, and, by him, with the whole Trinity.

Blessed. Here is our absolution from all sins, and our complete endowment with all grace and happiness.

By my Father. Here is the author from whom proceeds our felicity.

Inherit. Here is our adoption.

The kingdom. Behold our birth-right and possession.

Prepared. See God's fatherly care for his chosen ones.

From the foundation of the world. O the free, eternal, unchangeable election of God!

How much are those souls bound to love God, who of his mere good will and pleasure chose and loved them before they had done either good or evil (Rom. 9:3).

For I was hungry, etc. O the goodness of Christ, who takes notice of all the good works of his children to reward them! How great is his love to poor Christians, who takes every work of mercy done to them for his sake, as if it had been done to himself!

Come you to Me, in whom you have believed before you saw me (Jn. 20:29; 1Pet. 1:8), and whom you have loved and sought for, with so much devotion, and through so many tribulations. Come now from labor to rest; from disgrace to glory; from the jaws of death to the joys of eternal life! For my sake you have been railed upon, reviled, and cursed (Mt. 5:11); but now it shall appear to all those cursed Esaus, that you are the true Jacobs that shall receive your heavenly Father's blessing; and blessed shall you be. Your fathers, mothers, and nearest kindred, forsook and cast you off for my truth's sake which you maintained (Ps. 27:10; Mt. 19:29); but now my Father will be unto you a father, and you shall be his sons and daughters forever (Jn. 20:17; 2Cor. 6:18). You were cast out of your lands and livings, and forsook all for my sake and the gospel's—but that it may appear that you have not lost your gain—but gained by your loss, instead of an earthly inheritance and possessions, you shall possess with me the inheritance of my heavenly kingdom; where you shall be for love—sons; for birth-right—heirs; for dignity—kings; for holiness—priests; and you may be bold to enter into the possession of it now, because my Father prepared and kept it for you ever since the first foundation of the world was laid!

Immediately after this sentence of absolution of sin and benediction of blessings, every believer receives his crown, which Christ the righteous Judge puts upon their heads, as the reward which he has promised, of his grace and mercy—to the faith and good works of all those who loved his appearing (2Tim. 4:8; 1Pet. 5:4). Then everyone taking his crown from his head, shall lay it down, as it were, at the feet of Christ; and prostrating themselves, shall with one heart and voice, in a heavenly manner and harmony, say, "Praise, and honor, and glory, and power, and thanks, be unto you, O blessed Lamb, who sits upon the throne! You were killed, and have redeemed us to God by your blood—out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation—and have made us unto kings and priests our God, to reign with you in your kingdom for evermore. Amen." (Rev. 4:10)

Then shall they sit upon their thrones as judges of the reprobates, and evil angels (1Cor. 6:1,2,3, &c.; Mt. 19:13), by approving, and giving testimony to the righteous sentence and judgment of Christ the Supreme Judge.

After the pronouncing of the reprobates' sentence and condemnation, Christ will perform two solemn actions—

1. The presenting of all the elect unto his Father. "Behold, O righteous Father, these are they whom you have given me—I have kept them, and none of them is lost. I gave them your word, and they believed it, and the world hated them, because they were not of the world, even as I was not of the world. And now, Father, I desire that those whom you have given me, be with me where I am—that they may behold my glory, which you have given me; and that I may be in them, and you in me, that they may be made perfect in unity—that the world may know that you have sent me, and that you have loved them—as you have loved me." (Jn. 17:12,14,23,24.)

2. Christ shall deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father. That is, he shall cease to execute his office of mediatorship (1Cor. 25:24); whereby, as he is King, Priest, Prophet, and Supreme Head of the Church, he suppressed his enemies, and ruled his faithful people by his spirit, word, and sacraments—so that his kingdom of grace over his church in this world ceasing—he shall rule directly in his kingdom of glory evermore. Not that the dignity of his manhood shall be anything diminished; but that the glory of his Godhead shall be more manifested—so that as he is God, he shall from thenceforth in all fullness, without all external means—rule all in all.

From this tribunal-seat, Christ shall arise, and with all his glorious company of elect angels and saints, he shall go up triumphantly, in order and array, unto the heaven of heavens, with such a heavenly noise and music, that now may that song of David be truly verified, "God is gone up with a triumph, the Lord with the sound of the trumpets. Sing praises to God, sing praises, sing praises to our King, sing praises—for God is the King of all the earth, he is greatly to be exalted." (Ps. 47:4,5,6,8) And that marriage-song of John, "Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him; for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his wife has made herself ready. Hallelujah; for the Lord God Omnipotent reigns." (Rev. 19:6,7)

The third and last degree of the blessed state of a regenerate man after death, begins after the pronouncing of the sentence, and lasts eternally without all end.

III. Meditations of the blessed state of a Regenerate Man in HEAVEN.

Here my meditation dazzles, and my pen falls out of my hand; the one being not able to conceive, nor the other to describe, that most excellent bliss, and eternal weight of glory (2Cor. 4:17; Rom. 8:18)—whereof all the afflictions of this present life are not worthy to be compared—which all the elect shall with the blessed Trinity enjoy, from that time that they shall be received with Christ, as joint-heirs (Rom. 8:17) into that everlasting kingdom of joy.

Notwithstanding, we may take a glimpse thereof. The holy scriptures thus set forth (to our capacity) the glory of our eternal and heavenly life after death, in four respects—

1. Of the place of heaven.

2. Of the object of heaven.

3. Of the privileges of the elect in heaven.

4. Of the effects of these privileges.

1. The PLACE of heaven.

The place is the heaven of heavens, or the third heaven, called paradise (Ps. 19:5; 2Cor. 12:24); where Christ (in his human nature) ascended far above all visible heavens. The bridegroom's chamber (Ps. 19:6; Mt. 25:10), which by the skies, as by an azured curtain spangled with glittering stars, and glorious planets, is hidden, that we cannot behold it with these corruptible eyes of flesh. The Holy Spirit condescending to our weakness, describes the glory of that place (which no man can estimate) by such things as are most precious in the estimation of man; and therefore likens it to a great and holy city, named the heavenly Jerusalem (Rev. 21), where only God and his people who are saved, and written in the Lamb's book (verses 24 & 27), do inhabit. This heavenly city is all built of pure gold, like unto clear glass or crystal (verses 11,18,19,20); the walls of jasper-stone—the foundations of the walls garnished with twelve kinds of precious stones, having twelve gates, each built of one pearl (verse 21)—three gates towards each of the four corners of the world (verse 13), and at each gate an angel (verse 12), as so many guards, that no unclean thing should enter into it (verse 27). The city is laid out in a square (verse 16), therefore perfect—the length, the breadth, and height of it are equal, 12,000 furlongs every way; therefore glorious and spacious. Through the midst of her streets ever runs a pure river of the water of life, as clear as crystal (Rev. 22:1); and on the other side the river is the tree of life (verse 2), ever growing, which bears twelve kinds of fruits, and gives fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree are health to the nations.

There is therefore no place so glorious by creation, so beautiful with delectation, so rich in possession, so comfortable for habitation. For there, the king is Christ—the law is love—the honor is verity—the peace is felicity—the life is eternity. There is light without darkness, mirth without sadness, health without sickness, wealth without want, credit without disgrace, beauty without blemish, ease without labor, riches without rust, blessedness without misery, and consolation that never knows an end. How truly may we cry out with David, of this city, "Glorious things are spoken of you, O you city of God!" Ps. 87:3. And yet all these things are spoken but according to the weakness of our capacity. For heaven exceeds all this in glory, so far, as that no tongue is able to express, nor heart of man to conceive, the glory thereof, as witnesses Paul (2Cor. 12:4; 1Cor. 2:5), who was in it, and saw it. O let us not then dote so much upon our present wooden cottages, and houses of moldering clay, which are but the tents of ungodliness, and habitation of sinners; but let us look rather, and long for this heavenly city, whose builder and maker is God (Heb. 11:10); which he, who is not ashamed to be called our God, has prepared for us (Heb. 11:6).

2. The OBJECT of heaven.

The blissful and glorious object of all intellectual and reasonable creatures in heaven is the Godhead, in Trinity of Persons, without which there is neither joy nor felicity; but the very fullness of joy consists in enjoying the same.

This object we shall enjoy two ways—

1. By a beatific vision of God.

2. By possessing an immediate communion with this divine nature.

The beatifical vision of God is that alone, which can content the infinite mind of man. For everything tends to its center. God is the center of the soul—therefore, like Noah's dove, she cannot rest nor joy until she return and enjoy him.

All that God bestowed upon Moses could not satisfy his mind, unless he might see the face of God (Ex. 3:13)—therefore the whole church prays so earnestly, "God be merciful unto us, and cause his face to shine upon us." (Ps. 67:1, and 80:1). When Paul once had seen this blessed sight, he ever after counted all the riches and glory of the world (in respect of it) to be but rubbish (Phil. 3:8,11); and all his life after was but a sighing out, "I desire to be dissolved, and to be with Christ." (Phil. 1:23). And Christ prayed for all his elect in his last prayer, that they might obtain this blessed vision—"Father, I will that those whom you have given me be where?—even where I am. To what end?—that they may behold my glory." (Jn. 17:14).

If Moses' face did so shine, when he had been with God but forty days, and seen but his back parts (Ex. 34:29; 33:31), how shall we shine, when we shall see him face to face forever, and know him as we are known, and as he is! (1Cor. 13:12; 2Cor. 3:18; 1Jn. 3:2) Then shall the soul no longer be termed Marah, bitterness—but Naomi, beautifulness; for the Lord shall turn her short bitterness to an eternal beauty and blessedness (Ruth 1:20.)

The second means to enjoy this object is, by having an immediate and an eternal communion with God in heaven. This we have—first, by being, as members of Christ, united to his manhood, and as by the manhood, personally united to the Word, we are united to him, as he is God; and, by his Godhead, to the whole Trinity. Reprobates at the last day see God, as a just Judge, to punish them; but, for lack of this communion, they shall have neither grace with him, nor glory from him. For lack of this communion, the devils, when they saw Christ, cried out, "What have we to do with you, O Son of the most high God?" (Mk. 5:7) But, by virtue of this communion, the penitent soul may boldly go and say unto Christ, as Ruth unto Boaz (Ruth 3:9), "Spread, O Christ, the wing of the garment of your mercy over your handmaid; for you are my kinsman." This communion God promised Abraham, when he gave himself for his great reward (Gen. 15:1) And Christ prays for his whole church to obtain it (Jn. 17:20,21). This communion Paul expresses in one word, saying, that God shall be all in all to us (1Cor. 15:28). Indeed, God is now all in all to us; but by means, and in a small measure. But in heaven, God himself immediately, in fullness of measure, without all means, will be unto us all the good things that our souls and bodies can wish or desire. He himself will be salvation and joy to our souls, life and health to our bodies, beauty to our eyes, music to our ears, honey to our mouths, perfume to our nostrils, light to our understandings, contentment to our wills, and delight to our hearts.

And what can be lacking, where God himself will be the soul of our souls? Yes, all the strength, wit, pleasures, virtues, colors, beauties, harmony, and goodness, that are in men, animals, fish, fowls, trees, herbs, and all creatures—are nothing but sparkles of those things which are in infinite perfection in God. And in him we shall enjoy them in a far more perfect and blessed manner. He himself will then supply their use—nay, the best creatures which serve us now shall not have the honor to serve us then. There will be no need of the sun nor of the moon to shine in that city; for the glory of God does light it (Rev. 21:23). No more will there be any need or use of any creature, when we shall enjoy the Creator himself.

When, therefore, we behold anything that is excellent in any creatures, let us say to ourselves—How much more excellent is he who gave them this excellency! When we behold the wisdom of men, who overrule creatures stronger than themselves; outrun the sun and moon in discourse, prescribing many years before in what courses they shall be eclipsed; let us say to ourselves—how admirable is the wisdom of God, who made men so wise! When we consider the strength of whales and elephants, the tempest of winds, and terror of thunder, let us say to ourselves—how strong, how mighty, how dreadful is that God, who makes these mighty and fearful creatures! When we taste things that are delicately sweet, let us say to ourselves—O how sweet is that God from whom all these creatures have received their sweetness! When we behold the admirable colors which are in flowers and birds, and all the lovely beauty of nature, let us say—How beautiful is that God that made these so lovely!

And if our loving God has thus provided us so many excellent delights, for our passage through this Bochim (Jud. 2:5), or valley of tears, what are those pleasures which he has prepared for us, when we shall enter into the palace of our Master's joy! How shall our souls be there ravished with the love of so lovely a God! So glorious is the object of heavenly saints—so amiable is the sight of our gracious Savior!

3. Of the PRIVILEGES which the Elect shall enjoy in Heaven.

By reason of this communion with God, the elect in heaven shall have four superexcellent privileges:

1. They shall have the kingdom of heaven for their inheritance (Mt. 25; 1Pet. 1:4), and they shall be free citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem (Eph. 2:19; Heb. 12:22). Paul, by being a free citizen of Rome (Acts 21:26), escaped whipping; but they who are once free citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem, shall ever be freed from the whips of eternal torments. For this freedom was bought for us, not with a great sum of money (Acts 22:28)—but with the precious blood of the Son of God (1Pet. 1:18).

2. They shall all be kings and priests (Rev. 5:10; 1Pet. 2:9; Rom. 16:10)—spiritual kings, to reign with Christ, and to triumph over Satan and the world; and spiritual priests, to offer to God the spiritual sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving for evermore (1Pet. 2:5; Heb. 13:15). And therefore they are said to wear both crowns and robes. O what a comfort is this to poor parents that have many children! If they breed them up in the fear of God, and to be true Christians, then are they parents to so many kings and priests.

3. Their bodies shall shine as the brightness of the sun in the skies, like the glorious body of Christ (Mt. 13:43), which shined brighter than the sun at noon, when it appeared to Paul (Phil. 3:21; Acts 12:6). A glimpse of which glorious brightness appeared in the bodies of Moses and Elijah, transfigured with our Lord in the holy mount (Lk. 9:30; Mk. 9:5). Therefore, says the apostle, it shall rise a glorious body; yes, a spiritual body, not in substance—but in quality (1Cor. 15:43,44)—preserved by spiritual means, and having (as an angel) agility to ascend or descend. O what an honor is it, that our bodies (falling more vile than carrion) should thus arise in glory, like unto the body of the Son of God! (1Th. 4:1)

4. Lastly, They (together with all the holy angels) there keep, without any labor to distract them, a perpetual Sabbath, to the glory, honor, and praise of God, for the creating, redeeming, and sanctifying the church; and for his power, wisdom, justice, mercy, and goodness, in the government of heaven and earth. When you hear a sweet concert of music, meditate how happy you shall be, when, with the choir of heavenly angels and saints, you shall sing a part in that spiritual Hallelujah, in that eternal blessed Sabbath, where there shall be such variety of pleasures, and satiety of joys—as neither know tediousness in doing, nor end in delighting.

4. The EFFECTS of those privileges which the Elect shall enjoy in Heaven.

From these privileges there will arise to the elect in heaven, five notable effects—

1. They shall know God with a perfect KNOWLEDGE (1Cor. 1:10), so far as creatures can possibly comprehend the Creator. For there we shall see the Word, the Creator; and in the Word, all creatures that by the Word were created. The most excellent creatures in this life, are but as a dark veil (1Cor. 23:12; 2Cor. 3:16) drawn between God and us; but when this veil shall be drawn aside, then shall we see God face to face, and know him as we are known. We shall know the power of the Father, the wisdom of the Son, the grace of the Holy Spirit, and the indivisible nature of the blessed Trinity. And in him we shall know, not only all our friends who died in the faith of Christ—but also all the faithful that ever were, or shall be. For,

(1.) Christ tells the Jews that they shall see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God (Lk. 13:28); therefore we shall know them,

(2.) Adam in his innocency knew Eve to be bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh (Gen. 2:23), as soon as he awakened; much more then shall we know our kindred, when we shall awake perfected and glorified in the resurrection.

(3.) The apostles knew Christ after his resurrection, and the saints which rose with him, and appeared in the holy city (Mt. 27:53).

(4.) Peter, James, and John, knew Moses and Elijah in the transfiguration (Mt. 17:4); how much more shall we know one another, when we shall be all glorified?

(5.) Dives knew Lazarus in Abraham's bosom (Lk. 16:23;) much more shall the elect know one another in heaven.

(6.) Christ says that the twelve apostles shall sit upon twelve thrones (Mt. 19:28), to judge (at that day) the twelve tribes (1Cor. 6:2,3); therefore they shall be known, and consequently the rest of the saints.

(7.) Paul says, that at that day we shall know as we are known of God (1Cor. 13:11); and Augustine out of this place comforts a widow, assuring her, that as in this life she saw her husband with external eyes, so in the life to come she should know his heart, and what were all his thoughts and imaginations. Then, husbands and wives, look to your actions and thoughts; for all shall be made manifest one day (See 1Cor. 4:5).

(8.) The faithful in the Old Testament, are said to be gathered to their fathers (Gen. 25:35; 2Ki. 22); therefore the knowledge of our friends remains.

(9.) Love never fails (1Cor. 13:8); therefore knowledge, the ground thereof, remains in another life.

(10.) Because the last day shall be a declaration of the just judgment of God, when he shall reward every man according to his works (Rom. 2:5; Rev. 22:12; Eccl. 12:14; Rom. 2:16); and if every man's work be brought to light, much more the worker. And if wicked men shall account for every idle word (Mt. 12:36), much more shall the idle speakers themselves be known. And if the people be not known, in vain are the works made manifest. "Therefore," says the apostle, "every man shall appear, to give an account for the work that he has done in his body," 1Cor. 5:10. Though the respect of diversities of degrees and callings in magistracy, ministry, and business shall cease; yes, Christ shall then cease to rule, as he is Mediator (1Cor. 15:14,28), and rule all in all, as he is God equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

The greatest knowledge that men can attain to in this life (1Cor. 13:11) comes as far short of the knowledge which we shall have in heaven, as the knowledge of a child that cannot yet speak plain, comes of the knowledge of the greatest philosopher in the world. They who thirst for knowledge, let them long to be students of this university. For all the light by which we know anything in this world, is nothing but the very shadow of God; but when we shall know God in heaven, we shall in him know the manner of the work of the creation, the mysteries of the work of our redemption; yes, so much knowledge as a creature can possibly conceive and comprehend of the Creator and his works. But while we are in this life, we may say with Job, "How little a portion hear we of him?" Job 26:14.

2. They shall LOVE God with as perfect and absolute a love as possibly a creature can do. The manner of loving God, is to love him for himself (1Cor. 13:12); the measure is to love him without measure. For in this life (knowing God but in part) we love him but in part; but when the elect in heaven shall fully know God, then they will perfectly love God—and for the infinite causes of love, which they shall know to be in Him, they shall be infinitely ravished with the love of Him.

3. They shall be filled with all kinds of divine PLEASURES. "At your right hand," says David, "there are pleasures for evermore," Ps. 16:11; "Yes, they shall drink," says he, "out of the river of pleasures," Ps. 36:8. For as soon as the soul is admitted into the actual fruition of the beatifical essence of God, she has all the goodness, beauty, glory, and perfection of all creatures, in all the worlds united together, and at once presented to her in the sight of God. If any delight in beauty, the fairest beauty is but a dusky shadow compared to that. He that delights in pleasures shall there find infinite varieties, without either interruption of grief, or distraction of pain. He that loves honor shall there enjoy it, without the disgrace of cankered envy. He that loves treasure shall there possess it, and never be beguiled of it. There they shall have knowledge void of all ignorance, health that no sickness shall impair, and life that no death can determine. How happy, then, shall we be, when this life is changed, and we translated there!

4. They shall be replenished with an unspeakable JOY. "In your presence," says David, "is the fullness of joy." (Ps. 16:11) And this joy shall arise chiefly from the vision of God, and partly from the sight of all the holy angels, and blessed souls of just and perfect men, who are in bliss and glory with them; but especially from the blissful sight of Jesus, the Mediator of the New Testament, our Emmanuel, God made man. The sight of Jesus will be the chief cause of our bliss and joy. If the Israelites in Jerusalem so shouted for joy, that the earth rang again, to see Solomon crowned, how shall the elect rejoice in heaven, to see Christ, the true Solomon, adorned with glory! If John the Baptist, at his presence, did leap in his mother's womb for joy, how shall we exult for joy, when he will be with us in heaven! If the wise men rejoiced so greatly to find him a babe, lying in a manger, how great shall the joy of the elect be, to see him sit, as a king, in his celestial throne! If Simeon was glad to see him an infant, in the temple, presented by the hands of the priest, how great shall our joy be to see him a king, ruling all things, at the right hand of his Father! If Joseph and Mary were so joyful to find him in the midst of the doctors in the temple, how glad shall our souls be, to see him sitting, as Lord, among angels in heaven! This is that joy of our Master, which, as the apostle says, "the eye has not seen, the ear has not heard, nor the heart of man can conceive." (1Cor. 2:5; Mt. 25:21); which, because it cannot enter into us—we shall enter into it.

5. Lastly, They shall enjoy this blissful and glorious state FOREVER—therefore it is termed everlasting life (Jn. 17:3). And Christ says, that our joy shall no man take from us. All other joys, be they ever so great, have an end. Ahasuerus' feast lasted an hundred and eighty days (Est. 1:3)—but he, and it, and all his joys are gone. For mortal man to be assumed to heavenly glory, to be associated to angels, to be satiated with all delights and joys—but for a time, were much—but to enjoy them forever, without intermission or end, who can hear it, and not admire? All the saints of Christ, as soon as they felt once but a true taste of these eternal joys, counted all the riches and pleasures of this life to be but loss and rubbish, in comparison to that (Phil. 3:8). And therefore, with incessant prayers, fasting, alms-deeds, tears, faith, and holy living, they labored to ascertain themselves of this eternal life; and for the love of it, they willingly either sold or parted with all their earthly goods and possessions (Acts 2:45).

Christ calls Christians merchants (Lk. 14), and eternal life a precious pearl, which a wise merchant will purchase, though it cost him all that he has (Mt. 13).

Alexander hearing the report of the great riches of the eastern country, divided immediately among his captains and soldiers, all his kingdom of Macedonia. Hephæstion asking him, What he meant in so doing? Alexander answered, That he preferred the riches of India (whereof he hoped shortly to be master) before all that his father Philip had left him in Macedonia. And should not Christians, then, prefer the eternal riches of heaven, so greatly renowned (which they shall enjoy before long), before the corruptible things of this world, which last but for a season?

Abraham and Sarah left their own country and possessions, to look for a city whose builder and maker is God (Heb. 11:10,15,16); and therefore bought no land, but only a place of burial. David preferred one day with God, more than a thousand elsewhere; yes, to be a door-keeper in the house of God, rather than to dwell in the richest tabernacles of wickedness (Ps. 134:10). Elijah earnestly besought the Lord to receive his soul into his kingdom (1Ki. 19:4), and went willingly, though in a fiery chariot, there (2Ki. 2:11). Paul, having once seen heaven, continually desired to be dissolved, that he might be with Christ (Phil. 1:23). Peter, having espied but a glimpse of that eternal glory on the Mount, wished that he might dwell there all the days of his life, saying, "Master, it is good for us to be here." (Mt. 17:4) How much better does Peter now think it to be in heaven itself! Christ, a little before his death, prays his Father to receive him into that excellent glory (Jn. 17:5). And the apostle witnesses, that "for the joy that was set before him, he endured the cross, and despised the shame." Heb. 11:2. If a man did but once see those heavenly joys (if it were possible), he would endure an hundred deaths to enjoy that happiness but one day.

Augustine says, that he would be content to endure the torments of hell to gain this joy, rather than to lose it. Ignatius, Paul's scholar, being threatened, as he was going to suffer, with the cruelty of torments, answered, with great courage of faith, "Fire, gallows, beasts, breaking of my bones, quartering of my members, crushing of my body, all the torments of the devil together—let them come upon me, so I may enjoy my Lord Jesus, and his kingdom." The like constancy showed Polycarp, who could not by any terrors of any kind of death, be moved to deny Christ in the least measure. With the like resolution Basil answered his persecutors, when they would terrify him with death—"I will never," said he, "fear death, which can do no more than restore me to him that made me."

If Ruth left her own country, and followed Naomi, her mother-in-law, to go and dwell with her in the land of Canaan (which was but a type of heaven), only upon the fame which she heard of the God of Israel (though she had no promise of any portion in it), how should you follow Christ into the heavenly Canaan, where God has given you an eternal inheritance, assured by an holy covenant, made in the word of God, signed with the blood of his Son, and sealed with his Spirit and sacraments! This shall be your eternal happiness in the kingdom of heaven, where your life shall be a communion with the blessed Trinity; your joy, the presence of the Lamb; your exercise, singing; your song, hallelujah; your companions, saints and angels—where youth flourishes—and never becomes old; where beauty lasts—and never fades; where love abounds—and never cools; where health continues—and never slacks; and life remains—and never ends!

Meditations directing a Christian how to apply to himself without delay, based on the above knowledge of God and himself.

You see, therefore, O man, how wretched and cursed your state is, by corruption of nature, without Christ! Insomuch, that as the scriptures liken wicked men to lions, bears, bulls, horses, dogs, and such like savage creatures, in their lives—it is certain that the condition of an unregenerate man is in his death more vile than a dog, or the filthiest creature in the world. For the beast, being made but for man's use, when he dies, ends all his miseries with his death; but man, endued with a reasonable and an immortal soul, made after God's image, to serve God, when he ends the miseries of this life, must account for all his misdeeds, and begin to endure those miseries that never shall know end. No creature but man is responsible to yield at his death—an account for his life. The brute creatures, not having reason, shall not be required to make any account for their deeds—and good angels, though they have reason, yet shall they yield no account, because they have no sin. And as for evil angels, they are without all hope already condemned, so that they need not make any further accounts—man only in his death must be God's accountant for his life.

On the other side you see, O man, how happy and blessed your state is, being truly reconciled to God in Christ; in that, through the restoration of God's image, and your restitution into your sovereignty over other creatures, you are in this life little inferior to the angels, and shall be in the life to come equal to the angels—yes, in respect of your nature, exalted by a personal union to the Son of God, and by him to the glory of the Trinity, superior to the angels, a fellow-brother with angels in spiritual grace and everlasting glory.

You have seen how glorious and perfect God is, and how that all your chief bliss and happiness consists in having an eternal communion with him.

Now, therefore, O impenitent sinner! in the affections of Christ Jesus I entreat you, nay, I implore you, as you desire your own salvation, seriously to consider with me, how false, how vain, how vile—are those things which still retain and chain you in this wretched and cursed state wherein you live, and which hinder you from the favor of God, and the hope of eternal life and happiness!