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sceing him; for in the sense now given, we understand the text.


God is an immaterial being. This principle is unanimously established both by the light of nature, and by revealed religion. An immaterial being cannot be seen by material eyes. This is another incontestable principle. It must be, then, with the mind that we shall see God as he is,' that is to say, we shall 'know' him. It must be the mind, therefore, that must be rendered like him.' This consequence immediately follows from both our principles; and this consequence is one ground of our reflections.


God is an infinite being. This also is a principle established by both natural and revealed religion. The soul of man is finite, and, to whatever perfection it may be advanced, it will always continue to be so. This is another indisputable principle. It would imply a contradiction to affirm that an infinite Spirit can be seen, or fully known, in a strict literal sense, as it is,' by a finite spirit. The human soul therefore, being a finite spirit, can never perfectly see, that is, fully comprehend, as he is,' God, who is an infinite spirit. The proposition in our text then necessarily re quires some restriction. This inference arises immediately from the two principles now laid down, and this second consequence furnishes another ground of our reflections.

But, although it would be absurd to suppose that God, an infinite spirit, can be fully known by a finite human spirit, yet there is no absurdity in affirming, God can communicate himself to man in a very close and intimate manner, proper to transform him. This may be done four ways. There are, we conceive, four sorts of communications; a communication of ideas, a communication of love, a communication of virtue, and a communication of felicity. In these four ways we shall see God,' and by thus seeing him as he is, we shall be like him' in these four respects. We will endeavour, by discussing each of these articles, to explain them clearly; and here all your attention will be necessary, for without this our whole discourse will be nothing to you


but a sound destitute of reason and sense.

The first communication will be a communication of ideas. We shall see God as he is,' because we shall participate of his ideas; and by seeing God as he is, we shall become like him, because the knowledge of his ideas will rectify ours, and will render them like his. To know the ideas of an imperfect being is not to participate his imperfections. an accurate mind may know the ideas of an inaccurate mind without admitting them. But to know the ideas of a perfect spirit is to participate his perfections; because to know his ideas is to know them as they are, and to know them as they are is to perceive the evidence of them. When, therefore, God shall communicate his ideas to us, we shall be like him,' by the conformity of our ideas to his. What are the ideas of God? They are clear in their nature; they are clear in their images, they are perfect in their degree; they are complex in their relations; and they are complete in their number. In all these respects the ideas of God are infinitely supe

rior to the ideas of men.


1. Men are full of false notions. Their ideas are often the very reverse of the objects, of which they should be clear represen tations. We have false ideas in physics, false ideas in polity, false ideas in religion. We have false ideas of honour and of disgrace, of felicity and of misery. Hence we often mistake fancy for reason, and shadow for substance. But God has only true ideas. His idea of order is an exact representation of order. His idea of irregularity exactly objects. He will make us know his ideas, and answers to irregularity; and so of all other by making us know them he will rectify ours.

2. Men have often obscure ideas. They see only glimmerings. pearances rather than demonstrations. They They perceive apare placed in a world of probabilities, and, in consideration of this state, in which it has pleased the Creator to place them, they have more need of a course of reasoning on a new plan, to teach them how a rational creature ought to conduct himself, when he is surrounded with probabilities, than of a course of reasoning and determining, which supposes him surrounded with demonstration. But God has only clear ideas. No veil covers objects; no darkness obscures his ideas of them. When he shall appear, he will com municate his ideas to us, and they will rectify ours, he will cause the scales that hide objects from us, to fall from our eyes; and he will dissipate the clouds which prevent our clear conception of them.

3. Men have very few ideas perfect in degree. They see only the surface of objects. Who, in all the world, has a perfect idea of matter? Who ever had perfect ideas of spirit? Who could ever exactly define either? Who was ever able to inform us how the idea of motion results from that of body; how the idea of sensation results from that of spirit? Who ever knew to which class space belongs? It would be very easy, my brethren, to increase this list, would time permit; and who are incapable of understanding these were I not prevented by knowing, that they, articles, have already in their own minds pronounced them destitute of all sense and ideas comprehend the whole of all objects. But God has perfect ideas. His He will communicate to us this disposition of mind, and will give us such a penetration as shall enable us to attain the knowledge of the essence of beings, and to contemplate them in their whole.


4. Men have very few ideas complex in their relations. I mean, their minds are so limited, that, although they may be capable of combining a certain number of ideas, yet they are confounded by combining a greater number. We have distinct ideas of units, and we are capable of combining a few: but as soon as we add hundred to hundred, mil lion to million, the little capacity of our souls is overwhelmed with the multitude of these objects, and our weakness obliges us to sink under the weight. We have a few ideas of motion. We know what space a body, to which a certain degree of velocity is com municated, must pass through in a given time: but as soon as we suppose a greater degree of motion, as soon as we imagine

an augmentation of velocity to this greater degree; as soon as we try to apply our knowledge of moving powers to those enormous bodies, which the mighty hand of God guides in the immensity of space, we are involved in perplexity and confusion. But God conceives infinite combination. He will make us participate, as far as our minds can, his ideas; so that we shall be able to give a large expanse to our meditation without any fear of confusing ourselves.

5. In fine, the ideas of mankind are incomplete in their number Most men think, there are only two sorts of beings, body and spirit; and they have also determined, that there can be only two. A rash decision in itself: but more rash still in a creature so confined in his geniusas man. But the ideas of God are complete. He knows all possible beings. He will make us participate this disposition of mind, and from it may arise ideas of myriads of beings, on which now we cannot reason, because now we have no ideas of them. A communication of ideas is the first way in which God will make himself known to us. This will be the first trait of our resemblance of him. We shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.'


The second communication of God to a beatified soul is a communication of love. We cannot possibly partake of the ideas of God without participating his love. To participate the ideas of God is to possess just notions. To possess just notions is to place each object in the rank that is due to it; consequently, we shall regard the chief being as the only object of supreme love. What is necessary to answer the idea, that an upright soul forms of the lovely? The lovely object must answer three ideas the idea of the great and marvellous; the idea of the just; and the idea of the good: and, if I may venture to speak so, of the beatifying. Now, it is impossible to know God without entertaining these three ideas of him alone; consequently it is impossible to know God without loving him. And this is the reason of our profound admiration of the morality of the gospel. The morality of the gospel is the very quintessence of order. It informs us, no creature deserves supreme love. It makes this principle the substance of its laws. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind,' Matt. xxi. 37.

How worthy of supreme love will this God appear, how fully will he answer the idea of the great and the marvellous, when we shall see him as he is!' He will answer it by his independence. Creatures exist: but they have only a borrowed being. God derives his existence from none. He is a selfexistent Being. He will answer our idea of the magnificent by the immutability of his nature. Creatures exist: but they have no fixed and permanent being. They arise from nothing to existence. Their existence is rather variation and inconstancy than real being. But God, but I the Lord,' says he of himself, I change not,' Mal. iii. 6. The same yesterday, to-day, and for ever,' Heb. xiii. 8. He is, as it were, the fixed point, on which all creatures revolve, while he is nei.

ther moved by their motion, shaken by their action, nor in the least imaginable degree altered by all their countless vicissitudes. He will answer the idea of the great and marvellous by the efficiency of his will. Creatures have some efficient acts of volition: but not of themselves. But go back to that period in which there was nothing. Figure to yourselves those immense voids, which preceded the formation of the universe, and represent to yourselves God alone. He forms the plan of the world. He regulates the whole design. He assigns an epoch of duration to it in a point of eternity. This act of his will produces this whole universe. Hence a sun, a moon, and stars. Hence earth and sea, rivers and fields. Hence kings, princes, and philosophers. He spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast. The heavens were made by the word of the Lord, and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth,' Ps. xxxiii. 9. God then, perfectly answers our idea of the grand and the marvellous. He answers also the idea of the just.


It was he who gave us an idea of justice or order. It was he who made the greatest sacrifices to it. It was he who moved heaven and earth to re-establish it, and who testified how dear it was to him by sacrificing the most worthy victim that could possibly suffer, I mean his only Son.


Finally, God will perfectly answer our idea of the good and the beatifying. Who can come up to it except a God, who opens to his creatures an access to his treasures? A God, who reveals himself to them in order to take them away from their 'broken cisterns,' and to conduct them to the fountain of living waters,' Jer. ii. 13. A God, whose eternal wisdom cries to mankind, Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money, come ye; buy and eat; yea come; buy wine and milk without money, and without price. Wherefore do you spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisficth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me; hear, and your soul shall live,' Isa. lv. 1—3.

We cannot, then, know God without loving him. And thus a communication of ideas leads to a communication of love. But this communication of love will render us like the God whom we admire. For the property of love in a soul inflamed with it, is to transform it in some sort into the object of its admiration. This is particularly proper to divine love. We love God, because we know his attributes; when we know his attributes, we know we can no better contribute to the perfection of our being than by imitating them, and the desire we have to perfect our being will necessitate us to apply wholly to imitate them, and to become like him.

Let us pass to our third consideration. The third communication of God to a beatified soul is a communication of his virtues. To love and to obey, in Scripture-style, is the same thing. 'Ifye love me,keep my commandments,' is a well known expression of Jesus Christ,


John xiv. 15. He who saith I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him,' is an expression of our apostle, 1 John ii. 4. This is not peruliar to the love of God. To love and to obey, even in civil society, are usually two things which have a very close connexion. But, as no creature has ever excited all the love, of which a soul is capable, so there is no creature to whom we have rendered a perfect obedience. It is only in regard to God, that there is an inseparable connexion between obedience and love. For when we love God, because we know him, we are soon convinced, that he cannot ordain any thing to his creature but what is useful to him; when we are convinced he can ordained nothing to be performed by his creature but what is useful to him, it becomes as impossible not to obey him as it is not to love ourselves. To love and obey is one thing, then, when the object in question is a being supremely lovely These are demonstrations; but to obey God, and to keep his commandments, is to be like God.

Rather than include himself in his own felicity, he went out of himself in the works of creation. He formed creatures capable of his favours. But these very perfections, which inclined him to do good, prevent his rendering impure and criminal creatures hap py. He is of purer eyes than to behold evil,' Hab. i. 13. This is the cause of the innumerable penal evils, under which we groan. For this reason there are miserable people. Remove this obstacle, and God will follow his inclination to bounty. All creatures capable of being happy would be rendered perfectly happy. In heaven this obstacle will be removed.

Moreover, we may offer, if I may be allowto speak so, a more evangelical reason to confirm this article. One part of the covenant of grace between the eternal Father and the Son, when the Son became incarnate, was, that the Father should restore them to happiness, whom the Son should redeem. Hence this adorable Son of God, in the sacerdotal prayer, which he offered to the Father the evening before he offered himself a sacrifice to death on the cross, repeats this clause of the covenant; 'I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory,' Jolm xviii 6. 24.

The commandments of God are formed on the idea of the divine perfections. God has an idea of order; he loves it; he follows it; and this is all he ever has required, and all he ever will require, of his intelligent creatures. He requires us to know order, to love it, to follow it. An intelligent creature, therefore, who shall be brought to obey the commandments of God will be like God. Be ye perfect, as your Father, which is in heaven, is perfect,' Matt. v. 48. 'Be ye holy, for I am holy,' 1 Pet. i. 16. Every man, that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself, even as he is pure,' 1 John iii. 3. These precepts are given us here on earth, and we obey them imperfectly now but we shall yield a perfect obedience, to them in heaven, when we shall see him as he is. Here our apostle affirms, Whosoever sinneth, hath not seen him, neither known him,' ver. 6; that is to say, ho who suffers sin to reign over him, does not know God; for, if he knew God, he would have just ideas of God, he would love him; and, if he loved him, he would imitate him. But in heaven we shall sec, and know him, we shall not sin, we shall imitate him, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.'




Lastly, The fourth communication of the Deity with beatified souls is a communication of felicity. In an economy of order, to be holy and to be happy are two things very closely connected. Now we are in an economy of disorder. Accordingly, virtue and felicity do not always keep company together, and it sometimes happens, that for having hope in Christ we are,' for a while, of all men most miserable,' 1 Cor. xv. 19. But this economy of disorder must be abolished. Order must be established. St. Peter, speaking of Jesus Christ, says, 'The heavens must receive him until the times of the restitution of all things,' Acts iii. 21. When all things shall be restored, virtue and happiness will be closely united, and, consequently, by participating the holiness of God, we shall participate his happiness. God is supremely good. He is naturally inclined by his own perfections to do good.

God is, then, inclined by the nature of his perfections, and by the spirit of the covenant made with Jesus Christ, to render like kimself, in regard to his felicity those, who are already made like him in regard to his ideas, in regard to his love,and in regard to his holiness; and this is the fourth sense of the proposition in our text, We shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.' This is the fourth communication of God to glorified souls. He will communicate his felicity to them. What constitutes the felicity of God will constitute the felicity of glorified souls.

God is happy in contemplating his works. He approves all the plans that his intelligence has conceived, and which his wisdom and power have so gloriously executed, He seeth every thing that he hath made, and approves it as very good,' Gen. i. 31. God will discover these works to glorified souls. He will display before them all the pompous decorations of nature. He will direct their attention to the symmetry, the magnificence, the number of those luminous bodies, those flaming spheres, which appear to our weak eyes at present as only so many sparks.

God is happy in contemplating his providence, and the marvellous manner in which he governs the universe. God will discover this perfect government to glorified souls. Then will appear the folly of the many objections, which at present perplex our minds on the darkness of Providence; then will the many injurious suspicions vanish, which we have entertained concerning the government of the world; then will all the sophisms be confounded, that rash human minds have formed concerning the manner in which God has distributed good and evil.

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God is happy in the contemplation of his, designs. The active spirit of the first great cause will diversify his works infinitely, and for ever; he judges of what may be as of what is, and determines of the possible world as of that which actually exists, that all is very good. He will communicate these designs to glorified souls. Shall I hide from Abraham the thing which I do?' said God once to that patriarch, Gen. xviii. 17. Agreeably to which, Jesus Christ said to his apostles, Henceforth I call you not servants: but I And, what deserves our particular regard, have called you friends; for the servant because it is most admirable, is, these four knoweth not what his Lord doth: but all communications are connected together, and things that I have heard of my Father, I have flow from one another. Because we shall made known unto you,' John xv. 15. God'see God as he is, we shall be like him.' Be will hide nothing from glorified souls. He cause we shall know his ideas, we shall be will open to them inexhaustible treasures of possessed of a rectitude of thought like his. wisdom and knowledge. He will display in Because we shall possess a rectitude of their sight all that would result from them. thought like his, we shall know that he is He will anticipate the future periods of eter- supremely lovely, and cannot but love him. nity (if we may speak of future periods when Because we cannot help loving him, we canwe speak of eternity), and he will show them not help imitating his holy conduct, as holievery moment of this infinite duration signal-ness will appear the perfection of our nature. ized by some emanation of his excellence. Because we shall imitate his holiness, we shall participate his happiness; for he is naturally inclined by his own perfections to render those intelligent beings happy like himself, who like him are in a state of order. The three last communications are, then, immediate consequences of the first, and the first is the ground of the rest; we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.' Then will all the divine plan of human redemption by Jesus Christ be fully executed. Then all the privileges of our adoption, and of the love that elevated us to a condition so noble, and glorious, will clearly appear. 'Behold! what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God! Beloved, now are we, the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know, that when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.'

This is the plan of God in regard to man: a plan diametrically opposite to that of Satan. The plan of Satan is to render man unlike to God. Satan has been too successful in the execution of his design. A liar and a murderer from the beginning,' John viii. 44; he seduced our first parents; he made them fall from truth to error, from error to vice: already he has robbed us of the glory of our first innocence; already he has darkened our understandings: already succeeded in making us find that pleasure in vice, which ought to follow virtue only; and, having communicated his vice to us, he has made us partake of his miseries; hence the air becomes infected, hence the ocean becomes a grave to mariners, hence animals rebel against him who was originally appointed to be their lord and king, hence passion, revenge and hatred, which begin a hell upon earth, hence maladies which consume our days in pain, and death, that most formidable weapon of the devil, to put a period to them, and hence the lake which burneth with tire and brimstone,' Rev. xxi. 8, in which this wicked spirit will strive to alleviate the pain of his own punishment by the infernal pleasure of having compan ions of his misery.

God is happy in certain sentiments, which may probably bear some analogy to what we call in ourselves sensations. At least, we may assure ourselves, to be rendered capable of pure sensations would contribute very much to the perfection and happiness of our souls. Sensations lively, affecting and delicious, we know, contribute to our present felicity. They who have affected to refine and spiritualize our ideas of felicity, and to free them from every thing sensitive, I think, have mistaken the nature of spirit. God will impart to glorified souls all the sentiments of which they are capable. He will make them feel something more harmonious than the best compositions of music; something more delicious than the most exquisite tastes: and so of the rest. God is happy in the society of the spirits which surround him. He is the centre of all their felicity. He accepts their adoration and homage. He reflects their services to him on themselves. God will receive glorified souls into this society. He will unite us to angels and seraphims, thrones, dominions, and cherubims, and to all other happy intelligent beings, which are without number, and of infinite variety. Their felitity will make our felicity, as our happiness will make their happiness. There will be joy in heaven over' many repenting sinners,' Luke xv. 7.


we shall know him. We shall see him as he is, not literally and fully, for God is an infinite Spirit, who cannot be fully comprehended by infinite beings; but we shall know him, as much as it will be possible for us to know him, and our resemblance to him will bear a proportion to our knowledge of him He will communicate himself to us. There will be four communications between God and glorified souls; a communication of ideas, of love, of holiness, and of happiness.


But this subject carries me beyond all due bounds. The imagination of a hearer, less warmed than that of a preacher, cannot extend itself so far as he would conduct it. Only recollect, then, and unite the ideas, which we have been mentioning. We know, when he shail appear, we shall see him as he is.' This passage, we say, seems to offer two sonses. The first regards the human nature of Jesus Christ. We shall see' the glorious body of Jesus Christ as it is;' because our bodies, being rendered glorious like his, will have faculties relative to his, and proper to enable us to perceive it.


The other sense regards the Deity. We shall see' God, not with the eyes of our bodies, but with the eyes of the mind, that is to say,

presence, there are any children of the devil! But the frightful in a supposition does not take away the possibility of it.

Perhaps the question may have been fully answered already by some of our hearers. What idea must we form of a man, who em ploys all his talents to enervate truth, to attack religion, to render doubtful the being of a God; who attributes the creation of the world to blind chance; and brings into question the reality of a state of future rewards and punishments? What idea must be form ed of a man, who employs himself wholly in increasing his fortune and establishing his family, how iniquitous soever the means may be which contribute to his end; who robs the widow and the orphan, embroils the state, elevates to the most eminent posts in society men who hardly deserve to live; who would subvert this whole republic, and erect a throne for himself and his family on its ruins? What must we think of a man who daily blasphemes the God of heaven, and incessantly pours out murmurs and charges against the Governor of the universe? What can we think of a man, who wallows in debauchery, who, in spite of those penalties of sin, which he bears about in his body, in spite of the infection and putrefaction that his infamous lasciviousness has caused in his body, indemnifies himself for his present pains by repeating his former pleasures, and yet searches among the ruins of his mortal body some portion, that, having escaped the punishment of his crimes, may yet serve his unbridled concupiscence? Were such men descended from the most illustrious ancestors; had they, like Lucifer himself, a heavenly origin; did their power equal that of the prince of the air; were their attendants as numerous as the legions of that miserable spirit; could their riches and affluence raise winds and storms, that would shake the whole world; had they in their hands the sword of justice, and were they considered as gods upon earth, and children of the Most High, Ps. lxxxii. 7. I should not be afraid to say, while they abandon themselves to these excesses, I detest and abhor them as devils.

The plan of the Son of God is opposite to that of Satan: for this purpose was the Son of God manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil,' 1 John iii. 8. These words almost immediately follow the text. Already this adorable Son has reconciled mankind to God by rendering the deity accessible, by taking on him the nature, and the innocent infirmities of men; already he has appeased by his sacrifice the just wrath of a God, who to punish men for imitating Satan was about to deliver them up to him; and already has he given the death-wound to the empire of this usurper of the rights of God; 'having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in the cross,' Col. ii. 15. The Son of God has already elevated the Christian above the vicissitudes of life, by detaching him from life, and by teaching him the blessed art of deriving advantages from his miseries; already has he dissipated the darkness of error, by causing the light of revelation to rectify all the abuses that even the greatest philosophers made of the light of nature; already has he attacked human depravity at its centre, and separated the souls of the elect from the seeds of sin, by causing 'his seed to remain in them, so that they cannot sin, because they are born of God,' as our apostle expresses it, 1 John iii. 9; already he has imparted to their consciences that peace of God which passeth all understanding,' Phil. iv. 7, and by which they are 'raised up together, and made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus,' Eph. iii. 6; already has he made them partakers of the divine nature,' 2 Pet. i. 4, and he has already' changed them into the same image from glory to glory by his Spirit,' 2. Cor. iii. 18. He is preparing to finish his work. Shortly he will make that second appearance, which is the object of the hopes of his churches, and for which his children cry, Come Lord Jesus! come quickly!' Rev. xxii. 20. Shortly he will reduce to dust these organs, this 'flesh and blood, which cannot inherit the kingdom of God,' 1 Cor. xv. 50. Shortly he will raise these bodies from the dust with new faculties. Shortly he will remove the veils that hide the essence of the Creator from us, and will show it to us as it is, so that we may be rendered like it. These are two very different plans, my brethren; the one is the plan of God, and the other that of the devil; the one is the design of the enemy of mankind, the other that of their Redeemer. Into which of these two plans do you propose to enter? Into the plan of God, or into that of the devil? Which of these two beings do you wish to resemble? Would you be like God, or would you have the features of Satan? This questiou may perhaps be already answered by some of you. Great God! to what are we reduced, to be obliged to suppose, at least to have great reason to fear, that in this church, built for the assembly of saints, and for the edifying of the body of Christ, 'Eph. iv. 21, there are any imitators of the devil! To what are we reduced to be obliged to suppose, at least to have just grounds of fear, that in this assembly, composed of children of God, who come to appear in his


But you, my brethren, you, who ought to be the most holy part of the church; you, who pretend to glory in bearing the name of Christian, and who aspire after all the privi leges and recompenses of Christianity; into which of the two plans do you propose to enter? Into the plan of Satan, or into that of God? Which of the two beings do you wish to resemble? Would you resemble God, or would you bear the features of the devil? Let not the mortifying in this question prevent your examination of it. It is far better to acknowledge a mortifying truth, than to persist in a flattering falsehood.

The purpose of God, as we just now said, is to render us like himself, by communicat ing his knowledge, by imparting sound ideas to us. Do you enter into this design? Are you labouring to form this feature; you, who neglect the cultivation of your minds; you, who suffer yourselves to be enslaved by prejudice; you, who, so far from being teachable, are angry when we attempt to remove your errors, and, consider those as your enemies

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