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my glorified Redeemer; and for what other spiritual beings, or intelligences, that are above me, little do I know: and God hath so ordered all his creatures, as that they are mutually ends and means for and to one another, though not in an equality, nor in the same respects. But whatever nearer ends there will be, I am sure that he who is the first efficient, and dirigent, will be the ultimate, final cause : and I shall be, in this respect, as near him as is due to the rank and order of my nature. I shall be useful to the ends which are answerable to my perfection.
Sect. 5. And if it be the honor of a servant to have an honorable master, and to be appointed to the most honorable work; if it be some honor to a horse above swine, or a worm, or fly, that he serveth more nearly for the use of man, yea, for a prince, will it not be also my advancement to be ultimately for God, and subordinately for the highest created natures, and this in such services as are suitable to my spiritual and heavenly state?
Sect. 6. For I am far from thinking that I shall be above service, and have none to do, for activity will be my perfection and my rest : and all such activity must be regular in harmony, and order of causes, and for its proper use; and what, though I know not now fully what service it is that I must do, I know it will be good and suitable to the blessed state which I shall be in; and it is enough that God and my Redeemer know it; and that I shall know it in due time, when I come to practise it; of which more afterward.
Sect. 7. The inordinate love of this body and present composition seduceth souls to think that all their use and work is for its maintenance and prosperity, and when the soul hath done that, and is separated from flesh, it hath nothing to do, but must lie idle, or be as nothing, or have no considerable work or pleasure. As if there were nothing in the whole world, but this little fluid mass of matter, for a soul to work upon; as if itself, and all the creatures, and God, were nothing, or no fit objects for a soul: and why not hereafter, as well as now: or, as if that which, in our compounded state, doth operate on and by its organs, had no other way of operation without them; as if the musician lost all his power, or were dead, when his instrument is out of tune, or broken, and could do nothing else but
play on that: as if the fiery part of the candle were annihilated, or transmutate, as some philosophers imagine, when the candle goeth out, and were not fire, and in action still: or as if that sunbearn which I shut out, or which passeth from our horizon, were annihilated, or did nothing, when it shineth not with us. Had it no other individual to illuminate, or to terminate its beams or action, were it nothing to illuminate the common air? Though I shall not always have a body to operate in and upon, I shall always have God, and a Savior, and a world of fellow-creatures; and when I shine not in this lantern, and see not by these spectacles, nor imaginarily in a glass, I shall yet see things suitable intuitively, and as face to face. That which is essentially life, as a living principle, will live; and that wbich is essentially an active, intellective, volitive principle, force, and virtue, will still be such while it is itself, and is not annihilated, or changed into another thing (which is not to be feared); and that which is such can never want an object till all things be annihilated.
Sect. 8. Reason assureth me, that were my will now what it should be, and fully obsequious herein to my understanding, to fulfil God's will would be the fulfilling of my own will, for my will should perfectly comply with his, and to please him perfectly would be my perfect pleasure : and it is the unreasonable adhesion to this body, and sinsul selfishness, which maketh any one think otherwise now. I am sure that my soul shall live, for it is life itself; and I am sure that I shall live to God, and that I shall fulfil and please his blessed will : and this is, as such, incomparably better than my felicity, as such : and yet so far as I am pleased in so doing, it will be my felicity.
Sect. 9. I begin now to think, that the strange love which the soul hath to this body (so far as it is not inordinate) is put into us of God, partly to signisy to us the great love which Christ hath to his mystical, political body, and to every member of it, even the least : he will gather all his elect out of the world, and none that come to him shall be shut out, and none that are given him shall be lost : as his flesh is to them meat indeed, and his blood is to them drink indeed, and he nourisheth them for life eternal : (his Spirit in them, turning the sacrament, the word, and Christ himself, in esse objectivo, as believ
ed in, into spirit and life to us, as the soul and our natural spirits turn our food into flesh, and blood, and spirits, which, in a dead body, or any lifeless repository, it would never be :) so as we delight in the ease and prosperity of our body, and each member, and have pleasure in the pleasant food that nourisheth it, and other pleasant objects which accommodate it; Christ also delighteth in the welfare of his church, and of all the faithful, and is pleased when they are fed with good and pleasant food, and when hereby they prosper : Christ loveth the church, not only as a man must love his wife, but as we love our bodies; and no man ever hated his own flesh. (Eph. v. 27, &c.) And herein I must allow my Savior the pre-eminence, to overgo me in powerful, faithful love : he will save me better from pain and death than I can save my body: and will more inseparably hold me to himself. If it please my soul to dwell in such a house of clay, and to operate on so mean a thing as flesh, how greatly will it, please my glorified Lord, to dwell with his glorified body, the triumphant church, and to cherish and bless each member of it! It would be a kind of death to Christ to be separated from his body, and to have it die. Whether Augustine, and the rest of the fathers, were in the right or no, who thought, that as our bodies do not only shed their hairs, but, by sickness and waste, lose much of their very flesh; so Christ's militant body doth not only lose hypocrites, but also some living, justified members; yet, certain it is, that confirmed members, and most certain, that glorified members, shall not be lost : heaven is not a place for Christ or us to suffer such loss in. And will Christ love me better than I love my body? Will he be more loth to lose me than I am to lose a member, or to die? Will he not take incomparably greater pleasure in animating and actuating me for ever, than my soul doth in animating and actuating this body ? O, then, let me long to be with him! And though I am naturally loth to be absent from the body, let me be by his Spirit more unwilling to be absent from the Lord; and though I would not be unclothed, had not sin made it necessary, let me not groan to be clothed upon with my heavenly habitation, and to become the delight of my Redeemer, and to be perfectly loved, by love itsell.
Sect. 10. And even this blessed receptivity of my soul, in terminating the love and delight of my glorified Head, must needs be a felicity to me. The insensible creatures are but beautified by the sun's communication of its light and heat; but the sensitives have also the pleasure of it. Shall my soul be senseless? Will it be a clod or stone? Shall that, which is now the form of man, be then more lifeless, senseless, or uncapable, than the form of brutes is now? Doubtless, it will be a living, perceiving, sensible recipient of the felicitating love of God, and my Redeemer; I shall be loved as a living spirit, and not as a dead and senseless thing, that doth not comfortably perceive it.
Sect. 11. And if I must rejoice with my fellow-servants that rejoice, shall I not be glad to think that my blessed Lord will rejoice in me, and in all his glorified ones ? Union will make his pleasure to be much mine; and it will be aptly said by him to the faithful soul, “Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” (Matt. xxv. 21.) His own ac tive joy will objectively be ours, as ours will be efficiently his, or from him. Can that be an ill condition to me, in which my Lord will most rejoice? it is best to him, and, therefore, best to me.
Sect. 12. And the heavenly society will joyfully welcome a holy soul. If there be now “ Joy in heaven among the angels, for one sinner that repenteth,” (Luke xv. 10,) who hath yet so little holiness, and so much sin ; what joy will there be over a perfected, glorified soul? Surely, if our angels there behold our Father's face, they will be glad, in season, of our company. The angels that carried Lazarus to Abraham's bosom, no doubt rejoiced in their work, and their success. And is the joy of angels, and the heavenly host, as nothing to me? Will not love and union make their joy to be my own; if love here must make all my friends and neighbors comforts to become my own? And as their joy, according to their perfection, is greater than any that I am now capable of, so the participation of so great a joy of theirs will be far better than to have my little separated apartment. Surely, that will be my best condition, which angels and blessed spirits will be best pleased in, and I shall rejoice most in that which they most rejoice in.
III. The constitutive Reasons from the intellective State. III. Sect. 1. Though the temper would persuade men, because of the case of infants in the womb, apoplectics, &c., that the understanding will be but an unactive power, when separated from these corporeal organs, I have seen before sufficient reasons to repel this temptation. I will suppose, that it will not have such a mode of conception, as it hath now by these organs; but, 1. The soul will be still essentially a vital, intellective substance, disposed to act naturally ; and that is to those acts which it is formally inclined to, as fire to illuminate and heat. And as it cannot die, (while it is what it is in essence,) because it is life itself, that is, the vital substance; so it cannot but be intellective, (as to an inclined power,) because it is such essentially ; though God can change, or annihilate any thing, if he would. 2. And it will be among a world of objects. 3. And it will still have its dependence on the first cause, and receive his continual, actuating influx. 4. And no man can give the least show of true reason, to prove that it shall cease sensation, (whether the sensitive faculties be in the same substance which is intellective, which is most probable, or in one conjunct, as some imagine,) though the species and modes of sensation cease, which are denominated from the various organs.
5. Yea, no man can prove that the departing soul doth not carry with it its igneous spirits, which, in the body, it did immediately actuate. If it were ever so certain that those Greek fathers were mistaken (as well as hypocrites,) who took the soul itself to be a sublime, intellectual fire.
And as to the objection some hold, that the soul pre-existed before it was in the body; others, and most, that it then received its first being : is the first were true, it would be true that the soul had its intellectual activity before, though the soul itself, incorporate, remember it not, because it operateth but ut forma hominis, (and its oblivion they take to be part of its penalty,) and they that think it a radius of the anima mundi vel systematis, must think that then it did intellectually animate hunc mundum, vel mundi partem : and to do so again, is the worst they can conjecture of it. As the rays of the sun, which