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THE RECAPITULATION AND RE-UNION OF THE SEVEN PROMISES OF THE HOLY GHOST.
These promises have no doubt a unity in them, as have the seven styles, or titles, of our Bishop and Shepherd, and are intended, by successive efforts, to express the completeness of that blessed estate, which in the world to come he is about to construct for all who believe in the name of Jesus, and are willing to follow him through his various battles with the devil, the world, and the flesh, and with patience to enter into his victory over them. These seven promises contain the true account of the future estate and blessedness of the righteous, of that heaven concerning which people take liberty to indulge so many airy imaginations. And he who would write truly concerning such things ought to make these promises his text, and express himself in terms measured according to the rules of strict interpretation, and sound commentary of these seven words of the Holy Ghost: and this we will do, by the grace of our God.
1. The first promise is thus expressed, being accurately translated from the original: " To the vanquisher, I will give to him to eat from off the tree of life which is in midst of the paradise of God." This supposeth life to be already given; otherwise how should we either fight the battle or gain the victory of the Lord, or need the nourishment of the tree of life? This life of the Holy Ghost we receive in our regeneration, whenever we are enabled of the Father to believe on his dear Son. And it is in its very essence everlasting and indestructible. The state of the saint in this world is one form of this life, in which it feeds on the flesh and blood of Jesus, the disem. bodied state is another form of it, during which it enjoys the vision of God, and sleepeth in Jesus. The resurrection state is another form of it, where it riseth to the enjoyment of the seven-fold blessing. Through each and all of these states Christ ministers life to all his members in the substance of the Holy Ghost, without destroying their personal responsibility, preserving their union to himself all unbroken by the accidents of life, by the corruption of the grave, or by the gates of hades (hell). Being brought from the dead, they shall have the tree of life to eat from. This
is the same tree of life which was anciently planted in the paradise of God, and from which man was prevented, when he had become the subject of death; because he would have eaten from it an eternity of death, or because mortality was not worthy to partake of such a food. But when mortality shall be swallowed up of life, then shall the raised saints be admitted to that nourishment, which was of old ordained for Adam, along with the other trees of the garden, excepting the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But of this tree alone, of all the rest, had not man the wisdom to eat; or else it is reasonable to believe it might have wrought in him that other sort of life, which we now receive from the flesh and blood of the sacrifice of Christ. Through diet of flesh we have received that life, which man at first might have obtained from off that blessed tree of life. Not that the tree would have given it, but that it would have awakened it within his capacious soul, just as the other tree awoke the consciousness of good and evil. But now having obtained the source of life out of the grave of Christ, we have it nourished upon this tree, which I take to be the symbol of the productive creation, all springing and blooming with fragrant and delicious fruit for the children of men. For creation is not to cease then from its sweet office of serving the table of its monarch man; nor is man to stride over its fields, or hover on angels' wings above them, without blessing them, and recognizing his humble origin from the dust of the ground. And no animal shall then be slaughtered, for death shall be no more, but the animals shall lend their various gifted shoulders to man's service; and the earth, all productive, shall teem forth from her bosom, the nourishment of all life, from the life of man to that of the lowest of the animal creation. Man shall suspend the creation. from his bodily sense; and all creation shall minister right lovingly to the sense of man. And thus shall that link anciently joined, and still continued under sore distres of both, be blessed for ever, when the creation also shall be delivered from its bondage into the glorious liberty of the sons of God, for whose manifestation it laboureth and groaneth, yet meekly and patiently waiteth. But not of every tree of the garden, still less of any shrub or green herb, shall we eat, but only of that tree, which beareth
twelve manners of fruit, and the leaves are for the healing of the nations; the fruit for life, the leaves for medicine. In which distinction of royal dainties, I do at once see the pre-eminency of the risen man, of the victorious warrior, and also his tender care for the rest of the living ones in flesh as well as for the whole lower creation, and vegetable world. As from the king's table go forth services to the various household; and from the tables of our city corporations all manner of broken meats for the poor, and even the very dogs do eat of the crumbs which fall from their master's table; even so, in that divine order which is yet to be established throughout creation, the princes whose habitation is the new Jerusalem shall take the fruits of the tree of life, and refresh their life, feed high their giant strength, and sustain their bodily vigour even at the spring-tide fulness; and the leaves they shall disperse abroad throughout the earth, in order to preserve the bodies of the mortal people from all diseases, who, so long as they will be beholden to these physicians of nature, and this balm of Gilead, shall go on well, flourishing in health and strength and happiness. All this and much more of benefit and enjoyment, of good and gracious ministry, of bodily refreshment and delectation, is promised to the victors in the prospect of which flow of bliss and feast of soul they are called upon to bear hunger and thirst, poverty and misery, fasting and weakness in this wilderness; and to contend most manfully against the allurements of the sense, the service of the world, and the base bondage of the sensual appetite; to fight and to overcome. But man's former estate of blessedness, when he possessed the tree of life and all other trees of the garden, fell away from him like the shadow of a pleasant dream, when one awaketh in the height of a mortal disease. And he was sent forth into the wide world, from that region of delight, which God had planted for him in Eden. Death came between him and all things. Well worthy is it then of the Spirit's goodness and grace, to still man's fear of any such second catastrophe with assurances, such as of old he gave to Noah, when he promised that no second deluge should cover the earth. And this the Spirit promiseth next in these words: "The vanquisher shall not be injured of the death the second."
2. The first death hath its course upon all flesh created of God, the second death shall not have its course upon all flesh, as it shall be raised by Christ, these vanquishers being specially exempted therefrom. Whether any others shall be exempted we inquire not, but they surely shall. Now, because that second death is indeed the condition of utter destruction from the presence of God, wherein lie sweltering in the lake of fire, all evil persons, and all evil angels, and all evil things, the dross and the corruption, death and hades, and whatever besides hath arisen in arms against God's goodly and blessed creation of life; we are given to understand, that to these vanquishers of pain and sorrow and peril and sword and death and hell, there remaineth neither sorrow, nor pain, nor death, nor tears nor crying, nor any other evil accident whatsoever, but only joy, blessedness, and glory. And because this evil which is warded off from them is entitled the second death, and not the second mortal life; because that state
shall not have any power or liberty or bounds of action, but shall remain for ever close prisoned up in vain impotency, and fruitless strugglings for an existence, and incessant toil after something that cannot be realized, we argue; from this interdict of all such evils from the estate of the vanquishers, that they shall never know weariness, nor exhaustion of their strength, nor be capable of hurt or injury in their members, nor be pressed beyond the limits of their stength, nor in any other way whatever expe rience any discord between the bounds of their will and the bounds of their habitation. Death, or the fruit of death, or the precursor of death, shall in them have no representation whatever, but, contrariwise, a continual stream of unwearied and inexhaustible life. And, moreover, it is signified that this blessed estate shall know no change to the worse; be liable to no temptation, be overcome of no evil, be hindered or hampered in no good. There shall be such sweet harmony from the will within, where God ever worketh, throughout all the spheres of reasonable speech, bodily activity, outward work, and external im pressions, as shall make all nature like one many-stringed harp, obedient to the touch of the master mind of man. No cogitations of evil, nor fearful recollections of evil past, nor anticipations of evil to come, nor injury, nor injustice,
nor possibility of change; positive good, and the absence of all positive evil. What an estate worthy of God to design from the first, of Christ to bring out from the ocean of sin, of the Holy Spirit to constitute, of man to strive after, to fight for, spurning death, remembering that he who loseth his life shall gain it. Blessed hope of my soul! For which I will bear man's rebuke, disease and sorrow and pain, and man's oppression, and death, and all things contradictory and evil. Because I have a state in reserve for me which cannot be hurt of the second death. Security, safety, and freedom from contingency are before me. What need I fear this loathsome world, or care about man's terror, who can only kill the body? but God can destroy both soul and body in hell-fire for ever.
3. Such is the manifest and open blessedness of life, the perfect and entire security from death, which the vanquishers are promised in those first two words of the Spirit, but his third admonition ascendeth into a loftier and more mysterious region of being, "To the vanquisher I will give to him to eat from (not from off, as in the first, but simply from, anо not ) that manna which hath been hidden, and I will give to him a white pebble, and upon the pebble a new name having been written, which no man knoweth save the receiver," This is the nature of
their hidden life and unknown name or being, for the name always denotes the nature of the being. The first gave us the outward and ostensible form of their life, as the heads of creation. Eating off the tree of life in the midst of the paradise of God; dwelling with God in his own appropriate habitation, and feeding at his own table; they thence dispense according to their several needs and deservings, the blessings of goodness throughout the inferior creation. But they have another and a higher fountain of life, another and a higher region of being, which is expressed by the hidden manna that was laid up before the Lord in the golden pot, and eaten of no one, approached by no one save the high priest on the day of atonement. This aliment of an unearthly being shall then be ours, and ours alone, who dwell in the secret place of the Most High, under the wings of him who is the Almighty. There being arrived in that new Jerusalem, which is the holy of holies of creation, the dwelling place of God, the seat of his inaccessible light,