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works : and therefore there is no work of God which the saints in glory shall behold and contemplate, but what will be an occasion of rejoicing to them. God glorifies himself in the eternal damnation of ungodly men. God glorifies himself in all that he doth ; but he glorifies himself principally in his eternal disposal of his intelligent creatures, some are appointed to everlasting life, and others left to everlasting death.
The saints in heaven will be perfect in their love to God : their hearts will be all a fame of love to God, and therefore they will greatly value the glory of God, and will exceedingly delight in seeing him glorified. The saints highly value the glory of God here in this, but how much more will they so do in the world to come. They will therefore greatly rejoice in all that contributes to that glory. The glory of God will in their esteem be of greater consequence, than the welfare of thousands and millions of souls. Particularly,
(1.) They will rejoice in seeing the justice of God glorified in the sufferings of the damned. The misery of the damned, dreadful as it is, is but what justice requires. They in heaven - will see and know it much more clearly, than any of us do here. They will see how perfectly just and righteous their punishment is, and therefore how properly inflicted by the supreme Governor of the world. They will greatly rejoice to see justice take place, to see that all the sin, and wickedness that have been committed in the world, is remembered of God, and has its due punishment. The sight of this strict and immutable justice of God will render him amiable and adorable in their eyes. They will rejoice when they see him who is their Father and eternal portion, so glorious in his justice.
Then there will be no remaining difficulties about the justice of God, about the absolute decrees of God, or any thing pertaining to the dispensations of God towards men. But divine justice in the destruction of the wicked will then appear as light without darkness, and will shine as the sun without clouds, and on this account will they sing joyful songs of praise to God, as we see the saints and angels do, when God pours the vials of his wrath upon antichrist; Rev. xvi. 6-7. They sing joyfully to God on this account, tbat true and righteous are bis judgments; Rev. xix. 1-6. They seeing God so strictly just, will make them value his love the
Mercy and grace are more valuable on this account. The more they shall see of the justice of God, the more will they prize and rejoice in his love.
(2.) They will rejoice in it, as it will be a glorious mani
festation of the power and majesty of God. God will show bis own greatness in executing vengeance on ungodly men. This is mentioned as one end of the destruction of the ungodly ; IVhat if God, willing to show his wrath, and make his power known, endured with much long-suffering, the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction? God will hereby show how much he is above his enemies. There are many now in the world, who proudly lift up themselves against God.
There are many open opposers of the cause and interest of Christ. They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth. Then God will show his glorious power in destroying these enemies.
The power of God is sometimes spoken of as very glorious, as appearing in the temporal destruction of his enemies ; Exod. xv. 6. Thy right hand, O Lord, is become glorious in power ; thy right hand, O Lord, hath dashed in pieces the enemy. But how much more glorious will it appear in his triumphing over, and dashing in pieces at once, all his enemies, wicked men and devils together, all his haughty foes! The power of God will gloriously appear in dashing to pieces his enemies as a patter's vessel. Moses rejoiced and sang when he saw God glorify his power in the destruction of Pharaoh and his host at the Red Sea. But how much more will the saints in glory rejoice, when they shall see God gloriously triumphing over all his enemies in their eternal ruin ! Then it will appear how dreadful God is, and how dreadful a thing it is to disobey and condemn him. It is often mentioned as a part of the glory of God, that he is a terrible Gad. To see the majesty, and greatness, and terribleness of God, appearing in the destruction of his enemies, will cause the saints to rejoice; and when they shall see how great and terrible a being God is, bow will they prize his favour! how will they rejoice that they are the objects of his love! how will they praise him the more joyfully, that he should chuse them to be his children, and to live in the enjoyment of him!
It will occasion rejoicing in them, as they will have the greater sense of their own happiness, by seeing the contrary misery. It is the nature of pleasure and pain, of happiness and misery, greatly to heighten the sense of each other. Thus the seeing of the happiness of others tends to make men more sensible of their own calamities; and the seeing of the calamities of others tends to heighten the sense of our own enjoyments.
When the saints in glory, therefore, shall see the doleful state of the damned, how will this heighten their sense of the blessedness of their own state, so exceedingly different from it! When they shall see how miserable others of their fellowcreatures are, who were naturally in the same circumstances with themselves; when they shall see the smoke of their torment, and the raging of the flames of their burning, and hear their dolorous shrieks and cries, and consider that they in the mean time are in the most blissful state, and shall surely be in it to all eternity; how will they rejoice!
This will give them a joyful sense of the grace and love of God to them, because hereby they will see hew great a benefit they have by it. When they shall see the dreadful miseries of the damned, and consider that they deserved the same misery, and that it was sovereign grace, and nothing else, which made them so much to differ from the damned, that, if it had not been for that, they would have been in the same condition; but that God from all eternity was pleased to set his love upon them, that Christ hath laid down his life for them, and hath made them thus gloriously happy for ever, o how will they admire that dying love of Christ, which has redeemed them from so great a misery, and purchased for them so great happiness, and has so distinguished them from others of their fellow-creatures! How joyfully will they sing to God and the Lamb, when they behold this!
An Objection answered.
The objection is, “ If we are apprehensive of the damna, tion of others now, it in no wise becomes us to rejoice at it, but to lament it. If we see others in imminent danger of going to hell, it is accounted a very sorrowful thing, and it is looked upon as an argument of a senseless and wicked spirit, to look upon it otherwise. When it is a very dead time with respect to religion, and a very degenerate and corrupt time among a people, it is accounted a thing greatly to be lamented; and on this account, that at such times there are but few converted and saved, and many perish. Paul tells us, that he had great heaviness and continual sorrow in his heart, because so many of the Jews were in a perishing state: Rom. ix. 1, 2, 3. I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sor
heart. For I could wish that myself wore accursed from Christ, for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the fiesh. And if à neighbour die, aná his death be attended with circumstances which look darkly as to the state of his soul, we account it a sorrowful thing, because he hath left us no more comfortable grounds to hope for his salvation. Why, is it not ihen an unbecoming thing in the saints in glory to rejoice when they see the damnation of the ungodly?
Ans. 1. It is now our duty to love all men, though they are wicked; but it will not be a duty to love wicked men hereafter. Christ, by many precepts in his word, hath made it our duty to love all men. We are commanded to love wicked men, and our enemies and persecutors. But this command doth not extend to the saints in glory, with respect to the damned in hell. Nor is there the same reason that it should. We ought now to love all, and even wicked men; we know not but that God loves them. However wicked any man is, yet we know not but that he is one whom God loved from eternity; we know not but that Christ loved him with a dying love, bad his vame upon his heart before the world was, and had respect to him when he endured those bitter agonies on the cross. We know not but that he is to be our companion in glory to all eternity.
But this is not the case in another world. The saints in glory will know concerning the damned in hell, that God never Foved them, but that he hates them, and will be for ever hated of God. This hatred of God will be fully declared to them; they will see it, and will see the fruits of it in their misery Therefore, when God has thus declared his hatred of the damned, and the saints see it, it will be no way becoming in the saints to love them, nor to mourn over them. It becomes the saivts fully and perfectly to consent to wbat God doth, without any reluctance or opposition of spirit; yea, it becomes them to rejoice in erery thing that God sees meet to be done.
Ans. 2. We ought now to seek and be concerned for the salvation of wicked men, because now they are capable subjects of it. Wicked men, though they may be very wicked, yet are capable subjects of mercy. It is yet a day of grace with them, and they have the offers of salvation. Christ is as yet seeking their salvation ; he is calling upon them, inviting and wooing them; he stands at the door and knocks. He is using many means with them, is calling them, saying, Turn ye, turn ye, why will ye die? The day of his patience is yet continued ta Pol. IV.
them; and if Christ is seeking their salvation, surely we ought
a to seek it.
God is wont now to make men the means of one another's salvation; yea, it is his ordinary way so to do. He makes the concern and endeavours of his people the means of bringing home many to Christ. Therefore they ought to be concerned for and endeavour it. But it will not be so in another world : there wicked men will be no longer capable subjects of mercy. The saints will know, that it is the will of God the wicked should be miserable to all eternity. It will therefore cease to be their duty any more to seek their salvation, or to be concerned about their misery. On the other hand, it will be their duty to rejoice in the will and glory of God. It is not our duty to be sorry that God hath executed just vengeance on the devils, concerning whom the will of God in their eternal state is already known to us.
Ans. 3. Rejoicing at the calamities of others now, rests not on the same grounds as that of the saints in glory. The evil of rejoicing at others' calamities now, consists in our envy, or revenge, or some such disposition, is gratified therein; and not that God is glorified, that the majesty and justice of God gloriously shine forth.
Ans. 4. The different circumstances of our nature now, from what will be hereafter, make that a virtue now which will be no virtue then. For instance, if a man be of a virtuous disposition, the circumstances of our nature now are such, that it will necessarily show itself by natural affection, and to be without natural affection is a very vitious disposition; and is so inentioned in Rom. i. 31. But natural affection is no virtue in the saints in glory. Their virtue will exercise itself in a higher
Ans. 5. The vengeance inflicted on many of the wicked will be a manifestation of God's love to the saints. One way whereby God shows bis love to the saints, is by destroying their enemies. God hath said, He that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of mine eye. And it is often mentioned in scripture, as an instance of the great love of God to his people, that his wrath is so awakened, when they are wronged and injured. Thus Christ bath promised that God will avenge his own elect, Luke xviii. 7.; and hath said, that if any man offend one of his little pnes, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea, Mattb. xviii. 6.
So the saints in glory will see the great love of God to