The Lord's Prayer by Thomas Watson File 8 (... continued from file 7) When does the kingdom of grace increase in the soul? When is it a flourishing kingdom? When a Christian has further degrees of grace, there is more oil in the lamp, his knowledge is clear, his love is more inflamed. Grace is capable of degrees, and may rise higher as the sun in the horizon. It is not with us as it was with Christ, who received the Spirit without measure. John 3: 34. He could not be more holy than he was; but our grace is receptive of further degrees; we may have more sanctity, we may add more cubits to our spiritual stature. The kingdom of grace increases when a Christian has got more strength than he had. 'He that has clean hands, shall be stronger and stronger.' Job 17: 9. 'He shall add to his strength.' Heb. A Christian has strength to resist temptation, to forgive his enemies, to suffer affliction. It is not easy to suffer; a man must deny himself before he can take up the cross. The way to heaven is like the way which Jonathan and his armour bearer had in climbing up a steep place. 'There was a sharp rock on the one side, and a sharp rock on the other.' I Sam 14: 4. It requires much strength to climb up this rocky way. That grace which will carry us through prosperity, will not carry us through sufferings. The ship needs stronger tackling to carry it through a storm than a calm. Now, when we are so strong in grace, that we can bear up under affliction without murmuring or fainting, the kingdom of grace is increased. What mighty strength of grace had he, who told the emperor Valentinian, You may take away my life, but you cannot take away my love to the truth! The kingdom of grace increases when a Christian has most conflict with spiritual corruptions; when he not only abstains from gross evils, but has a combat with inward, hidden, close corruptions; as pride, envy, hypocrisy, vain thoughts, carnal confidence, which are spiritual wickedness, and both defile and disturb. 'Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit.' 2 Cor 7: 1. There are two sorts of corruptions, one of the flesh, the other of the spirit. When we grieve for and combat with spiritual sin, which is the root of all gross sins, then the kingdom of grace increases, and spreads its territories in the soul. The kingdom of grace flourishes when a Christian has learned to live by faith. 'I live by the faith of the Son of God.' Gal 2: 20. There is the habit of faith, and the drawing of this habit into exercise. For a Christian to graft his hope of salvation, only upon the stock of Christ's righteousness, and make Christ all in justification; to live on the promises, as a bee on the flower, and suck out the sweetness of them; to trust God where we cannot trace him; to believe his love through a frown; to persuade ourselves, when he has the face of an enemy, that he has the heart of a Father - when we are arrived at this, the kingdom of grace is flourishing in our souls. It flourishes when a Christian is full of holy zeal. Numb 25: 13. Phinehas was zealous for his God. Zeal is the flame of the affections, it turns a saint into a seraphim. A zealous Christian is impatient when God is dishonoured. Rev 2: 2. He will wrestle with difficulties, he will swim to Christ through a sea of blood. Acts 21: 13. Zeal loves truth when it is despised and opposed. 'They have made void thy law, therefore I love thy commandments.' Psa 119: 126, 127. Zeal resembles the Holy Ghost. 'There appeared cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.' Acts 2: 3. Tongues of fire were an emblem of that fire of zeal which the Spirit poured on them. The kingdom of grace increases when a Christian is as diligent in his particular calling, as he is devout in his general calling. He is the wise Christian that carries things equally; that so lives by faith that he lives in a calling. Therefore it is worthy of notice, that when the apostle had exhorted the Thessalonians to increase in grace, he presently adds, 'And that you do your own business, and work with your own hands.' I Thess 4: 10, 11. It is a sign grace is increasing, when Christians go cheerfully about their calling. Indeed, to be all the day in the mount with God, and to have the mind fixed on glory, is more sweet to a man's self, and is a heaven upon earth; but to be conversant in our callings, is more profitable to others. Paul says, 'To be with Christ is far better: nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.' Phil 1: 23,24. So, to converse with God in prayer and sweet meditation all the week long, is more for the comfort of a man's own person; but to be sometimes employed in the business of a calling, is more profitable for the family to which he belongs. It is not good to be as the lilies, which toil not, neither do they spin. It shows the increase of grace when a Christian keeps a due decorum. He joins piety and industry, when zeal runs forth in religion, and diligence is put forth in a calling. The kingdom of grace increases when a Christian is established in the belief and love of the truth. The heart by nature is as a ship without ballast, that wavers and fluctuates. Beza writes of one Bolezius, that his religion changed as the moon and planet Mercury. Such as are wandering stars will be falling stars; but when a soul is built on the rock Christ, and no winds of temptation can blow it away, the kingdom of grace flourishes. One calls Athanasius, Adamas Ecclesiae, an invincible adamant, in respect of his stability in the truth. 'Rooted and built up in him.' Col 2: 7. The rooting of a tree evidences growth. The kingdom of grace increases in a man's own heart when he labours to be instrumental to set up this kingdom in others. Though it is the greatest benefit to have grace wrought in ourselves, it is the greatest honour to be instrumental to work it in others. 'Of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you.' Gal 4: 19. Such as are masters of a family should endeavour to see the kingdom of grace set up in their servants; such as are godly parents should not let God alone by prayer, till they see grace in their children. What a comfort to be both the natural and spiritual fathers of your children! Augustine says his mother Monica travailed with greater care and pain for his new birth, than his natural. It shows the increase of grace when we labour to see the kingdom of grace set up in others. As water abounds in the river, when it overflows and runs into the meadows, so grace increases in the soul when it has influence upon others, and we seek their salvation. What need is there that the kingdom of grace should be increased? God's design in keeping up a standing ministry in the church is to increase the kingdom of grace in men's hearts. 'He gave gifts unto men;' that is, ministerial gifts. Why so? 'For the edifying of the body of Christ.' Eph 4: 8, 12. Not only for conversion, but for augmentation; therefore the word preached is compared not only to seed, but to milk; because God designs our growth in grace. We need have the kingdom of grace increase, as we have a great deal of work to do, and a little grace will hardly carry us through. A Christian's life is laborious: there are many temptations to resist, many promises to believe, many precepts to obey, so that it will require a great deal of grace. A Christian must not only pray, but 'be zealous, and repent' (Rev 3: 19); not only love, but be sick of love. Cant 2: 5. What need, therefore, to have the kingdom of grace enlarged in his soul? As his work increases upon him, so his grace need increase. If the kingdom of grace does not increase, it will decay. 'Thou hast left thy first love.' Rev 2: 4. Grace, for want of increasing, is sometimes like a winter plant in which all the sap runs to the root, and it looks as if it were dead. 'Strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die.' Rev 3: 2. Though grace cannot expire, it may wither; and a withering Christian loses much of his beauty and fragrance. What great need have we to pray, 'Thy kingdom come,' that this kingdom of grace may be increased! If grace be not improved, it will soon be impaired. A Christian, for want of increasing his grace, loses his strength; he is like a sick man that cannot either walk or work; his prayers are sick and weak; he is as if he had no life in him; his faith can hardly fetch breath, and you can scarcely feel the pulse of his love to beat. To have grace increasing is suitable to Christianity. Christians are called trees of righteousness. Isa 61: 3. The saints are not only jewels for sparkling lustre, but trees for growth. They are called the lights of the world. Phil 2: 15. Light is still increasing. First there is the crepusculum, or daybreak, and so it shines brighter to the meridian. They who are the lights of the world must increase till they come to the meridian of glory. Not to grow is suspicious; painted things do not grow. As the kingdom of grace increases, so a Christian's comforts increase. Comfort belongs to the bene esse, or well-being of a Christian; like sweetmeat, it is delicious to the taste. Psa 94: 19. The more grace, the more joy; as the more sap in the root, the more wine in the grape. Who more increased in grace than David? And who more in consolation? 'Thou hast put gladness in my heart.' Psa 4: 7. Grace turns to joy as milk to cream. How may they be comforted who bewail their want of growth, and weep that they cannot find the kingdom of grace increase? To see and bewail our decay in grace, argues not only the life of grace, but growth. It is a sign that a man recovers and gets strength when he feels his weakness. It is a step forward in grace to see our imperfections. The more the Spirit shines in the heart, the more evil it discovers. A Christian thinks it worse with him than it was, whereas his grace may not grow less, but his light greater. If a Christian does not increase in one grace, he may in another; if not in knowledge he may in humility. If a tree does not grow so much in the branches, it may in the root: and to grow downwards in the root, is good growth. A Christian may grow less in affection when he grows more in judgement. As the fingers of a musician, when he is old, are stiff, and not so nimble at the lute as they were, but he plays with more art and judgement than before, so a Christian may not have so much affection in duty as at the first conversion, but he is more solid in religion, and more settled in his judgement than he was before. A Christian may think he does not increase in grace because he does not increase in gifts; whereas there may be a decay of natural parts, the memory and other faculties, when there is not a decay of grace. Parts may be impaired when grace is improved. Be not discouraged, it is better to decay in parts, and be enlarged in grace, than to be enlarged in parts, and to decay in grace. A Christian may increase in grace, and not be sensible of it. As seed may grow in the earth, when we do not perceive it to spring up, so grace may grow in time of desertion, and not be perceived. V. We pray that the kingdom of glory may hasten, and that God would in his due time translate us into it. Under this we have now to consider  What this kingdom of glory is?  What are the properties of it?  Wherein it exceeds all other kingdoms?  When this kingdom comes?  Wherein appears the certainty of it?  Why we should pray for its coming?  By this kingdom is meant, that glorious estate which the saints shall enjoy when they shall reign with God and angels for ever. If a man stand upon the sea-shore, he cannot see all the dimensions of the sea, its length, breadth, and depth, yet he may see it is of vast extension, so, though the kingdom of heaven be of that incomparable excellence, that neither tongue of man or angels can express, yet we may conceive of it to be an exceeding glorious thing, such as the eye has not seen. Concerning the kingdom of heaven I shall show what it implies, and what it imports. First, it implies a blessed freedom from all evil. (1) It implies a freedom from the necessities of nature. We are in this life subject to many necessities; we need food to nourish us, clothes to cover us, armour to defend us, sleep to refresh us; but in the kingdom of heaven there will be no need of these things; and it is better not to need them than to have them; as it is better not to need crutches than to have them. What need will there be of food when our bodies shall be made spiritual? I Cor 15: 44. Though not spiritual for substance, yet for qualities. What need will there be of clothing when our bodies shall be like Christ's glorious body? What need will there be of armour when there is no enemy? What need will there be of sleep when there is no night? Rev 22: 5. The saints shall be freed, in the heavenly kingdom, from these necessities of nature to which they are now exposed. (2) In the kingdom of heaven we shall be freed from the imperfections of nature. Since the fall, our knowledge has suffered an eclipse. Our natural knowledge is imperfect, it is chequered with ignorance. There are many hard knots in nature which we cannot easily untie. He who sees dearest, has a mist before his eyes. Socrates said on his death-bed, that there were many things he had yet to learn. Our ignorance is more than our knowledge. Our divine knowledge is imperfect. We know but in part, said Paul, though he had many revelations, and was rapt up in the third heaven. I Cor 13: 9. We have but dark conceptions of the Trinity, 'Canst thou by searching find out God?' Job 11: 7. Our narrow capacities would no more contain the Trinity, than a little glass vial would hold all the water in the sea. We cannot unriddle the mystery of the incarnation, the human nature assumed into the person of the Son of God; the human nature not God, yet united with God. We see now in aenigmate, in a glass darkly; but in the kingdom of heaven the veil shall be taken off, all imperfection of nature shall be done away. When the sunlight of glory shall begin to shine in the heavenly horizon, all dark shadows of ignorance shall fly away, our lamp of knowledge shall burn brightly, we shall have a full knowledge of God, though we shall not know him fully. (3) In the kingdom of heaven we shall be freed from the toilsome labours of this life. God enacted a law in paradise, 'in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread.' Gen 3: 19. There is the labour of the hand in manufacture and the labour of the mind in study. 'All things are full of labour' (Eccl 1: 8); but in the kingdom of heaven we shall be freed from our labours. There needs no labour when a man has got to the haven, he has no more need of sailing. In heaven there needs no labour, because the saints shall have the glory which they laboured for. There shall be no labour. 'They rest from their labours.' Rev 14: 13. As when God had finished the work of creation, he rested from his labours, so, when his saints have finished the work of sanctification, they rest from theirs. Where should there be rest, but in the heavenly centre? Not that this sweet rest in the kingdom of heaven excludes all motion, for spirits cannot be idle; but the glorified saints shall rest from all wearisome employment. It will be a labour full of ease, a motion full of delight. The saints in heaven shall love God, and what labour is that? Is it any labour to love beauty? They shall praise God, and that surely is delightful. When the bird sings, it is not so much a labour as a pleasure. (4) In the kingdom of heaven, we shall be freed from original corruption, which is causa causati, the root of all actual sin. There would be no actual sin if there were no original; there would be no water in the stream if there were none in the fountain. Original sin is incorporated into our nature; it is as if the whole mass of blood were corrupted. Thus, to offend the God whom he loves, makes a Christian weary of his life. What would he give to have his chains taken off, to be rid of vain thoughts? How did Paul, that bird of paradise, bemoan himself for his sins! Rom 7: 24. We cannot exercise either our duties or our graces without sin. The soul that is most refined and clarified by grace, is not without some dregs of corruption; but in the kingdom of heaven the fountain of original sin shall be quite dried up. What a blessed time will that be, never to grieve God's Spirit more! In heaven are virgin souls; their beauty is not stained with lust: nothing enters there that defiles. Rev 21: 27. (5) In the kingdom of heaven we shall be freed from all sorrows. 'There shall be no more sorrow.' Rev 21: 4. Our life here is interwoven with trouble. Psa 31: 10. Either losses grieve, or law- suits vex, or unkindness breaks the heart. We may as well separate moisture from air, or weight from lead, as troubles from man's life. Quid est diu vivere, nisi diu torqueri? [What is long life but long torment?] Augustine. But, in the kingdom of heaven, sorrow and sighing shall fly away. Here the saints sit by the rivers weeping, but one smile from Christ's face will make them forget all their sufferings. Their water shall then be turned into wine, their mourning into singing. (6) In the kingdom of heaven we shall be beyond the reach of temptation. Satan is not yet fully cast into prison; like a prisoner under bail, he walks about tempting, and labouring, to draw us into sin. He is either laying snares, or shooting darts. Stat in procinctu diabolus [The devil stands girded for battle]. He laid a train of temptation to blow up the castle of Job's faith. It is as great a grief to a believer to be followed with temptations to sin, as for a virgin to have her chastity assaulted. But in the kingdom of heaven the saints shall be freed from the red dragon, who is cast out of paradise, and shall be for ever locked up in chains. Jude 6. (7) In the kingdom of heaven we shall be freed from all vexing cares. The Greek word for care comes from a primitive which signifies to cut the heart in pieces. Care tortures the mind, wastes the spirits, and eats out the comfort of life. Care to prevent future dangers, and preserve present comforts, is an evil spirit that haunts us. All care is full of fear, and fear is full of torment. I John 4: 18. God threatens it as a judgement. 'They shall eat their bread with carefulness.' Ezek 12: 19. Every comfort has its care, as every rose has its thorns; but in the kingdom of heaven we shall shake off the viper of care. What needs a glorified saint to take any anxious care, who has all things provided to his hand? There is the tree of life, bearing all sorts of fruit. When the heart shall be freed from sin, the head shall be freed from care. (8) In the kingdom of heaven we shall be freed from all doubts and scruples. In this life the best saint has his doubting, as the brightest star has his twinkling. If there were no doubting, there would be no unbelief. Assurance itself does not exclude all doubting. 'Thy loving kindness is before mine eyes.' Psa 26: 3. At another time, 'Lord, where are thy former loving kindnesses?' Psa 89: 49. A Christian is like a ship at anchor, which, though safe, may sometimes be tossed upon the water. Sometimes a Christian questions his interest in Christ, and his title to the promise. As these doubting eclipse a Christian's comfort, so they bear false witness against the Spirit. But, when the saints shall come into the kingdom of heaven, there shall be no more doubting; the Christian shall then say, as Peter, 'Now I know of a surety that the Lord has sent his angel and has delivered me.' Acts 12: 11. Now I know that I am passed from death to life, and I am got beyond all rocks, I have shot the gulf, now I am in my Saviour's embraces for ever. (9) In the kingdom of heaven we shall be freed from all society with the wicked. Here we are sometimes forced to be in their company. 'Woe is me, that I sojourn in Mesech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar.' Psa 120: 5. Kedar was Ishmael's son, whose children dwelt in Arabia, a profane, barbarous people. Here the wicked are still raising persecutions against the godly, and crucifying their ears with their oaths and curses. Christ's lily is among thorns; but in the heavenly kingdom there shall be no more any pricking brier. 'The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend.' Matt 13: 41. As Moses said, 'Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to-day, ye shall see them again no more for ever;' so will God say, Stand still, and see the salvation of God; these your enemies, that vex and molest you, you shall see them again no more for ever. Exod 14: 13. At that day, God will separate the precious from the vile; Christ will thoroughly purge his floor; he will gather the wheat into the garner; and the wicked, which are the chaff, shall be blown into hell. (10) In the kingdom of heaven we shall be freed from all signs of God's displeasure. Here he may be angry with his people. Though he has the heart of a father, he may have the look of an enemy; and this is sad. As when the sun is gone, the dew falls; so when the light of God's face is gone, tears drop from the saints' eyes. But in the kingdom of heaven, there shall be no spiritual eclipses, there shall never appear any tokens of God's displeasure; the saints shall have a constant aspect of love from him, they shall never complain any more, 'My beloved had withdrawn himself.' Cant 5: 6. (11) In the kingdom of heaven we shall be freed from all divisions. The saddest thing in the world is to see divisions among them that are good. It is sad that such as have one faith, should not be of one heart. Ephraim envies Judah, and Judah vexeth Ephraim. It is matter of tears, to see those who are united to Christ, divided one from another. The soldier's spear pierced Christ's side, but the divisions of saints wound his heart. But in the kingdom of heaven there shall be no vilifying one another, or censuring. Those who before could hardly pray together, shall praise God together. There shall not be one jarring string in the saints' music. (12) In the kingdom of heaven we shall be freed from vanity and dissatisfaction. What Job says of wisdom, in chap. 28: 14; 'The depth saith, It is not in me; and the sea saith, It is not with me;' I may say concerning satisfaction; every creature says, 'It is not in me.' Take things most pleasing and from which we promise ourselves most content, still, of the spirit and essence of them all we shall say, 'Behold, all was vanity.' Eccl 2: 11. God never did, nor will, put a satisfying virtue into any creature. In the sweetest music the world makes, either some string is wanting, or out of tune. Who would have thought that Haman, who was so great in the king's favour, that he 'set his seat above all the princes' of the provinces, for want of the bowing of a knee, would be dissatisfied? Est 3: 1. But in the kingdom of heaven, we shall be freed from these dissatisfactions. The world is like a landscape painting, in which you may see gardens with fruit trees, curiously drawn, but you cannot enter them; but into the joys of heaven you may enter. 'Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.' The soul shall be satisfied while it bathes in those rivers of pleasure at God's right hand. 'I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness.' Psa 17: 15. (13) In the kingdom of heaven we shall be freed from the torments of hell. 'Jesus which delivered us from the wrath to come.' I Thess 1: 10. Consider the multiplicity of those torments. In this life the body is usually exercised but with one pain, the stone or headache, at one time; but in hell there is a diversity of torments; there is darkness to affright, fire to burn, a lake of sulphur to choke, chains to bind, and the worm to gnaw. The torments of hell will seize upon every part of the body and soul. The eye shall be tortured with the sight of devils, and the tongue that has sworn so many oaths shall be tortured. 'Send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue.' Luke 16: 24. The memory will be tormented to remember the mercies that have been abused, and seasons of grace neglected. The conscience will be tormented with self-accusations. In the pains of hell there is no mitigation, no mixture of mercy. In this life God in anger remembers mercy. Hab 3: 2. But in hell there is no alleviation or lessening of the pains. As in the sacrifice of jealousy, God would have no oil or frankincense put into it, so, in hell, there is no oil of mercy to lenify the sufferings of the damned, no incense of prayer to appease his wrath. Numb 5: 15. In the pains of hell there is no intermission. The poets feign of Endymion, that he got leave of Jupiter always to sleep. What would the damned in hell give for one hour's sleep! 'They have no rest day nor night.' Rev 14: 11. They are perpetually on the rack. In the pains of hell there is no expiration; they must always lie scorching in flames of wrath. 'The smoke of their torment ascended up for ever and ever;' but in the heavenly kingdom, the elect shall be freed from all infernal torments. 'Jesus delivered us from the wrath to come.' A prison is not made for the king's children. Christ drank that bitter cup of God's wrath that the saints might never drink it. A second thing in the kingdom of heaven is, a glorious fruition of all good. Had I as many tongues as hairs on my head, I could not fully describe this. It is a place where there is no want of anything. Judges 18: 10. It is called 'the excellent glory.' 2 Pet 1: 17. I might as well span the firmament, or drain the ocean, as set forth the glory of this kingdom. Coelum non habet hyperbolum; the kingdom of heaven is above all hyperbole. Were the sun ten thousand times brighter than it is, it could not parallel the lustre of this kingdom. Apelles' pencil would blotch, angels' tongues would lessen it. I can but give you the skiagraphia, or dark shadow of it; expect not to see it in all its orient colours till you are mounted above the stars. But let us not stand afar off, as Moses, to behold this Canaan, but enter into it, and taste the honey. The privileges of this heavenly kingdom are: (1) We shall have an immediate communion with God himself, who is the inexhaustible sea of all happiness. This divines call 'the beatific vision.' The psalmist triumphed in the enjoyment he had of God in this life. 'Whom have I in heaven but thee?' Psa 73: 25. If God, enjoyed by faith, gives so much comfort to the soul, how much more when he is enjoyed by immediate vision! Here we see God darkly through the glass of ordinances but in the kingdom of heaven we shall see him 'face to face.' I Cor 13: 12. We shall have an intellectual sight of him; we shall see him with the eyes of our mind; we shall know him as much as the angels in heaven do. Matt 18: 10; we shall know as we are known. I Cor 13: 12. We shall have a full knowledge of God, though not know him fully; as a vessel in the sea is full of the sea, though it holds not all the sea. To see and enjoy God will be most delicious; in him are beams of majesty, and bowels of mercy. God has all excellencies concentred in him, bonum in quo omnia bona [the good in which are all good things]. If one flower should have the sweetness of all flowers how sweet would that flower be! All the beauty and sweetness which lies scattered in the creature is infinitely to be found in God. To see and enjoy him, therefore, will ravish the soul with delight. We shall see God so as to love him, and be made sensible of his love; and when we shall have this sweet communion with him he shall be 'all in all;' light to the eye, manna to the taste, and music to the ear. I Cor 15: 28. (2) In the kingdom of heaven, we shall with these eyes see the glorified body of Jesus Christ. The Saviour makes it a great part of the glory of heaven to view the glory of his human nature. 'That they may behold my glory.' John 17: 24. When Christ was transfigured upon earth, it is said, that 'his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.' Matt 17: 2. If the glory of his transfiguration was so great, what will the glory of his exaltation be! Much of the glory of God shines in Christ, by virtue of the hypostatic union. 'In him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.' Col 2: 9. Through Christ's humanity, as through a bright mirror, we may see some beams of the divine majesty shine forth. Put a back of steel to a glass and you may see a face in it. Christ's human nature is as a back of steel put to the divine nature, through which we may see God, and then our capacities are enlarged to a wonderful degree, to receive this glorious object; and we not only see God's glory, but some of his glory shall be put upon us. Non tantum aderit gloria sed inerit [Glory will be not only present, but within]. Bernard. A beggar may behold the glory of a king and not be the happier; but Christ's glory shall be ours, 'We shall be like him.' I John 3: 2. We shall shine by his beams. (3) In the kingdom of heaven we shall enjoy the society of 'an innumerable company of angels.' Heb 12: 22. But is there not enough in God to fill the soul with delight? Can the sight of angels add to its happiness? What need is there of the light of torches, when the sun shines? Besides the divine essence, the sight of angels is desirable. Much of God's curious workmanship shines in the angels; they are beautiful, glorious creatures; and as the several strings in a lute make the harmony sweeter, and the several stars make the firmament brighter, so the society with angels will make the delight of heaven the greater; and we shall not only see them with the glorified eye of our understanding, but converse with them. (4) In the kingdom of heaven, we shall have sweet society with glorified saints. Oh! what a blessed time will it be when those who have prayed, wept, and suffered together, shall rejoice together! We shall see the saints, in their white linen of purity, and see them as so many crowned kings: in beholding the glorified saints, we shall behold a heaven full of suns. Some have asked whether we shall know one another in heaven? Surely, our knowledge will not be diminished, but increased. The judgement of Luther and Anselm, and many other divines is, that we shall know one another; yea, the saints of all ages, whose faces we never saw, and, when we shall see the saints in glory without their infirmities of pride and passion, it will be a glorious sight. We see how Peter was transported when he saw but two prophets in the transfiguration; but what a blessed sight will it be when we shall see the whole glorious company of prophets, and martyrs, and holy men of God! Matt 17: 3. How sweet will the music be when all shall sing together in concert in the heavenly choir! And though, in this great assembly of saints and angels, 'one star may differ from another in glory,' yet no such weed as envy shall ever grow in the paradise of God; there shall be perfect love, which, as it casts out fear, so also envy. Though one vessel of glory may hold more than another, every vessel will be full. (5) In the kingdom of heaven there shall be incomprehensible joy. Aristotle says, 'Joy proceeds from union.' When the saints' union with Christ is perfected in heaven, their joy shall be full. All the birds of the heavenly paradise sing for joy. What joy, when the saints shall see the great gulf shot, and know that they are passed from death to life! What joy, when they are as holy as they would be, and as God would have them to be! What joy to hear the music of angels; to see the golden banner of Christ's love displayed over the soul; to be drinking that water of life which is sweeter than all nectar and ambrosia! What joy, when the saints shall see Christ clothed in their flesh, sitting in glory above the angels! Then they shall enter into the joy of their Lord. Matt 25: 21. Here joy enters into the saints; in heaven 'they enter into joy.' O thou saint of God, who now hangest thy harp upon the willows, and mingles thy drink with weeping, in the kingdom of heaven thy water shall be turned into wine; thou shalt have so much felicity that thy soul cannot wish for more. The sea is not so full of water as the heart of a glorified saint is of joy. There can be no more sorrow in heaven than there is joy in hell. (6) In heaven honour and dignity are put upon the saints. A kingdom implies honour. All that come into heaven are kings. They have, 1. A crown. Rev 2: 10. 'I will give thee a crown of life.' Corona est insigne regiae potestatis [A crown is the sign of royal power] This crown is not lined with thorns, but hung with jewels; it is a never-fading crown. I Pet 5: 4. 2. The saints in heaven have their robes. They exchange their sackcloth for white robes. 'I beheld a great multitude, which no man could number, clothed with white robes.' Rev 7: 9. Robes signify their glory, white their sanctity. And, 3. They sit with Christ upon the throne. Rev 3: 21. We read in I Kings 6: 32, the doors of the holy of holies were made of palm-trees, and open flowers covered with gold - an emblem of that victory, and that garland of glory, which the saints shall wear in the kingdom of heaven. When all the titles and ensigns of worldly honour shall lie in the dust, the mace, the silver star, the garter, the saints' honour shall remain. The Lord's Prayer by Thomas Watson (continued in file 9...) ---------------------------------------------------- file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: watlp-08.txt .