Owen - BX9315 O81

OF CHRIST- TN' HEAVEN:. I3T be the design of believers here below. So much as we are furthered and assisted herein by our present ordinan- ces, so much benefit and advantage have we by them, and no more. A constant view of this glory, will cast contempt on all the desirable things of this world, and deliver our minds from any dreadful apprehensions of what is most terrible therein. 2dly, This heavenly worship in the sanctuary above, administered by the High Priest over the house of God, is conspicuously glorious. The glory of God is the great end of it, as shall be immediately declared; that is, the manifestation of it. The manifestation of the glory of God consists really in the effects of his infinite wisdom, goodness, grace, and power; declaratively, in the express acknowledgment of it with praise. Herein therefore (loth the solemn worship of God in the sanc- tuary above consist; setting aside only the immediate actings of Christ in his intercession. It is a glori- ous express acknowledgment of the wisdom, love, good- ness, grace, and power of God, in the redemption, sanctification, and salvation of the church by Jesus Christ, with a continual ascription of all divine honour unto him in the way of praise. For the manner of its performance, our present light into it, is but dark and obscure. Some things have an evidence in them. As, (1.) That there is nothing carnal in it, or such things . as are suited unto the fancies and imaginations of men. In the thoughts of heaven, most persons are apt to frame images in their minds of such carnal things as they suppose they could be delighted withal. But they are far remote from the worship of this holy assembly. The worship of the gospel which is spiritually glorious, makesa nearer approach unto it, than that of the tem- ple which was outwardly and carnally so. (2.) It is not merely mental; or transacted only in the silent thoughts of each individual person. For aç we have spewed, it is the worship ofa church-assembly, wherein they have all communion and join in the per- formance of it. We know not well the way and man- ner of communicationbetween angels and the spirits of just menmade perfect. It is expressed in the scripture by voices, postures, and gestures; which although they are not of the same nature as absolutely ours are, yet are they really significant of the things they would ex- press, and a means ofmutual communication. Yea, I know not how far God may give them the use of voice it.. And believers atpresent have by faith an admission into communionwith this church above, in all its divine worship. For " we are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the gener- al assembly and church of the first-born, which are written in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits ofjust men made perfect, and to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, which speaketh better things than that of A- bel," Heb. xii. 22, 23, 24. A church -state cloth the apostle most expressly represent unto us. It is Sion, Jerusalem, thegreat assembly; the names of the church- state under the Old Testament. And it is a stateabove, the heavenly Jerusalem, where all the holy angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect, in themselves, though not in their state as to the restitution of their bodies at the resurrection. And an holy worship is there in this great assembly. For not only is Jesus in it as the Mediator of the covenant; but there is the blood of sprinkling also, in the effectual application of it unto the church. Hereinto have we an entrance. In this holy assembly and worship, have we communion by faith whilst we are here below, Heb. x. 19-22. O that my soul might abide and abound in this exercise of faith, that I might yet enjoy a clearer prospect of this glory and inspection into the beauty and order of this blessed assembly! How inconceivable is the representa- tion that. God here makes of the glory of his wisdom, love, grace, goodness and mercy in Christ? How ex- cellent is the manifestation of the glory and honour of Christ, in his person and offices, the glory given him by the Father? How little a portion do we know, or can have experience itt, of the refreshing, satiating com- munications of divine love and goodness unto all the members of this assembly; or of that unchangeable de- light in beholding the glory of Christ, and of God in him; of that ardency of affections wherewith they cleave , unto him, and continual exultation of spirit, whereby they triumph in the praises of God, that are in all the members of it? To enter into this assembly by faith, to join with it in the assignation of praises, unto " him that sits on the throne, and to the Lamb for evermore," to labour after a frame of heart in holy affections, and spiritual delight, in some correspondency with that which is in the saints above, is the duty, and ought to M m