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To the spirits of just men made perfect, that is, ye are come-for the word "portλŋλúðarɛ, ver. 22, must be understood here. Calvin interprets it, as signifying, that we Christians are gathered to those holy souls, which having put off their bodies, have left all the pollution of this world behind them;* whether it was the ancient patriarchs, or such as died successively till that time, and even to this very day. Made perfect; You will say,

Doth not the same apostle thus express himself? Heb. xi. 40, "God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect."

Answ. 1. They borrowed their perfection from our gospel dispensation; for the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; the law had "but a shadow of good things to come, they were but carnal ordinances imposed on them till the time of reformation; Christ being the end of the law to every one that believeth."+

2. Believers under the legal dispensation, were justified and saved by Christ to come; Abraham rejoiced to see Christ's day, and believed in him, and it was counted to him for righteousness. So David, and all the old testament saints; and when they had finished their course, they entered into a state of perfection, they saw God immediately, which the Hebrews call, a being put under the throne of glory; and they judged that those spirits entered into that state of perfection, sooner or later, as they depart out of this life, more or less purified. To them, Christians are said to

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Ut significet nos aggregari ad sanctas animas, quæ corporibus exutæ, omnes mundi sordes reliquerunt.—Calv. in loc.

+ Heb. vii. 19. x. 1. ix. 10. Rom. x. 4. John viii. 56. Rom. iv. 22.

Poni sub solio gloriæ.

come, by faith, hope, love, and sweet intercourse, or communion.

Observe it, ye are come, not only you shall come at your death, but while you live in the flesh, you are with them in spirit, by a blessed connection in one body, under Christ, the head; and some kind of communion in spirit.

Doct. There is a way whereby saints glorified in heaven, and believers sanctified on earth, come to each other.

Or, there is a union and communion maintained between gracious souls on earth, and the spirits of just men made perfect in heaven. This is a mysterious point, yet a truth. We believe such a thing as communion of saints here below, though living at a vast distance in place, and though they never saw one another, or could understand one another's language, yet there is a communion in spirit: so it is in this case, only saints above are at the upper end of the table, or rather in the upper room, we below; they are in God's immediate presence, we in a foreign country; they drink deep of those rivers of pleasures, we do but taste how good God is; they are at full age, saints below in their minority; yet both are children, dear to God; we live by faith, they by vision and sensible fruition; we have but the earnest, they have full possession of the celestial inheritance.

In the prosecution of this doctrine, I shall observe the following method:

I. Declare how the spirits of just men made perfect in heaven come to, or have communion with saints below?

II. How saints on earth come to the saints above? III. In what way this takes place?

IV. Conclude all with some practical inferences?

I. How do the spirits made perfect above, come to the saints below?

Answ. 1. By consent and communion in ordinances. The worship above is a counterpart to that of the saints below; as we sing hosanna, they resound hallelujah; wherever gospel worship is offered on earth, they above concur therewith.

Whether the saints glorified be present in the assemblies of saints here below, as scripture asserts the holy angels are, I know not;* but some understand such as join with the angels, Rev. vii. 11, singing, "Blessing and glory, and wisdom, thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever," to be saints glorified; for it is said, ver. 14, "These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."

O how do the glorified spirits echo to the saints' praises here! adoring free grace, the merits of Christ's blood, and the blessed conquests of the Holy Spirit. The worship is of the same nature, differently circumstanced; they being in the heavenly temple, in the royal presence, with harps well tuned; but we worship afar off, with jarring music, and on a lower key.

2. By some kind of sympathy with their suffering fellow members on earth; so far as their glorified state will bear, they have tender compassionate feelings, towards such as are still in the road, labouring, striving, fighting with temptations, persecutions, and corruptions, well remembering that themselves were lately in the same condition. These glorified saints, now arrived at the haven, stand upon the shore, and see their brethren in the ship on this tempestuous sea, tossed with storms, beset with pirates, endangered by rocks and sands, and * 1 Cor. xi. 10. Eph. iii. 10.

their hearts long to see us also safely landed; and as far as they know any of our conditions more hazardous, so are they concerned for us; nor doth this sympathy abate their present joy, but rather increases it, to see themselves out of danger. Nor is it inconsistent with this heavenly glory, any more than Christ's having "compassion on the ignorant, and them that are out of the way;" for though he hath laid aside his passion, or liability to suffering, yet not his compassion.

3. Saints glorified come to us below by joy and exultation; so far as the spirits above know the prosperity of the church below, so far do they triumph and rejoice. Hence it is said, Luke xv. 7, " That joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth." How glad are they when one is added to their number! That this joy is of saints glorified, is confirmed, ver. 10, for it is said, "There is joy in the presence of the holy angels," or angels of God. Additions to the church on earth, form an augmentation of the celestial inhabitants, and add to the honour of our Lord and master. It is melody to their spirits, and accents their triumphal songs, that another soul is snatched out of Satan's hands, and put into safe state for heaven. This way they themselves went, they travelled through these several stages, to salvation;† they experimentally know what blessedness attends every step, and find the issue to be good; and the more the happier. There is no envy in spiritual things.

4. By a daily accordance with the saint's prayers, and Christ's intercession for the militant church. The spirits of just men made perfect above are continually present with Christ, and know what our blessed advocate presents to the father on the behalf of the church Heb. iv. 15. v. 2. + Hâc itur ad astra.

militant, and have a similar concern for it. Our divines confess, that saints departed do in general pray for the church on earth, desiring the final deliverance of their fellow members from all miseries; so the souls under the altar, cried with a loud voice, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood, on them that dwell on the earth."+ Full glad would they be that an end were put to these days of sinning, and they lift up their desires to God, which is their praying. But this doth not warrant men's invocation of saints; for they are ignorant of particular cases; "The dead know not any thing,"‡ nor can they impart any merits to men. What Papists say of glorified spirits seeing all things in the glass of the Trinity, is a fancy; for that would make them omniscient as God is.

You will say, do saints glorified know nothing of affairs here below? I answer affirmatively,

(1.) Because they are intellectual spirits, of a large capacity; for they are equal with the angels. §

(2.) Possibly the angels, whom God sends as messengers into this lower world, may communicate what they know to them of church affairs; for they have a peculiar way of signifying their minds to each other.

(3.) As God's children die, and depart hence to heaven, they may bring them notice how things go on in this lower world.

(4.) Possibly they may learn something by revelation immediately from God; for doubtless, such as are in paradise must know what the apostle Paul knew when he was rapt up thither; though even angels are ignorant of some things, for so our Lord

* Perkins on the Creed, p. 311. Eccles. ix. 5.

§ Luke xx. 36.

+ Rev. vi. 10.

In speculo Trinitatis.

2 Cor. xii. 4.

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