Sunday, March 15, 2015

Jonathan Edwards on heaven

The "Jonathan Edwards" entry in the Encyclopedia of Philosophy states that Edwards "is widely acknowledged to be America's most important and original philosophical theologian." He is also considered to be one of America's greatest intellectuals.

Johnathan Edwards is known for his great sermon, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. I quoted part of that sermon earlier today in a separate essay.

What many people do not know is that Edwards wrote and preached frequently on heaven, too. One of his most famous Heaven sermons is titled Heaven, A World of Love. It is a 16-part series based on the text from 1 Corinthians 13:8-10,

"Charity never fails: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away."

I printed the sermon out last night and it is 19 pages. It is well worth the read. The words flow over the soul as a balm and enlivens the mind., The heart expands as we read of the tremendous love that awaits. I want to quote it but it is difficult to decide which words to quote, they are all equally wonderful. If you need encouragement or want a glimpse of the complexity yet purity that awaits us 'over yonder' please click on the link and read the sermon. You will be glad you did.

Dante and Beatrice gaze upon the highest heavens;
from Gustave Doré's illustrations to the Divine Comedy

Meanwhile, here are a few tidbits.

by Jonathan Edwards
(1703-1758)

There, even in heaven, dwells the God from whom every stream of holy love, yea, every drop that is, or ever was, proceeds. There dwells God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit, united as one, in infinitely dear, and incomprehensible, and mutual, and eternal love. There dwells God the Father, who is the father of mercies, and so the father of love, who so loved the world as to give his only-begotten Son to die for it. There dwells Christ, the Lamb of God, the prince of peace and of love, who so loved the world that he shed his blood, and poured out his soul unto death for men.

There dwells the great Mediator, through whom all the divine love is expressed toward men, and by whom the fruits of that love have been purchased, and through whom they are communicated, and through whom love is imparted to the hearts of all God’s people. There dwells Christ in both his natures, the human and the divine, sitting on the same throne with the Father. And there dwells the Holy Spirit — the Spirit of divine love, in whom the very essence of God, as it were, flows out, and is breathed forth in love, and by whose immediate influence all holy love is shed abroad in the hearts of all the saints on earth and in heaven.

There, in heaven, this infinite fountain of love — this eternal Three in One — is set open without any obstacle to hinder access to it, as it flows forever. There this glorious God is manifested, and shines forth, in full glory, in beams of love. And there this glorious fountain forever flows forth in streams, yea, in rivers of love and delight, and these rivers swell, as it were, to an ocean of love, in which the souls of the ransomed may bathe with the sweetest enjoyment, and their hearts, as it were, be deluged with love!

EPrata photo

II. To the OBJECTS of love that it contains. — And here I would observe three things: —

1. There are none but lovely objects in heaven. — No. odious, or unlovely, or polluted person or thing is to be seen there. There is nothing there that is wicked or unholy. “There shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination” (Rev. 21:27). And there is nothing that is deformed with any natural or moral deformity; but everything is beauteous to behold, and amiable and excellent in itself. The God that dwells and gloriously manifests himself there, is infinitely lovely; gloriously lovely as a heavenly Father, as a divine Redeemer, and as a holy Sanctifier.

All the persons that belong to the blessed society of heaven are lovely. The Father of the family is lovely, and so are all his children; the head of the body lovely, and so are all the members. Among the angels there are none that are unlovely — for they are all holy; and no evil angels are suffered to infest heaven as they do this world, but they are kept forever at a distance by that great gulf which is between them and the glorious world of love. And among all the company of the saints, there are no unlovely persons. There are no false professors or hypocrites there; none that pretend to be saints, and yet are of an unchristian and hateful spirit or behavior, as is often the case in this world; none whose gold has not been purified from its dross; none who are not lovely in themselves and to others. There is no one object there to give offense, or at any time to give occasion for any passion or emotion of hatred or dislike, but every object there shall forever draw forth love.

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