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Heaven, as those who weie intimate when in the body? T freely answer, I believe they do. — My reasons for believing this, w^ill fill up the'''rest of my paper. —
1st, From that connexion which providence has with grace. I believe, clear brother, yon are happily persuaded, that piovidences are all waiting upon God's everlasting purposes of good to his church. If we consider the purpose of grace towards the church, made known in the promise which Jehovah, in the covenant, gave our father Abraham, we are led into the most delightful mazes of Providence, which opened a way for ail the glory that appears in our salvation by the true Isaac now. "Vea, from the declaration of the first promise *, Providence was the grand pioneer; and ten thousand minute circumstances concurred to bring ubout the most blessed period for sinful guilty man:— when the man Christ Jesus, the promised seed, united to Jehovah, the Second Person,"snid," It is finished +." If we consider the individuals of the Lord's people, every child of God must stand and admire those providences which, under the influence of the Holy Ghost, have concurred to bring about ijood to his soul. How great the variety of those providences which bring poor sinners under the word! The acquaintance we have in this world, as Christians, is introduced and brought about by Providence; and nothing is more remarkable, in the course of Providence, than the way in which we become intimate. Now then, let us sec what all this has to do with our point; — how this is an argument to prove, That those who are acquainted here, who converse much together, shall know each other in glory. If grace and providence are thus connected, as we see them to be here, we cannot, in the next world, admire the plan of grace without a retrospection on providence, it is impossible to adore the love of each person in the blessed Trinity, in the world above, without the recollection of the means which were blessed tons on earth. For instance, If a person, going on in the full career of sin, is by a kind friend as an instrument, led to hear the pure truth, which that, friend, by an affectionate address in conversation, improves to such an advantage, that the person is enabled to believe and love him who styles himself The Truth, must not that instrument be recollected with admiration and gratitude in the world of glory? Surely.
The land of Canaan was a type of Heaven,—it was the typical rest. In that typical rest they were to admire the way in and by which God brought them there; for this reason, they had tkose very ordinances which pointed back to peculiar circumstances which attended them from the time they were in Firvpt to the blessed time of their settlement in the Land of Promise. Those very ordinances, which were significative of heavenly and earthly things, and pointed directly to the person
and offices of the Messiah, were or'such a nature, as to bring to their remembrance the place, the time, and circumstances of God's providing, delivering, or helping. Now, dear brother, what must the inference be? viz. That in the true Canaan, the saints at rest are looking back on the various appearances of divine Providence in connexion with grace, and hereby ascribe fresh glory to their Royal Priest on his throne!
Did not divine Providence bring our two sisters into very close alliance? Were they not helpers of each other's faith? Did they not unbosom themselves to each other? Were they Hot in a most peculiar manner, by Providence, brought together just before they left this poor world? Was it not the grandest
and most important providence our* dear D ever met with,
that she should go upon a visit to her dear friend, to die with her? No less grand than it is affecting! Not many weeks after, our valuable sister follows her! Surely then, if grace and pro\idence are admired in these connexions, tliey are both admiring that providence which introduced their joy, that awaited on them by their Lord's order, and opened the door out of'this world into Heaven; that providence which makes us weep behind, beyond doubt, is a part of their song! This is my first reason the connexions of Providence has with grace.
2d, From the fellowship of the saints. The fellowship of the saints is too little attended to at this clay; the reason of it is, Christians are carnal, proud, and selfish. What are we to understand by the fellowship of the saints? The same as communion: a partaking together; yea, having that communion together as the different members of the body have one with the other. You will ask Hie here, Does not this prove too much? By this you may infer, tint all the happy spirits in glory must know each other! No; lam first speaking of communion in general. There are two points of view, in which I look at communion, viz. 1st, General. What I mean by general is, that there is fellowship between the saints that know not each other's persons but as they have one common head,— baptized with the same Spirit, — hearing of each other's faith and walk,—and love each other for Christ's sake. Thus is the communion of the churches maintained in this world. How far, or how universal the acquaintance saints have above, is too deep a subject for our finite line to fathom.—2d, There is a special communion. By this means comes the peculiar enjoyment believers have of Christ in intimate converse and acquaintance with each otiier, whereby the holy flame of love is kindled, and they become, as it were, one! They are like David and Jonathan ; — thus were our two sisters. The apostle Paul was particularly concerned, that the churches should, in their distinct •ouiinunities, enjoy the fellowship; aud, therefore, expresses himself thus * : "That their hearts might be cotnforted, being knit together in love." The idea of being knit is extremely apt. Solomon, in his book of Proverbs, setteth' forth the nature of spiritual communion by a very striking idea : + " Iron sharpeneth iron,' &c. The word does not signify, in the original, to sharpen, — nor does iron sharpen iron: it signifies, to unite; which no metal will do besides iron, without it is melted. This may, by some, be understood as a moral hint or proverb; but I am sure it most beautifully illustrates the true effects of spiritual communion. Now I arjnie thus:—ff so much of the be
liever's happiness appears to be in the sweet fellowship saints have together on earth, while their love turns towards each other as the love of Christ spreads in their hearts, how much greater their happiness when their capacities will be refined, and the powers of reflection perfectly clear! Surely, if divine fellowship here, is the pledge of that fellowship saints will have in the immediate presence of a covenant God, it appears plain, that such as enjoyed sweet fellowship together here, will know one another in Heaven.
Sdly, 1 apprehend, another reason for this knowledge saints in Heaven have of each ether, is the answer of those prayers, "•r rather answers to those prayers, they did not live to see answered in this world. This thought to me, appears as rational as it is pleasing. Answers to the prayer of faith will aggrandize the joy of the saints in glory; they will illustrate the sovereignty of grace, the efficacy of the blood of the New Testament, and no less the wisdom of the adorable Trinity! The tender parent often wets his pillow with tears of love for a child of many prayers, in whom Christ seems not to dwell by his Spirit. Ah ! dear brother, many of the Lord's people have had no other distress upon their death-beds, than the consideration of their not having lived to see answers to their prayers for the conversion of their children; but after their bodies are locked up in the silence of the grave (perhaps many years after) those children, in answer to the cries of their parents faith, arc enabled to rejoice in the God of Abraham, and are made eminent iil the service of the Lord Jesus Christ!—Now, as with answers of prayer the glory and sovereignty of grace are connected in i\ very extraordinary manner, it appears to me evident, that in Heaven the saint will know him that stood in the relation of a child to him, for whom he hath wrestled with a prayerhearing God! O! such a meeting in Heaven speaks forth the grandeur of God's sovereign purpose, which he keeps secret from us till we get home!
4thly, 1 would mention some passages of Scripture, which make the point very plain to me. How we shall know one another is pot our enquiry, uor does Scripture afford us any
* a Col. ii, •}■ Prov. xxvii. 17.
light into it; we should be silent about what is not t:» he gathered from the written word. The glory of the body at the resurrection, is summed tip in this, viz. That it will be like Christ, iinmortul or incorruptible, &c. Though we do not knovr how this knowledge is, it appears that they have it.. For instance *, you find the disciples, Peter, James, and John, knew Moses and Elias. How did they know it was Elias? It is very true, the disciples were overcome with the sight,—and no wonder; but yet, in the body, in the weakness of the flesh, they, on this extraordinary occasion, were made to know these two witnesses -of Messiah'! If so, how reasonable to believe, our knowledge above will be suitable to such a description as this. Again, + the apostle expresses that joy and delight he would (with the ministers of Christ) have in the day of the Lord, when those he had been instrumint-il of good to, should appear as monuments of the same grace. He must then have some knowledge of tbem. Yea, some whom he never knew in the bod\r, he will then be made to know as his own children! If so, with respect to ministers and their spiritual children, why Hot (for we may argue from the greater to the lesser) as we have before considered, with respect to such as have been instruments of good to each other, and helpers of each other's faith, Sec. 1 believe one reason why Scripture does not often mention this knowledge is, that we may not become even carnal in our views and hopes of Heaven; because the (icyl-mun is the center of glory and happiness above : and all that knowledge: saints have of each other is, to increase their love to him, and (if I may so express myself) swell the notes of those two sons* which are sung in Heaven, that of Moses, and that of the Lamb. Once more, J John had a sight of such as came out of great tribulation. It appears, from that part of his vision, that he was entertained with company who once suffered together, and now, with their tears wived by the same hand, are joining their praises together! How far this text illustrates the point, I leave with you to judge.
Lastly, 1 look upon Luke xvi. 1<)—28. as a strong argument to my purpose; because it illustrates (and illustration is the design of a parable) the assertion, that separate spii its know each other in the world to come :—if among the damned, certainly among the blessed! Now I ask, What made the rich man so desirous that one might testify unto his brethren, lest they also siiould come into that place of torment? Was it from brotherly love and affection i Was it because they should not be miserablei If so, a good principle, a good desire, is supposed to be in Hell; which is ;: paradox. The reason was, their coining would aggravate his torment, and increase the flame of his
* Mat. xvii. 4, f i Thes. ii. 19, 10. J &cv vii. 14.
misery. This shews us. therefore, that the misery of the un« happy sinners who die out of Christ, is aggravated by each other's former acquaintance; and, having been temptations to each other in the ways of Satan, are tormentors of one an~ other. If so, how plain the reverse in the world of bliss!
SECOND LETTER FROM DR. FRANKLIN
Dear Sir, New York, July 2, 1756.
I Received your favour of the 24th of February with great pleasure, as it informed me of your welfare, and expressed jour continued regard for me. I thank you for the pamphlet you inclosed to me. As we had just observed a provincial fast on the same occasion, I thought it very seasonable to be published in Pennsylvania; and accordingly reprinted it immediately.
You mention your frequent wish that you were a chaplain to an American army. I sometimes wish that you and I were jointly employed by the crown to settle a colony on the Ohio. I imagine that we could do it effectually, and without putting the nation to much expence;—but I fear we shall never be called upon for such a service. What a glorious thing it would be, to settle in that fine country a large, strong body of religions and industrious people! What a security to the other colonies, and advantage to Britain, by increasing her people, territory, strength, and commerce! Might it not greatly facilitate the introduction of pure religion among the heathen, if we could, by such a colony, shew them a better sample of Christians than they commonly see in our Indian traders? the most vicious and abandoned wretches of our nation! Life, like a dramatic piece, should not only be conducted with regularity, but, niethinks, it should finish handsomely. Being now in the last act, I begin to cast about for something fit to end with. Or, if mine be more properly compared to an epigram, as some of its lines are but barely tolerable, I am very desirous of concluding with a bright point. In such an cnterprize 1 could spend the remainder of life with pleasure: and 1 firmly believe God would bless us with success, if we undertook it with a sincere regard to his honour, the service of our gracious king, and, (which is the same thing) the public good.
I thank you cordially for your generous benefaction to the German schools. They go on pretty well; and will do better, when Mr. Smith, who has at present the principal care of them, shall learn to mind party-writing and party-politics less, and his proper business more; which, I hope, time, will bjiug about.