December 14, 2005

Edwards on Heaven

"Every saint in heaven is as a flower in the garden of God, and holy love is the fragrance and sweet odor that they all send forth, and with which they fill the bowers of that paradise above. Every soul there is as a note in some concert of delightful music, that sweetly harmonizes with every other note, and all together blend in the most rapturous strains in praising God and the Lamb forever."

The New Dictionary of Thoughts, page 267.

On degrees of blessedness, he said:

"The saints are like so many vessels of different sizes cast into a sea of happiness where every vessel is full: this is eternal life, for a man ever to have his capacity filled."

Works 2:630. Also quoted in John Gerstner's book, Jonathan Edwards: A Mini-Theology (Tyndale, 1987), page 113.

"to pretend to describe the excellence, the greatness or duration of the happiness of heaven by the most artful composition of words would be but to darken and cloud it, to talk of raptures and ecstacies, joy and singing, is but to set forth very low shadows of the reality, and all we can say by our best rhetoric is really and truly, vastly below what is but the bare and naken truth, and if St. Paul who had seen them, thought it but in vain to endeavor to utter it much less shall we pretend to do it, and the Scriptures have gone as high in the descriptions of it as we are able to keep pace with it in our imaginations and conception..."

John Gerstner, Jonathan Edwards on Heaven and Hell (Soli Deo Gloria, 1998), page 12-13. This small book (93 pages total) is well worth getting. For the deepest thinking on the subjects of heaven and hell, one cannot do better than Edwards (not that I agree with all of his views). Most systematic theology texts do not adequately deal with these subjects.

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