(Oxford: John Henry Parker, 1845).
(Preached on the Sunday Evening, Nov. 2.)
PHIL. iii. 20, 21.
Our conversation is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious Body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself.
CAN then any thing be added to their bliss who have the sight of God? Nothing surely, as the source of their bliss; since He is the Blessed, overflowing Source of all good. Yet in some way can bliss be added to them, who now, eye to Eye, behold God. For it has ever been believed in the Church, that they who laid down their lives for Christ, "the noble army of martyrs," at once enjoyed the full presence of God. Holy Scripture tells us, how "they who were come out of great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb," "being slain for the Word of God and the testimony which they held," are "before the Throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His Temple." And yet these same souls, under the shadow of the Altar of God, to Whom they had offered their lives a sacrifice acceptable to Him, in union with His in Whom and through Whom they suffered, "cried with a loud voice, How long, O Lord holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them which dwell upon the earth." "What else is it" says a father, "for souls to utter the prayer for vengeance but to long for the Day of final Judgment, and the restoration of their lifeless bodies. For their great cry is their great longing." "And a white robe," it goes on "was given to every one of them, and it was said to them that they should rest for a little season, until their fellow-servants and their brethren that should be killed, as they were, should be fulfilled." Each had "a white robe," even holy and complete purity, and rest and the blessedness of the souls given them; for so our Lord had promised to them that should overcome, "the same shall be clothed with white raiment," "and they shall walk with Me in white;" the robe of immortality, and innocence and brightness, shining with the light of their Lord in His radiance, clad by Him and with Him, Who when in His Transfiguration He allowed some portion of His Essential Glory to stream forth, "His raiment was made white as snow." Yet have they not yet all which they shall have; for they are bid to "rest for a little season," and to wait until "the number of their fellow-servants should be fulfilled." Their waiting troubles not their rest; for they wait in the Presence of God, under the shadow of the Heavenly Altar, in the Light of His Countenance; their will is wholly one with the Will of God; their souls, perfected in His Presence, "cleave, in the bosom of their inmost secrecy to Him," and seeing light in His Light see all things which they see as He sees them. Of Him Whom they behold are they taught what to ask; and He Who has bid us pray, "Thy kingdom come," (whence we too pray, that "God would shortly accomplish the number of the Elect and hasten His kingdom,") wills that they should both ardently long for the end and the restoration of their bodies, and yet be satisfied with their present bliss and their knowledge that the rest shall be when He wills. The soul which really loves God, is happier far that things are as His Wisdom willeth and His Love chooseth for it, than if it had all which itself longeth for. And they, in the Presence of God, cannot, by any the faintest motion of their own will, which is now for ever made one with His, will for any thing except what they read in His bliss-giving Countenance that they should will. There they see His Will, and seeing are blest. So then, both because He willeth them, with the deep fervour of their longing, to pray for the end when His glory shall be fully revealed and Himself be All in all, they cry with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true?" and because they know that as yet He willeth it not, they too as yet will it not, and are at rest. They would love Him less, did they not desire with this burning longing, what shall be His full glory in His creation and in them. It were a less perfect will, if they longed that it should be ere He wills it. And He, to perfect His creatures, both willeth that it should be the sooner, on account of their prayers which He teacheth them, and that they should ardently long, and love the more for their ardent longing. So are they doubly perfected by the delay, in that they long the more, and yet that longing finds its rest in the hidden depths of His love and All-holy will. He bids them "rest awhile until the number of their brethren be fulfilled." And so they are blessed, both in the hope of the increase of their blessed Company, and in that the Glory of God is enlarged, and His Will fulfilled, both in the prayers which He teacheth, and the burning longings which He giveth, and the refreshment and rest which He infuseth, and the final consummation which He delayeth. And they shall receive large increase by the delay, in the number of those who, with them, shall joy in God, and whose joy they shall ever share, joying in beholding and loving God, in them as in themselves.
Yet for the time are they imperfect. Without us shall they not be perfect, nor yet without their own bodies. "It becometh not," says a holy writer, "that entire bliss should be given, until man to whom it is given shall be made entire; nor that the Church as yet imperfect [in the number of her members] should receive perfection." Such mysterious dignity hath God bestowed upon this poor body;--the Flesh which, sinless, God the Son vouchsafed to take, that without it the bliss of the blessed should not be perfect. How should it not be, that an exceeding mystery should belong to this poor, corruptible, suffering body, when He, Who is God, vouchsafed for ever to take it, in its real substance, although holy and undefiled, into God; to make our flesh the bond of union, between the Creator and the creature, taking it into Himself, and Himself now dwelling in our corruptible bodies? My brethren, let us think with reverence of the Body of our Lord, because of His exceeding love both in taking it and in glorifying it; so may we too have some thought of the glory of those who keep it undefiled, or, through penitence, have it restored to them, cleansed through His Precious Blood and conformed unto His.
"The Word became flesh;" not Itself changed into flesh or ceasing to be God, being the Unchangeable, nor changing the flesh into the Word, nor as confounded with the flesh, nor yet again merely joined to it, nor taking the flesh only, (for "flesh" here, as the "soul" elsewhere, in Holy Scripture denotes our whole nature; only, to shew the love and condescension of God, he speaks of that which is the basest part of us, and which we had most degraded.) These are the heresies of carnal men, stumbling at the humility, wherewith God would heal man's pride. He took our whole nature wholly; "took the manhood into God," uniting in His Divine Person our human nature with His own Divine. And what had our nature become? "Man being in honour and abiding not therein, was like unto the beasts that perish." Sin had made our flesh worse than a brute's nature. By nature we were the last of the rational creation; by sin, we had sunk below the irrational. And He the Creator came down and became as His creature. The Invisible God becomes seen of man and as Man; not ceasing to be in the Form of God, He hides It under the form of a servant. Incapable of suffering, He takes our weakness that He may suffer. He willeth to have all our sinless infirmities, pain, hunger, weariness, thirst, weakness, mortality, death. So wholly was His Godhead veiled, that the deceiver who had deceived the whole world, was himself deceived, and thought Him man, and slaying the Innocent, lost his hold of us the guilty. O marvellous device of Divine Wisdom and love, uniting things lowest with the Highest, human with Divine, through our nature, the least and last and sunken lower still, raising up the whole Universe unto union with Himself, encircling and enfolding all with His love, and knitting all in one; and that, through us! Present with all His creatures by nature; present, in a way above nature, with all holy beings, by grace; He would become present in our flesh, in a way more marvellous still, in His Person, by taking it into God. And so close is this union of the Godhead and the Manhood in the One Person of Christ, that what belongs to the Man may be said of God. For so Holy Scripture speaks of "the Blood of God," and "We preach Christ crucified, Christ the Power of God and the Wisdom of God'." Him Who was crucified, it calleth "the Wisdom of God, and the Power of God." These are the very elements of the faith; for the deepest mysteries are those "revealed unto babes." He then, the Uncreated Wisdom, was crucified; and, so in this exceedingness of mystery, we may say, "God died," "God suffered," "God was buried." For Christ was not divided, nor shall His Natures ever be. He is One Christ, God and Man; what He did, He did, being All Which He is; the works of God, He did as God; the sufferings for man, He endured as Man; yet in both One Christ. "So great an unity was made of either substance," says a father1, "that from the time that 'the Word was made Flesh' in the Blessed Virgin's womb, we may neither think of Him, as God without this which is Man, nor as Man without This Which is God. There is which could suffer, there is Which can receive no hurt; yet His is the shame Whose is the glory. He is in weakness, Who is in power; He is subject to death Who subdues it. God then did take to Him whole man, and so knit Himself to him and him into Himself in pity and in power, that either nature was in the other, and neither in the other lost what was its own." And so St. Paul says, "they crucified the Lord of glory;" and our Lord Himself says, "The Son of Man is in heaven", not because He was crucified in His Majesty, nor was at that time in heaven in His Human Nature, but that the Same Jesus Christ being God and Man, God by His Divinity, Man by taking the Flesh, "the Lord of Glory" was said to be "crucified," because He, Who was Both, in His Human Nature suffered, and He Who was "the Son of Man," as God, came down from heaven, and as God was still "in the Bosom of His Father," and was "in Heaven." And so all His works for our salvation were blended, the Word working that which was of the Word, the Flesh performing what was of the flesh. Both acted in one, though Each that which belonged to Each; as it has been set forth n by aid of created things, steel glowing with fire, cuts by the nature of steel, and burns through the indwelling fire which fills it. So our Lord called Lazarus with a human voice, but raised him as God; made clay with the spittle through the flesh, opened the blind eyes as God; suffered as Man, atoned as God. He made our human flesh, our whole human nature, His very own; so that His Flesh was the Flesh of God, the Body of God, essentially joined with His Divine Nature; so that all the actions or sufferings of His humiliation were the actions and sufferings of Almighty God, although, as God, He suffered not. "Himself," says a father, "removed from Suffering, yet willing for us to suffer, He clad Himself in a Body which could suffer, making It so His Own, that He might be said to suffer, since His own Body, not another's, suffered. All belonging to the Flesh, was His, since He was in It, and the works belonging to the Word, He wrought through His own Body." And so of His Human Name, the Name of His humility, it is said, that He was from eternity. "Jesus Christ the Same yesterday, to-day, and for ever." "Yesterday in His Divine, to-day in His Human Nature," yet in both the Same. And He Himself prayeth, "Father, glorify ME with that glory which I had with THEE before the world was." The Glory which He ever had as the Eternal Word, He had now too, although unseen. He, Who could not be bounded in space, nor severed from the Father, still was, He Himself says, "in the Bosom of the Father." He prays then that His Manhood should, after His Death and Resurrection, be in the same Glory at God's Right Hand, be in the essential Glory of God. And yet so truly is He, God and Man, One Christ, that He Who, as God, gave to His Manhood Its glorious gifts, prayed the Father, "glorify ME," that is, the Man Christ Jesus, "with that glory Which I," the Coeternal Coequal Son, ever "had with Thee," when in all eternity "the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
These thoughts are a safeguard against misbelief as to the Blessed Person of our Lord, which is around us now also, Satan tempting people to forget in the humble language as to His Manhood, that He ever was and is Almighty God, in the Manger, on the Cross, or when, as Man, He said, "My Father is greater than I;" or to imagine that God was united to the Man in a mere outward way; or again to be ashamed of His Manhood and confess Him only to be God; and not rather, "Ones Christ; Christ in the Form of God, Christ in the form of a Servant; Christ equal to the Father, Christ inferior to the Father; the Same, God, and the Same, Man."
But now I would think of them, brethren, not only for the exceeding mystery of the loving-kindness of God, Who, the Essence above all Essence, came down to take our clay, but for the high dignity which He has bestowed upon our dust, uniting it with Himself. If such was the glory in His humility, what is it now in such His Majesty! If, when His glory was veiled, still such was the hidden union, that God can be said to have endured whatever the Manhood endured, the Manhood to have done what God in It wrought; if, with a perfect human will, it was yet the Divine Nature in Him, which ruled and gave force to all His acts; if even, when for us He was "the scorn of men and outcast of the people," His inward Majesty drew to Him His disciples by a word, at a word His enemies fell to the ground; what must it now be, now that the Godhead is not veiled in the Manhood, but the Manhood filled, overstreamed, overpowered in the glory of the Godhead; Itself visibly, as in truth It ever was, in God, and Deified u! What must be that union with God, that the Flesh, although created, exists not as a creature but in the Word; that although perfect Man, It never had being, save in the Person of Christy; that Christ as Man, was not, as we are sons by adoption, but was by Nature the Son of God"; that the Flesh, being the Body of God, is worshipped with Divine worship in God, since Christ is not divided; and we, worshipping Him, separate not the Body from the Word, nor the Word from the Body, but worship our One Uncreated Lord, the Word, Who for our sakes, took the Manhood into Himself, the Only-Begotten with that holy Temple which He came and took.
And now what must be the glory of that Human Nature of our Redeeming Lord, in the full Majesty of the Godhead, so united with the Everlasting Son as to have no being but in Him, as part of Him, more closely united with Him, than our body to our soul, since our body and soul may and will be severed, It never shall; our soul and body are imperfect, He is Perfect God and Perfect Man; "our soul cannot be called the body, nor the body the soul;" in His Blessed Person, "God and Man are so One Christ, that God may be called Man, and Man God." Here, His Human Flesh was still liable to decay, although It was so raised that It saw not corruption; here, to pay our debts It was liable to all our sinless infirmities, the punishment of our sin; It could suffer hunger, thirst, weariness, yea even (had He not of His own Will laid down His life) grow old and die. Now It has passed into God. The truth of the Flesh remains; the glorious Scars plead for us in the sight of God; the sight of Them, radiant with that Light wherewith the Lamb is the Light of the Heavenly Jerusalem, shall fill our hearts with love and admiration for ever; but all which was corruptible is changed into incorruption, the mortal into immortality a Body, as before; yet, glorified with that glory which the Son had with the Father before the world was, "It is worshipped by the heavenly hosts."
And this for us! For was it for Himself that the Eternal Word, ever resting in the Father's Everlasting Love, with Him Coequal and Coeternal, took flesh, "the likeness of our flesh of sin," our miry clay, in Him sinless, in us to whom He was likened, steeped through and through in sin? "For us men and for our salvation" He "came down from heaven," to take our death and give us His Life; to take on Him our sin and give us His holiness; take our shame and give us His Glory. For us He came down, lived here, died, rose, ascended; for us is His Human Nature at God's Right Hand, that, "where I am," He saith, "there shall My servant be." "What," says a father, "shall man be, for whom God became man!"
To that glorious Body, brighter than the sun, shall, if we be His, our vile body be conformed, and that by the working of His Almighty Power. "He shall change," it says, "this our body of humiliation," change its fashion, and clothe it with another form, that it may be conformed to, and may be partner in the Form of His glorious Body; and that, "according to the working whereby He is able to subdue all things to Himself." To Whom shall this poor body be like? To Him "Who sitteth at the Right Hand of The Father," to Him Whom Angels adore, to Him before Whom stand the unembodied hosts, to Him Who is Himself by Nature the Image of the Everlasting Father, shall we through grace and glory be conformed; and, beholding His Essential Glory, be filled with It and reflect It, as It is indwelt by the Fulness of the Godhead?
Then shall all defilement, all shame, all trace of sin, all deformity, be taken away. "It is sown in corruption," says the Apostle, "it shall be raised in incorruption; it is sown in dishonour, it shall be raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it shall be raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it shall be raised a spiritual body." Great is the gift, that we should not again be liable to corruption, dishonour, weakness, but, instead, have bodies whose beauty can have no decay, whose glory cannot be dimmed, obedient to the spirit, and so themselves spiritual, excelling in might, mighty as the Angels. But how much more that this beauty and glory and might and spirituality of our bodies shall be the likeness to the glorious Body of Christ; that they shall shine with His brightness, be spiritual through His indwelling love, be incorruptible through His life in the spirit, be swift through His drawing to Himself! Blessed will it be to have all our senses, which are here abused to vanity, there reformed. Blessed with our bodily eyes to behold the Face of our Redeemer and the piercing beauty of His radiant scars and the glory of all our fellow-citizens in bliss, and with the inward eye to see God. Blessed to hear the sweet Voice of our Lord, Who here called His sheep by name, and the melody of the heavenly harps and the Seraphim singing Holy, Holy, Holy, all voices as one in the full accordance of the harmony of endless Halleluiahs, yet each h touching the ear with its own sweetness of love, while the inward ear heareth the Wisdom and Truth and Word of the Father. Blessed to perceive the fragrance of those heavenly odours from the golden vials, which, as St. John saw, each of the blessed held; and more blessed "the savour of that good ointment," which was shed through the whole world, for which "virgin" souls "have loved" Him, for which they have run; which when they had received they became themselves "the sweet savour of Christ," the Anointing which is the Holy Ghost, and "which shall draw us out of ourselves to the everlasting love of God." Blessed to taste the sweetness of God; sweetness which never decays, but over-streams the whole soul and draws forth the longings which it satisfies. Blessed--but how shall we in the flesh speak of that blessedness, when The Eternal Father shall enfold within Himself His returning prodigals, and they by cleaving to Him shall spiritually hold fast to, touch, God? "Truly is it a good thing to hold fast by God." "But what do I love," says S. Augustine, once a sinner, then, when converted, loving much God Who had recalled him to himself, "What do I love when I love Thee? Not beauty of bodies, nor the fair harmony of lime, nor the brightness of the light, so gladsome to our eyes, nor sweet melodies of varied songs, nor the fragrant smell of flowers, and ointments and spices, not manna and honey, not embracements of flesh. None of these I love, when I love my God. And yet I love a kind of light, and melody, and fragrance, and meat, and embracement when I love my God, the light, melody, fragrance, meat, embracement of my inner man: where there shineth unto my soul what space cannot contain, and there soundeth what time beareth not away, and there smelleth what breathing disperseth not, and there tasteth what eating diminisheth not, and there clingeth what satiety divorceth not. This is it which I love, when I love my God."
But, in this Ocean of bliss, surely it is the very bliss of bliss, that it shall not be by any power of our own, that we shall enjoy that bliss, but through the inflow of Divine love: that it shall be, not out of God but in God that we shall see, hear, feel God Whom here we "feel after," hold Him Whom here we follow after, love Him Whom now we hope for; that soul and body shall be, by His Indwelling Spirit, conformed to Himself; that "by the inworking of His Mighty Power" our bodies shall be "subdued into a likeness with Himself." As on Mount Tabor His sinless Flesh was transfigured, and the inherent Glory of His Godhead gleamed through the veil of His Flesh, and made It all radiant with a loving Brightness, bright as the Sun, (yet not as the Sun repelling but drawing the eyes of the disciples, so that Peter said, "Master, it is good for us to be here,") so in bliss, shall the bodies of the Blessed be filled with glory, be "transformed from glory to glory," "be made like unto His glorious Body," because they shall receive Himself, and His glory in them shall make their bodies like unto His own. Not for His own sake was that glory which ever resided in Him, the Glory of His Divine Person, allowed once to pierce through the Flesh which He for us had taken; nor for Himself after His Resurrection, was His Body, Which, before, once only walked on the water, removed above the laws of natural bodies, and He passed through closed doors; was seen, yet could not be discerned until He gave the power to see Him; came and vanished as a Spirit, yet not being merely Spirit but "Flesh of our flesh. Bone of our bone," as we are now by union with Him "members of His flesh and His bones." Not for Himself was it, (as not for Him but for us were all His Acts and Sufferings,) but that in Him, as in a glorious mirror, we might see a portion of the glory and the bliss in store for the righteous. Like His, shall their bodies, too, through His indwelling glory, shine like the Sun, in the firmament of the heaven; like His, shall their bodies also, when raised spiritual bodies, obey, unhindered, the spirit; their bodies too, not ceasing to be bodies, shall still have nothing of its earthly, sluggish nature, but shall, swift as the spirit itself, serving not hindering, obey God.
Such is our hope of glory, my brethren, even for these poor bodies. Blessed be His Goodness Who so cares for us, glorifies what in us is uncomely, dissolves what in us is decayed, abolishes what in us is defiled, that He may enrobe us with His own glory, giving us by Grace what we can receive of the Glory which He has by Nature, "the Glory of the Only-Begotten Son of God," through His Indwelling. For so He Himself said, "the glory which Thou gavest Me, have I given them, that they may be one even as we are One; I in them and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in One." In Him, by Nature, in us by grace; in Him Eternally, in us, in time; in Him, as Man by Personal Union, in us by In-dwelling; yet still that God should, in our degree, and as far as creatures are capable of, dwell in us, as He dwells in Him, our Head, Christ Jesus.
And-shall any of us then, whoever has so done, again defile like the brutes that perish, by open or secret sin, that flesh, which for our salvation our Blessed Lord took and placed at God's Right Hand? Shall we bury in corruption and the mire and filth of sin, the flesh which God gave us, that He might make it like unto the glorious Body of His own Son; to be His very members by union with Him; to belong to Him, to glorify Him Who so dearly bought it; to be the temples of the Holy Ghost by His indwelling, as the Human Nature of our Lord by union with It was the Temple of the Eternal Word? Will ye again debase, sinking from sin to sin, bodies which He created, redeemed, sanctified, to raise in Himself from glory to glory, from faith to sight, and be filled with His glory?--more glorious far than the earthly Sun, for that shines by created light, the bodies of the saints in bliss shall shine with Uncreated Light; the Light Which shall ever shine upon them, and which they shall reflect; the Light which' shall ever shine within them through the indwelling of God. The sun is a mere creature", the soul of the righteous shall be united with God, and His Glory shall fill His temple, the body.
What ye seek then, is not here. Ye seek, as it may be beauty, or health, or life, or contentment, or ease, or sweetness, or love, or power, or transporting joy and bliss; for, bliss all seek. Why seek ye it here where it abideth not, and seek it not where it abideth? "Why seek ye the living among the dead," and life "in the land of the shadow of death,"--riches which burn out the flesh; beauty which decays; dead and deadening pleasures, which banish from the soul its Life Who is God, and deliver over to the second death? Why seek ye joy, where your Lord is not, and not where He is, that ye may enter into His joy?
"Oh!" says a holy man", once the chief pastor of this our Church, "what shall they have, what shall they not have, who shall enjoy this Good? They shall have whatsoever they will; not have, whatsoever they will not. For good will there be there of body and soul, which 'eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor heart of man conceived.' Why then wander up and down, thou hapless man, among manifold things, seeking good things for thy soul and body? Love that One Good, in Whom is all good, and it sufficeth. Desire that simple Good Which is all Good, and it is enough. For what longest thou, my flesh? for what longest thou, my soul? There, there, is all ye love, all ye long for. Doth beauty please? 'The righteous shall shine like the sun.' Or speed, or strength, or freedom of body, which nought can let? ' They shall be like the Angels of God;' for 'it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body,' in power, though not in nature. Or long and healthful life? There, is heathful eternity and eternal health; for 'the just shall live for ever,' and 'the health of the righteous is from the Lord.' Or fulness? 'They shall be satisfied, when they awake after His likeness.' Or ebriety? ' They shall be out of themselves with the richness of the house of God.' Or melody? There the choirs of Angels sing in unbroken harmony to God. Or any, not impure, but pure pleasures? ' God shall give them to drink of the river of His pleasure.' Or wisdom? The Very Wisdom of God shall manifest itself unto them. Or friendship? They shall love God, more than themselves, each other as themselves; and God shall love them more than they themselves; for they shall love Him, themselves, each other, through Him; He them and Himself by Himself. Or concord? They shall all have one will; for they shall have no will, but only God's. Or power? They shall have all power over their own will, as God over His. For as God can what He willeth, by Himself, so shall they what they will, by Him; for as they shall will no other than what He, so He shall will whatsoever they will; and what He willeth, cannot but be. Or honour and riches? God shall set His 'good and faithful servants, over many things;' yea they shall be called 'sons of God' and ' gods;' and where His Son shall be, there shall they too be, 'heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.' Or true security? Sure shall they be that these, yea That Good, shall never fail them; since neither of their will, will they let Him go; nor against their will, will God Who loveth withdraw that Good from them; nor ought more powerful than God sever, against the wills of both, 'twixt God and them. But what and how great shall be the joy, where such and so great is the Good! O thou heart of man, thou poor, longing, aching, sorrowing, overwhelmed, heart of man, how wouldest thou joy, hadst thou all this! Ask thine inmost self, could it contain its joy at such its bliss? But if one whom thou altogether lovedst as thyself, also had this bliss, thy bliss would be doubled; for thou wouldest joy for him not less than for thyself. But if two or three or many more had that same joy, thou wouldest joy for each, as much as for thyself, if thou lovedst each as thyself. So then in that perfect love of countless Blessed, Angels and men, where none shall love another less than himself, each shall joy for each as for himself. If then the heart of man could scarce contain his own joy at such his own Good, how shall it so many, so great joys? And since as each joyeth in another's joy in the degree he loves him, so in that perfect bliss, as each shall love God incomparably more than himself and all else with him, so beyond compare shall he joy in the bliss of God more than in his own and all beside. But if they shall so love God with the whole heart, whole mind, whole soul, that yet the whole heart, whole mind, whole soul suffice not for the dignity of that love, they shall so love with the whole heart, whole mind, whole soul, that the whole heart, whole mind, whole soul, suffice not for the fulness of the joy.
"O my Lord and my God, my hope and joy of my heart, say to our souls, is this the joy whereof Thou tellest us by Thy Son, 'Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be fall.' This joy is full and more than full. For when the whole heart, whole mind, whole soul, whole man, shall be full of that joy, still shall it, beyond measure, overflow. Not into those who joy shall that joy wholly enter, but they who joy shall wholly enter into that joy. Lord, say to Thy servant within, in his heart, if this is the joy into which Thy servants shall enter, who shall 'enter into the joy of their Lord.' But truly the joy of Thine elect 'eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor heart of man conceived.' I have not then said, as yet, or thought, O Lord, how much Thy blessed shall joy. Surely their joy shall be great as their love, and their love as they shall know Thee. How much, Lord, shall they know Thee then? how much love Thee? Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor heart of man conceived' in this life, how much in that life they shall know Thee, shall love Thee.
"We pray Thee, Lord, let us know Thee, let us love Thee, that we may joy in Thee. And if we cannot fully in this life, let us at least advance daily, until it come to the full; let our knowledge of Thee advance, that there it may be full; the love of Thee grow, and there be full; that here our joy may in hope be great, and there in deed be full.
"Lord, by Thy Son Thou commandest, yea, counsellest to 'ask;' and promisest that we 'shall receive, that our joy may be full. I 'ask,' Lord, what Thou counsellest by the 'Wonderful Counsellor;' may I ' receive' what Thou promisest by Thy Truth, 'that my joy may be full.'
"O God of Truth, we ask; may we receive, that our joy may be full.' Thereof meanwhile may our mind meditate; thereof our tongue speak; this our heart love, our soul hunger, our flesh thirst after, our whole substance long for; until we enter into the joy of our Lord, the Trinity in Unity, God Blessed for evermore." Amen.
O God, Whose Blessed Son was manifested that He might destroy the works of the devil, and make us the sons of God, and heirs of eternal life; Grant us, we beseech Thee, that, having this hope, we may purify ourselves, even as He is pure; that, when He shall appear again with power and great glory, we may be made like unto Him in His eternal and glorious Kingdom; where with Thee, O Father, and Thee, O Holy Ghost, He liveth and reigneth, ever One God, world without end. Amen.