Heaven, A World of Charity Or Love
AUTHOR: Edwards, Jonathan
PUBLISHED ON: May 12, 2003

Sermons of Jonathan Edwards preached from the First Christian Church, Northampton, MA &
other pulpits across Puritan New England from 1731-1758

Heaven, A World Of Charity Or Love

                                      1 Corinthians 13:8-10
   Charity never faileth: 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

FROM the first of these verses, I have already drawn the doctrine, that that great fruit of the
Spirit in which the Holy Ghost shall not only for a season, but everlastingly, be communicated to
the church of Christ, is charity or divine love. And now I would consider the same verse in
connection with the two that follow it, and upon the three verses would make two observations.

    First, that it is mentioned as one great excellence of charity, that it shall remain when all other
fruits of the Spirit have failed. And,

    Second, that this will come to pass in the perfect state of the church, when that which is in part
shall be done away, and that which is perfect is come.

    There is a twofold imperfect, and so a twofold perfect state of the Christian church. The
church in its beginning, or in its first stage, before it was strongly established in the world, and
settled in its New Testament state, and before the canon of Scripture was completed, was in an
imperfect state a state, as it were, of childhood, in comparison with what it was to be in its
elder and later ages, when it should have reached its state of manhood, or of comparative
earthly perfection. And so, again, this comparatively perfect church of Christ, so long as it
remains in its militant state, that is, down to the end of time, will still be in an imperfect, and, as
it were, in a childish state, in comparison with what it will be in its heavenly state, in which latter
it is comparatively in its state of manhood or perfection.

    And so there is a twofold failing of these miraculous gifts of the Spirit here mentioned. One
was at the end of the first or infant age of the church, when the canon of Scripture was
completed, and so there was to be no need of such gifts for the church in its latter ages, when it
should have put away childish things, and come to a state of manhood before the end of the
world, and when the Spirit of God should most gloriously be poured out and manifested in that
love or charity, which is its greatest and everlasting fruit. And the other will be, when all the
common fruits of the Spirit cease with respect to particular persons at death, and with .respect to
the whole church at the end of the world, while charity shall still remain in heaven, and there the
Spirit of God shall be poured forth and manifested in perfect love in every heart to all eternity.

    The apostle, in the context, seems to have respect to both these states of the church, but
especially to the latter. For though the glorious state of the church in its latter age on earth, will
be perfect in comparison with its former state, yet its state in heaven is that state of the church to
which the expressions of the apostle seem most agreeable, when he says, “When that which is
perfect is come,” etc., and, “Now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face; now I
know in part, but then shall I know even as also I am known.” The doctrine, then, that I would
draw from the text is, that

                            HEAVEN IS A WORLD OF CHARITY OR LOVE.

    The apostle speaks, in the text, of a state of the church when it is perfect in heaven, and
therefore a state in which the Holy Spirit shall be more perfectly and abundantly given to the
church than it is now on earth. But the way in which it shall be given when it is so abundantly
poured forth, will be in that great fruit of the Spirit, holy and divine love, in the hearts of all the
blessed inhabitants of that world. So that the heavenly state of the church is a state that is
distinguished from its earthly state, as it is that state which God has designed especially for such
a communication of his Holy Spirit, and in which it shall be given perfectly, whereas, in the
present state of the church, it is given with great imperfection. And it is also a state in which this
holy love or charity shall be, as it were, the only gift or fruit of the Spirit, as being the most
perfect and glorious of all, and which, being brought to perfection, renders all other gifts that
God was wont to bestow on his church on earth, needless. And that we may the better see how
heaven is thus a world of holy love, I would consider, first, the great cause and fountain of love
that is in heaven; second, the objects of love that it contains; third, the subjects of that love;
fourth, its principle, or the love itself; fifth, the excellent circumstances in which it is there
exercised and expressed and enjoyed; and, sixth, the happy effects and fruits of all this. And,

    I. The CAUSE and FOUNTAIN of love in heaven. Here I remark that the God of love
himself dwells in heaven. Heaven is the palace or presence-chamber of the high and holy One,
whose name is love, and who is both the cause and source of all holy love. God, considered with
respect to his essence, is everywhere he fills both heaven and earth. But yet he is said, in some
respects, to be more especially in some places than in others. He was said of old to dwell in the
land of Israel, above all other lands; and in Jerusalem, above all other cities of that land; and in
the temple, above all other buildings in the city; and in the holy of holies, above all other
apartments of the temple; and on the mercy seat, over the ark of the covenant, above all other
places in the holy of holies. But heaven is his dwelling-place above all other places in the
universe; and all those places in which he was said to dwell of old, were but types of this.
Heaven is a part of creation that God has built for this end, to be the place of his glorious
presence, and it is his abode forever; and here will he dwell, and gloriously manifest himself to
all eternity.

    And this renders heaven a world of love; for God is the fountain of love, as the sun is the
fountain of light. And therefore the glorious presence of God in heaven, fills heaven with love, as
the sun, placed in the midst of the visible heavens in a clear day, fills the world with light. The
apostle tells us that “God is love;” and therefore, seeing he is an infinite being, it follows that he
is an infinite fountain of love. Seeing he is an all-sufficient being, it follows that he is a full
and over-flowing, and inexhaustible fountain of love. And in that he is an unchangeable and
eternal being, he is an unchangeable and eternal fountain of love.

    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! Again, I would consider heaven, with regard,


    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. 

  And not only shall all objects in heaven be lovely, but,

    2. They shall be perfectly lovely. There are many things in this world that in the general are
lovely, but yet are not perfectly free from that which is the contrary. There are spots on the sun;
and so there are many men that are most amiable and worthy to be loved, who yet are not without
some things that are disagreeable and unlovely. Often there is in good men some defect of
temper, or character, or conduct, that mars the excellence of what otherwise would seem most
amiable; and even the very best of men, are, on earth, imperfect. But it is not so in heaven. There
shall be no pollution, or deformity, or unamiable defect of any kind, seen in any person or thing;
but everyone shall be perfectly pure, and perfectly lovely in heaven. That blessed world shall be
perfectly bright, without any darkness; perfectly fair, without any spot; perfectly clear, without
any cloud. No moral or natural defect shall ever enter there; and there nothing will be seen that is
sinful or weak or foolish; nothing, the nature or aspect of which is coarse or displeasing, or that
can offend the most refined taste or the most delicate eye. No string shall there vibrate out of
tune, to cause any jar in the harmony of the music of heaven; and no note be such as to make
discord in the anthems of saints and angels.

    The great God who so fully manifests himself there, is perfect with an absolute and infinite
perfection. The Son of God, who is the brightness of the Father’s glory, appears there in the
fullness of his glory, without that garb of outward meanness in which he appeared in this world.
The Holy Ghost shall there be poured forth with perfect richness and sweetness, as a pure river of
the water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.
And every member of that holy and blessed society shall be without any stain of sin, or
imperfection, or weakness, or imprudence, or blemish of any kind. The whole church, ransomed
and purified, shall there be presented to Christ, as a bride, clothed in fine linen, clean and white,
without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. Wherever the inhabitants of that blessed world shall
turn their eyes, they shall see nothing but dignity, and beauty, and glory. The most stately cities
on earth, however magnificent their buildings, yet have their foundations in the dust, and their
streets dirty and defiled, and made to be trodden under foot; but the very streets of this heavenly
city are of pure gold, like unto transparent glass, and its foundations are of precious stones, and
its gates are pearls. And all these are but faint emblems of the purity and perfectness of those that
dwell therein. And in heaven,

    3. Shall be all those objects that the saints have set their hearts upon, and which they have
loved above all things while in this world. There they will find those things that appeared most
lovely to them while they dwelt on earth; the things that met the approbation of their judgments,
and captivated their affections, and drew away their souls from the most dear and pleasant of
earthly objects. There they will find those things that were their delight here below, and on
which they rejoiced to meditate, and with the sweet contemplation of which their minds were
often entertained; and there, too, the things which they chose for their portion, and which were so
dear to them that they were ready for the sake of them to undergo the severest sufferings, and to
forsake even father, and mother, and kindred, and friends, and wife, and children, and life itself.
All the truly great and good, all the pure and holy and excellent from this world, and it may be
from every part of the universe, are constantly tending toward heaven. As the streams tend to the
ocean, so all these are tending to the great ocean of infinite purity and bliss. The progress of time
does but bear them on to its blessedness; and us, if we are holy, to be united to them there. Every
gem which death rudely tears away from us here is a glorious jewel forever shining there; every
Christian friend that goes before us from this world, is a ransomed spirit waiting to welcome us
in heaven. There will be the infant of days that we have lost below, through grace to be
found above; there the Christian father, and mother, and wife, and child, and friend, with whom
we shall renew the holy fellowship of the saints, which was interrupted by death here, but shall
be commenced again in the upper sanctuary, and then shall never end. There we shall have
company with the patriarchs and fathers and saints of the Old and New Testaments, and those of
whom the world was not worthy, with whom on earth we were only conversant by faith. And
there, above all, we shall enjoy and dwell with God the Father, whom we have loved with all our
hearts on earth; and with Jesus Christ, our beloved Savior, who has always been to us the chief
among ten thousands, and altogether lovely; and with the Holy Ghost, our Sanctifier, and Guide,
and Comforter; and shall be filled with all the fullness of the Godhead forever!

    And such being the objects of love in heaven, I pass,

    III. To its subjects; and these are, the hearts in which it dwells. In every heart in heaven,
love dwells and reigns. The heart of God is the original seat or subject of love. Divine love is in
him, not as in a subject that receives it from another, but as in its original seat, where it is of
itself. Love is in God, as light is in the sun, which does not shine by a reflected light, as the moon
and planets do, but by its own light, and as the great fountain of light. And from God, love
flows out toward all the inhabitants of heaven. It flows out, in the first place, necessarily and
infinitely, toward his only-begotten Son; being poured forth, without mixture, as to an object that
is infinite, and so fully adequate to all the fullness of a love that is infinite. And this infinite love
is infinitely exercised toward him. Not only does the fountain send forth streams to this object,
but the very fountain itself wholly and altogether goes out toward him. And the Son of God
is not only the infinite object of love, but he is also an infinite subject of it. He is not only the
beloved of the Father, but he infinitely loves him. The infinite essential love of God, is, as it
were, an infinite and eternal, mutual, holy, energy between the Father and the Son: a pure and
holy act, whereby the Deity becomes, as it were, one infinite and unchangeable emotion of love
proceeding from both the Father and the Son. This divine love has its seat in the Deity,
as it is exercised within the Deity, or in God toward himself.

    But this love is not confined to such exercises as these. It flows out in innumerable streams
toward all the created inhabitants of heaven, to all the saints and angels there. The love of God
the Father flows out toward Christ the head, and to all the members through him, in whom they
were beloved before the foundation of the world, and in whom the Father’s love was expressed
toward them in time, by his death and sufferings, as it now is fully manifested in heaven.
And the saints and angels are secondarily the subjects of holy love, not as those in whom it is as
in an original seat, as light is in the sun, but as it is in the planets, that shine only by reflected
light. And the light of their love is reflected in the first place, and chiefly, back to its great
source. As God has given the saints and angels love, so their love is chiefly exercised towards
God its fountain, as is most reasonable. They all love God with a supreme love. There is no
enemy of God in heaven; but all, as his children, love him as their Father. They are all united,
with one mind, to breathe forth their whole souls in love to God their eternal Father, and to Jesus
Christ their common Redeemer, and head, and friend.

    Christ loves all his saints in heaven. His love flows out to his whole church there, and to every
individual member of it. And they all, with one heart and one soul, unite in love to their common
Redeemer. Every heart is wedded to this holy and spiritual husband, and all rejoice in him, while
the angels join them in their love. And the angels and saints all love each other. All the members
of the glorious society of heaven are sincerely united. There is not a single secret or open enemy
among them all. Not a heart is there that is not full of love, and not a solitary inhabitant that is
not beloved by all the others. And as all are lovely, so all see each other’s loveliness with full
complacence and delight. Every soul goes out in love to every other; and among all the blessed
inhabitants, love is mutual, and full, and eternal. I pass next to speak, as proposed,

    IV. Of the principle of love in heaven. And by this I mean, the love itself that fills and
blesses the heavenly world, and which may be noticed both as to its nature and degree. And,

    1. As to its nature. In its nature, this love is altogether holy and divine. Most of the love that
there is in this world is of an unhallowed nature. But the love that has place in heaven is not
carnal but spiritual. It does not proceed from corrupt principles or selfish motives, nor is it
directed to mean and vile purposes and ends.  As opposed to all this, it is a pure flame, directed
by holy motives, and aiming at no ends inconsistent with God’s glory and the happiness of the
universe. The saints in heaven love God for his own sake, and each other for God’s sake, and for
the sake of the relation that they have to him, and the image of God that is upon them. All their
love is pure and holy. We may notice this love, also,

    2. As to its degree. And in degree it is perfect. The love that dwells in the heart of God is
perfect, with an absolutely infinite and divine perfection. The love of angels and saints to God
and Christ, is perfect in its kind, or with such a perfection as is proper to their nature. It is perfect
with a sinless perfection, and perfect in that it is commensurate to the capacities of their nature.
So it is said in the text, that “when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be
done away.” Their love shall be without any remains of any contrary principle, having no pride
or selfishness to interrupt it or hinder its exercises. Their hearts shall be full of love. That which
was in the heart on earth as but a grain of mustard-seed, shall be as a great tree in heaven. The
soul that in this world had only a little spark of divine love in it, in heaven shall be, as it were,
turned into a bright and ardent flame, like the sun in its fullest brightness, when it has no spot
upon it.

    In heaven there shall be no remaining enmity, or distaste, or coldness, or deadness of heart
towards God and Christ. Not the least remainder of any principle of envy shall exist to be
exercised toward angels or other beings who are superior in glory; nor shall there be aught like
contempt or slighting of those who are inferiors. Those that have a lower station in glory than
others, suffer no diminution of their own happiness by seeing others above them in glory. On
the contrary, all the members of that blessed society rejoice in each other’s happiness, for the
love of benevolence is perfect in them all. Every one has not only a sincere, but a perfect
goodwill to every other. Sincere and strong love is greatly gratified and delighted in the
prosperity of the beloved object; and if the love be perfect, the greater the prosperity of the
beloved is, the more is the lover pleased and delighted; for the prosperity of the beloved is, as it
were, the food of love, and therefore the greater that prosperity, the more richly is love feasted.
The love of benevolence is delighted in beholding the prosperity of another, as the love of
complacence is, in beholding the beauty or perfection of another. So that the superior prosperity
of those that are higher in glory, is so far from being a hindrance to the degree of love felt toward
them, that it is an addition to it, or a part of it.

    There is undoubtedly an inconceivably pure, sweet, and fervent love between the saints in
glory; and that love is in proportion to the perfection and amiableness of the objects beloved, and
therefore it must necessarily cause delight in them when they see that the happiness and glory of
others are in proportion to their amiableness, and so in proportion to their love to them. Those
that are highest in glory, are those that are highest in holiness, and therefore are those that
are most beloved by all the saints; for they most love those that are most holy, and so they will
all rejoice in their being the most happy. And it will not be a grief to any of the saints to see those
that are higher than themselves in holiness and likeness to God, more loved also than themselves,
for all shall have as much love as they desire, and as great manifestations of love as they can
bear; and so all shall be filly satisfied; and where there is perfect satisfaction, there can be no
reason for envy. And there will be no temptation for any to envy those that are above them in
glory, on account of the latter being lifted up with pride; for there will be no pride in heaven. We
are not to conceive that those who are more holy and happy than others in heaven, will be elated
and lifted up in their spirit above others; for those who are above others in holiness, will be
superior to them in humility. The saints that are highest in glory will be the lowest in humbleness
of mind, for their superior humility is part of their superior holiness. Though all are perfectly free
from pride, yet, as some will have greater degrees of divine knowledge than others, and larger
capacities to see more of the divine perfections, so they will see more of their own comparative
littleness and nothingness, and therefore will be lowest and most abased in humility.

And, besides, the inferior in glory will have no temptation to envy those that are higher than
themselves, for those that are highest will not only be more loved by the lower for their higher
holiness, but they will also have more of the spirit of love to others, and so will love those that
are below them more than if their own capacity and elevation were less. They that are highest in
degree in glory, will be of the highest capacity; and so having the greatest knowledge, will see
most of God’s loveliness, and consequently will have love to God and love to the saints most
abounding in their hearts. And on this account those that are lower in glory will not envy those
that are above them, because they will be most beloved by those that are highest in glory. And
the superior in glory will be so far from slighting those that are inferior, that they will have most
abundant love to them greater degrees of love in proportion to their superior knowledge and
happiness. The higher any are in glory, the more they are like Christ in this respect, so that the
love of the higher to the lower will be greater than the love of the equals of the latter to them.
And what puts it beyond all doubt that seeing the superior happiness of others will not be a damp
to the happiness of the inferior, is this, that their superior happiness consists in their greater
humility, and in their greater love to them, and to God, and to Christ, than the inferior will have
in themselves. Such will be the sweet and perfect harmony among the heavenly saints, and such
the perfect love reigning in every heart toward every other, without limit or alloy, or interruption;
and no envy, or malice, or revenge, or contempt, or selfishness shall ever enter there, but all such
feelings shall be kept as far away as sin is from holiness, and as hell is from heaven! Let us next
     V. The excellent circumstances in which love shall be exercised and blessed, and enjoyed in
heaven. And,

    1. Love in heaven is always mutual. It is always met with answerable returns of lovewith
returns that are proportioned to its exercise. Such returns, love always seeks; and just in
proportion as any person is beloved, in the same proportion is his love desired and prized. And in
heaven this desire of love, or this fondness for being loved, will never fail of being satisfied. No
inhabitants of that blessed world will ever be grieved with the thought that they are slighted by
those that they love, or that their love is not fully and fondly returned. 
    As the saints will love God with an inconceivable ardency of heart, and to the utmost of their
capacity, so they will know that he has loved them from all eternity, and still loves them, and will
continue to love them  forever. And God will then gloriously manifest himself to them, and they
shall know that all that happiness and glory which they are possessed of, are the fruits of his love.
And with the same ardor and fervency will the saints love the Lord Jesus Christ; and their love
will be accepted; and they shall know that he has loved them with a faithful, yea, even with a
dying love. They shall then be more sensible than now they are, what great love it manifested in
Christ that he should lay down his life for them; and then will Christ open to their view the great
fountain of love in his heart for them, beyond all that they ever saw before. Hereby the love of
the saints to God and Christ is seen to he reciprocated, and that declaration fulfilled, “I love them
that love me;” and though the love of God to them cannot properly be called the return of love,
because he loved them first, yet the sight of his love will, on that very account, the more fill them
with joy and admiration, and love to him.

    The love of the saints, one to another, will always be mutual and reciprocated, though we
cannot suppose that everyone will, in all respects, be equally beloved. Some of the saints are
more beloved of God than others, even on earth. The angel told Daniel that he was “a man
greatly beloved” (Dan. 9:23); and Luke is called “the beloved physician” (Col. 4:14); and John,
“the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 20:2). And so, doubtless, those that have been most
eminent in fidelity and holiness, and that are highest in glory, are most beloved by Christ in
heaven; and doubtless those saints that are most beloved of Christ, and that are nearest to him in
glory, are most beloved by all the other saints. Thus we may conclude that such saints as the
apostle Paul and the apostle John are more beloved by the saints in heaven than other saints of
lower rank. They are more beloved by lower saints than those of equal rank with themselves. But
then there are answerable returns of love in these cases; for as such are more beloved by all
other saints, so they are fuller of love to other saints The heart of Christ, the great Head of all the
saints, is more full of love than the heart of any saint can be. He loves all the saints far more than
any of them love each other. But the more any saint is loved of him, the more is that saint like
him, in this respect, that the fuller his heart is of love.

    2. The joy of heavenly love shall never be interrupted or damped by jealousy. Heavenly
lovers will have no doubt of the love of each other. They shall have no fear that the declarations
and professions of love are hypocritical; but shall be perfectly satisfied of the sincerity and
strength of each other’s affection, as much as if there were a window in every breast, so that
everything in the heart could be seen. There shall be no such thing as flattery or dissimulation in
heaven, but there perfect sincerity shall reign through all and in all. Every one will be just what
he seems to be, and will really have all the love that he seems to have. It will not be as in this
world, where comparatively few things are what they seem to be, and where professions are often
made lightly and without meaning; but there every expression of love shall come from the
bottom of the heart, and all that is professed shall be really and truly felt. 

    The saints shall know that God loves them, and they shall never doubt the greatness of his
love, and they shall have no doubt of the love of all their fellow inhabitants in heaven. And they
shall not be jealous of the constancy of each other’s love. They shall have no suspicion that the
love which others have felt toward them is abated, or in any degree withdrawn from themselves
for the sake of some rival, or by reason of anything in themselves which they suspect is
disagreeable to others, or through any inconstancy in their own hearts or the hearts of others. Nor
will they be in the least afraid that the love of any will ever be abated toward them. There shall
be no such thing as inconstancy and unfaithfulness in heaven, to molest and disturb the
friendship of that blessed society. The saints shall have no fear that the love of God will ever
abate towards them, or that Christ will not continue always to love them with unabated
tenderness and affection. And they shall have no jealousy one of another, but shall know that by
divine grace the mutual love that exists between them shall never decay nor change.

    3. There shall be nothing within themselves to clog or hinder the saints in heaven in the
exercises and expressions of love. In this world the saints find much to hinder them in this
respect. They have a great deal of dullness and heaviness. They carry about with them a
heavy-molded body a clod of earth a mass of flesh and blood that is not fitted to be the
organ for a soul inflamed with high exercises of divine love; but which is found a great clog and
hindrance to the spirit, so that they cannot express their love to God as they would, and cannot be
so active and lively in it as they desire. Often they fain would fly, but they are held down as with
a dead weight upon their wings. Fain would they be active, and mount up, as a flame of fire, but
they find themselves, as it were, hampered and chained down, so that they cannot do as their love
inclines them to do. Love disposes them to burst forth in praise, but their tongues are not
obedient; they want words to express the ardency of their souls, and cannot order their speech
by reason of darkness (Job 37:19); and often, for want of expressions, they are forced to content
themselves with groanings that cannot be uttered (Rom. 8:26).

    But in heaven they shall have no such hindrance. There they will have no dullness and
unwieldiness, and no corruption of heart to war against divine love, and hinder its expressions;
and there no earthly body shall clog with its heaviness the heavenly flame. The saints in heaven
shall have no difficulty in expressing all their love. Their souls being on fire with holy love shall
not be like a fire pent up, but like a flame uncovered and at liberty. Their spirits, being winged
with love, shall have no weight upon them to hinder their flight. There shall be no want of
strength or activity, nor any want of words wherewith to praise the object of their affection.
Nothing shall hinder them from communing with God, and praising and serving him just as their
love inclines them to do. Love naturally desires to express itself; and in heaven the love of the
saints shall be at full liberty to express itself as it desires, whether it be towards God or to
created beings.

    4. In heaven love will be expressed with perfect decency and wisdom. Many in this world
that are sincere in their hearts, and have indeed a principle of true love to God and their neighbor,
yet have not discretion to guide them in the manner and circumstances of expressing it. Their
intentions, and so their speeches, are good, but often not suitably timed, nor discreetly ordered as
to circumstances, but are attended with an indiscreetness that greatly obscures the loveliness of
grace in the eyes of others. But in heaven the amiableness and excellence of their love shall not
be obscured by any such means. There shall be no indecent or unwise or dissonant speeches or
actions no foolish and sentimental fondness no needless officiousness no low or sinful
propensities of passion and no such thing as affections clouding or deluding reason, or going
before or against it. But wisdom and discretion shall be as perfect in the saints as love is, and
every expression of their love shall be attended with the most amiable and perfect decency and
discretion and wisdom.

    5. There shall be nothing external in heaven to keep its inhabitants at a distance from each
other, or to hinder their most perfect enjoyment of each other’s love. There shall be no wall of
separation in heaven to keep the saints asunder, nor shall they be hindered from the full and
complete enjoyment of each other’s love by distance of habitation; for they shall all be together,
as one family, in their heavenly Father’s house. Nor shall there be any want of full acquaintance
to hinder the greatest possible intimacy; and much less shall there be any misunderstanding
between them, or misinterpreting things that are said or done by each other. There shall be no
disunion through difference of temper, or manners, or circumstances, or from various opinions,
or interests, or feelings, or alliances; but all shall be united in the same interests, and all alike
allied to the same Savior, and all employed in the same business, serving and glorifying the same

    6. In heaven all shall be united together in very near and dear relations Love always seeks a
near relation to the one who is beloved; and in heaven they shall all be nearly allied and related
to each other. All shall be nearly related to  God the supreme object of their love, for they shall
all be his children. And all shall be nearly related to Christ, for he shall be the head of the whole
society, and the husband of the whole Church of saints, all of whom together shall constitute his
spouse. And they shall all be related to each other as brethren, for all will be but one society, or
rather but one family, and all members of the household of God. And more than this,

    7. In heaven all shall have property and ownership in each other. Love seeks to have the
beloved its own; and divine love rejoices in saying, “My beloved is mine, and I am his.” And in
heaven all shall not only be related one to another, but they shall be each other’s, and belong to
each other. The saints shall be God’s. He brings them home to himself in glory, as that part of the
creation that he has chosen for his peculiar treasure. And on the other hand, God shall be theirs,
made over to them in an everlasting covenant in this world, and now they shall be forever in full
possession of him as their portion. And so the saints shall be Christ’s, for he has bought them
with a price; and he shall be theirs, for he that gave himself for them will have given himself to
them; and in the bonds of mutual and everlasting love, Christ and the saints will have given
themselves to each other. And as God and Christ shall be the saints’, so the angels shall be their
angels, as is intimated in Mat. 18:10; and the saints shall be one another’s, for the apostle speaks
(2 Cor. 8:5) of the saints in his days, as first giving themselves to the Lord, and then to one
another by the will of God; and if this is done on earth, it will be more perfectly done in heaven.

    8. In heaven they shall enjoy each other’s love in perfect and uninterrupted prosperity. What
often on earth alloys the pleasure and sweetness of worldly pleasure, is, that though persons live
in love, yet they live in poverty, or meet with great difficulties and sore afflictions, whereby they
are grieved for themselves and for one another. For, though in such cases love and friendship in
some respects lighten the burden to be borne, yet in other respects they rather add to its weight,
because those that love each other become, by their very love, sharers in each other’s afflictions,
so that each has not only his own trials to bear, but those also of his afflicted friends. But there
shall be no adversity in heaven, to give occasion for a pitiful grief of spirit, or to molest or
disturb those who are heavenly friends in the enjoyment of each other’s friendship. But they shall
enjoy one another’s love in the greatest prosperity, and in glorious riches and comfort, and in the
highest honor and dignity, reigning together in the heavenly kingdom inheriting all things,
sitting on thrones, all wearing crowns of life, and being made kings and priests unto God forever.

    Christ and his disciples, while on earth, were often together in affliction and trial, and they
kept up and manifested the strongest love and friendship to each other under great and sore
sufferings. And now in heaven they enjoy each other’s love in immortal glory, all sorrow and
sighing having forever fled away. Both Christ and his saints were acquainted with much sorrow
and grief in this world, though Christ had the greatest share, being peculiarly a “man of
sorrows.” But in heaven they shall sit together in heavenly places, where sorrow and grief shall
never more be known.  And so all the saints will enjoy each other’s love in heaven, in a glory and
prosperity in comparison with which the wealth and thrones of the greatest earthly princes are
but as sordid poverty and destitution. So that as they love one another, they have not only their
own but each other’s prosperity to rejoice in, and are by love made partakers of each other’s
blessedness and glory. Such is the love of every saint to every other saint, that it makes the glory
which he sees other saints enjoy, as it were, his own. He so rejoices that they enjoy such glory,
that it is in some respects to him as if he himself enjoyed it in his own personal experience.

    9. In heaven all things shall conspire to promote their love, and give advantage for mutual
enjoyment. There shall be none there to tempt any to dislike or hatred; no busybodies, or
malicious adversaries, to make misrepresentations, or create misunderstandings, or spread abroad
any evil reports, but every being and everything shall conspire to promote love, and the full
enjoyment of love. Heaven itself, the place of habitation, is a garden of pleasures, a heavenly
paradise, fitted in all respects for an abode of heavenly love; a place where they may have
sweet society and perfect enjoyment of each other’s love. None are unsocial or distant from each
other. The petty distinctions of this world do not draw lines in the society of heaven, but all meet
in the equality of holiness and of holy love.

    All things in heaven do also remarkably show forth the beauty and loveliness of God and
Christ, and have the brightness and sweetness of divine love upon them. The very light that
shines in and fills that world, is the light of love, for it is the shining of the glory of the Lamb of
God, that most wonderful influence of lamb-like meekness and love that fills the heavenly
Jerusalem with light. “The city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it; for the
glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof” (Rev. 21:23). The glory that is
about him that reigns in heaven is so radiant and sweet, that it is compared (Rev. 4:3) to “a
rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald;” and it is the rainbow that is so
often used in the Old Testament as the fit token of God’s love and grace manifested in his
covenant. The light of the New Jerusalem, which is the light of God’s glory, is said to be like a
jasper stone, clear as crystal (Rev. 21:11), thus signifying the greatest preciousness and beauty;
and as to its continuance, it is said there is no night there, but only an endless and glorious day.
This suggests, once more, that, 

    10. The inhabitants of heaven shall know that they shall forever be continued in the perfect
enjoyment of each other’s love. They shall know that God and Christ shall be forever with
them as their God and portion, and that his love shall be continued and fully manifested forever,
and that all their beloved fellow-saints shall forever live with them in glory, and shall forever
keep up the same love in their hearts which they now have. And they shall know that they
themselves shall ever live to love God, and love the saints, and to enjoy their love in all its
fulness and sweetness forever. They shall be in no fear of any end to this happiness, or of any
abatement from its fulness and blessedness, or that they shall ever be weary of its exercises and
expressions, or cloyed with its enjoyments, or that the beloved objects shall ever grow old or
disagreeable, so that their love shall at last die away. All in heaven shall flourish in immortal
youth and freshness. Age will not there diminish anyone’s beauty or vigor; and their love shall
abide in everyone’s heart, as a living spring perpetually springing up in the soul, or as a flame
that never dies away. And the holy pleasure of this love shall be as a river that is forever flowing
clear and full, and increasing continually. The heavenly paradise of love shall always be kept as
in a perpetual spring, without autumn or winter, where no frosts shall blight, or leaves decay and
fall, but where every plant shall be in perpetual freshness, and bloom, and fragrance, and
beauty, always springing forth, and always blossoming, and always bearing fruit. The leaf of the
righteous shall not wither (Psa. 1:3). And in the midst of the streets of heaven, and on either side
of the river, grows the tree of life, which bears twelve manner of fruits, and yields her fruit every
month (Rev. 22:2). Everything in the heavenly world shall contribute to the joy of the saints, and
every joy of heaven shall be eternal. No night shall settle down with its darkness upon the
brightness of their everlasting day.

    Having thus noticed many of the blessed circumstances with which love in heaven is
exercised, and expressed, and enjoyed, I proceed, as proposed, to speak, lastly,

    VI. Of the blessed effects and fruits of this love, as exercised and enjoyed in these
circumstances. And of the many blessed fruits of it, I would at this time mention but two.

    1. The most excellent and perfect behavior of all the inhabitants of heaven toward God and
each other. Charity, or divine love, is the sum of all good principles, and therefore the fountain
whence proceed all amiable and excellent actions. And as in heaven this love will be perfect, to
the perfect exclusion of all sin consisting in enmity against God and fellow creatures, so the fruit
of it will be a most perfect behavior toward all. Hence life in heaven will be without the
least sinful failure or error. None shall ever come short, or turn aside from the way of holiness in
the least degree, but every feeling and action shall be perfect in itself and in all its circumstances.
Every part of their behavior shall be holy and divine in matter, and form, and spirit, and end.

    We know not particularly how the saints in heaven shall be employed; but in general we know
that they are employed in praising and serving God; and this they will do perfectly, being
influenced by such a love as we have been considering. And we have reason to think that they are
so employed as in some way to be subservient, under God, to each other’s happiness, for they are
represented in the Scriptures as united together in one society, which, it would seem, can be for
no other purpose but mutual subserviency and happiness. And they are thus mutually subservient
by a perfectly amiable behavior one towards another, as a fruit of their perfect love one to
another. And even if they are not confined to this society, but if any or all of them are at times
sent errands of duty or mercy to distant worlds, or employed, as some suppose them to be, as
ministering spirits to friends in this world, they are still led by the influence of love, to conduct,
in all their behavior, in such a manner as is well pleasing to God, and thus conducive to their own
and others’ happiness. The other fruit of love, as exercised in such circumstances, is,

    2. Perfect tranquillity and joy in heaven. Charity, or holy and humble Christian love, is a
principle of wonderful power to give ineffable quietness and tranquillity to the soul. It banishes
all disturbance, and sweetly composes and brings rest to the spirit, and makes all divinely calm
and sweet and happy. In that soul where divine love reigns and is in lively exercise, nothing can
cause a storm, or even gather threatening clouds.

    There are many principles contrary to love, that make this world like a tempestuous sea.
Selfishness, and envy, and revenge, and jealousy, and kindred passions keep life on earth in a
constant tumult, and make it a scene of confusion and uproar, where no quiet rest is to be enjoyed
except in renouncing this world and looking to another. But oh! what rest is there in that world
which the God of peace and love fills with his own gracious presence, and in which the Lamb of
God lives and reigns, filling it with the brightest and sweetest beams of his love; where there is
nothing to disturb or offend, and no being or object to be seen that is not surrounded with perfect
amiableness and sweetness; where the saints shall find and enjoy all that they love, and so be
perfectly satisfied; where there is no enemy and no enmity; but perfect love in every heart and to
every being; where there is perfect harmony among all the inhabitants, no one envying another,
but everyone rejoicing in the happiness of every other; where all their love is humble and holy,
and perfectly Christian, without the least carnality or impurity; where love is always mutual and
reciprocated to the full; where there is no hypocrisy or dissembling, but perfect simplicity and
sincerity; where there is no treachery, or unfaithfulness, or inconstancy, or jealousy in any form;
where there is no clog or hindrance to the exercises or expressions of love, no imprudence or
indecency in expressing it, and no influence of folly or indiscretion in any word or deed; where
there is no separation wall, and no misunderstanding or strangeness, but full acquaintance and
perfect intimacy in all; where there is no division through different opinions or interests, but
where all in that glorious and loving society shall be most nearly and divinely related, and each
shall belong to every other, and all shall enjoy each other in perfect prosperity and riches, and
honor, without any sickness, or grief, or persecution, or sorrow, or any enemy to molest them, or
any busybody to create jealousy or misunderstanding, or mar the perfect, and holy, and blessed
peace that reigns in heaven! And all this in the garden of God in the paradise of love, where
everything is filled with love, and everything conspires to promote and kindle it, and keep up its
flame, and nothing ever interrupts it, but everything has been fitted by an all-wise God for its full
enjoyment under the greatest advantages forever! And all, too, where the beauty of the beloved
objects shall never fade, and love shall never grow weary nor decay, but the soul shall more and
more rejoice in love forever!

    Oh! what tranquillity will there be in such a world as this! And who can express the fullness
and blessedness of this peace! What a calm is this! How sweet, and holy, and joyous! What a
haven of rest to enter, after having passed through the storms and tempests of this world, in
which pride, and selfishness, and envy, and malice, and scorn, and contempt, and contention, and
vice, are as waves of a restless ocean, always rolling, and often dashed about in violence and
fury! What a Canaan of rest to come to, after going through this waste and howling wilderness,
full of snares, and pitfalls, and poisonous serpents, where no rest could be found!

    And oh! what joy will there be, springing up in the hearts of the saints, after they have passed
through their wearisome pilgrimage, to be brought to such a paradise as this! Here is joy
unspeakable indeed, and full of glory joy that is humble, holy, enrapturing, and divine in its
perfection! Love is always a sweet principle; and especially divine love. This, even on earth, is a
spring of sweetness; but in heaven it shall become a stream, a river, an ocean! All shall stand
about the God of glory, who is the great fountain of love, opening, as it were, their very souls to
be filled with those effusions of love that are poured forth from his fullness, just as the flowers
on the earth, in the bright and joyous days of spring, open their bosoms to the sun, to be filled
with his light and warmth, and to flourish in beauty and fragrancy under his cheering rays.

    Every saint in heaven is as a flower in that 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. And so all help each other, to their utmost, to express the love of the whole
society to its glorious Father and Head, and to pour back love into the great fountain of love
whence they are supplied and filled with love, and blessedness, and glory. And thus they will
love, and reign in love, and in that godlike joy that is its blessed fruit, such as eye hath not seen,
nor ear heard, nor hath ever entered into the heart of man in this world to conceive; and thus in
the full sunlight of the throne, enraptured with joys that are forever increasing, and yet forever
full, they shall live and reign with God and Christ forever and ever!

    In the application of this subject, I remark,

    1. If heaven be such a world as has been described, then we may see a reason why contention
and strife tend to darken our evidence of fitness for its possession. Experience teaches that this
is the effect of contention. When principles of malignity and ill-will prevail among God’s people,
as they sometimes do through the remaining corruption of their hearts, and they get into a
contentious spirit, or are engaged in any strife whether public or private, and their spirits are
filled with opposition to their neighbors in any matter whatever, their former evidences for
heaven seem to become dim, or die away, and they are in darkness about their spiritual state, and
do not find that comfortable and satisfying hope that they used to enjoy.

    And so, when converted persons get into ill frames in their families, the consequence
commonly, if not universally, is, that they live without much of a comfortable sense of heavenly
things, or any lively hope of heaven. They do not enjoy much of that spiritual calm and
sweetness that those do who live in love and peace. They have not that help from God, and that
communion with him, and that near intercourse with heaven in prayer, that others have. The
apostle seems to speak of contention in families as having this influence. His language is (1 Pet.
3:7), “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them” (your wives) “according to knowledge, giving
honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel; and as being heirs together of the grace of life,
that your prayers be not hindered.” Here he intimates that discord in families tends to hinder
Christians in their prayers. And what Christian that has made the sad experiment, has not done it
to his sorrow, and in his own experience does not bear witness to the truth of the apostle’s

    Why it is so, that contention has this effect of hindering spiritual exercises and comforts and
hopes, and of destroying the sweet hope of that which is heavenly, we may learn from the
doctrine we have considered. For heaven being a world of love, it follows that, when we have the
least exercise of love, and the most of a contrary spirit, then we have the least of heaven, and are
farthest from it in the frame of our mind. Then we have the least of the exercise of
that wherein consists a conformity to heaven, and a preparation for it, and what tends to it; and
so, necessarily, we must have least evidence of our title to heaven, and be farthest from the
comfort which such evidence affords. We may see, again, from this subject,

    2. How happy those are who are entitled to heaven. There are some persons living on earth,
to whom the happiness of the heavenly world belongs as much, yea, much more than any man’s
earthly estate belongs to himself. They have a part and interest in this world of love, and have a
proper right and title to it, for they are of the number of those of whom it is written (Rev. 22:14),
“Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may
enter in through the gates into the city.” And, doubtless, there are such persons here amongst us.
And oh! how happy are all such, entitled as they are to an interest in such a world as heaven!
Surely they are the blessed of the earth, and the fullness of their blessedness no language can
describe, no words express. But here some may be ready to say, “Without doubt they are happy
persons that have a title to such a blessed world, and are soon to enter on the eternal possession
of its joys. But who are these persons? How shall they be known, and by what marks may they
be distinguished?” In answer to such an inquiry, I would mention three things that belong to their

    First, they are those that have had the principle or seed of the same love that reigns in heaven
implanted in their hearts, in this world, in the work of regeneration. They are not those who have
no other principles in their hearts than natural principles, or such as they have by their first birth,
for “that which is born of the flesh is flesh.” But they are those who have been the subjects of the
new birth, or who have been born of the Spirit. A glorious work of the Spirit of God has been
wrought in their hearts, renewing them by bringing down from heaven, as it were, some of the
light and some of the holy, pure flame that is in that world of love, and giving it place in them.
Their hearts are a soil in which this heavenly seed has been sown, and in which it abides and
grows. And so they are changed, and, from being earthly, have become heavenly in their
dispositions. The love of the world is mortified, and the love of God implanted. Their
hearts are drawn to God and Christ, and for their sakes flow out to the saints in humble and
spiritual love. “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible” (1 Pet. 1:23);
“Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God”
(John 1:13).

    Second, they are those who have freely chosen the happiness that flows from the exercise and
enjoyment of such love as is in heaven, above all other conceivable happiness. They see and
understand so much of this as to know that it is the best good. They do not merely yield that it is
so from rational arguments that may be offered for it, and by which they are convinced that it is
so, but they know it is so from what little they have tasted of it. It is the happiness of love, and
the beginning of a life of such love, holy, humble, divine, and heavenly love. Love to God, and
love to Christ, and love to saints for God and Christ’s sake, and the enjoyment of the fruits of
God’s love in holy communion with God, and Christ, and with holy persons this is what they
have a relish for; and such is their renewed nature, that such happiness suits their disposition and
appetite and wishes above all other things; and not only above all things that they have, but
above all that they can conceive it possible that they could have. The world does not afford
anything like it. They have chosen this before all things else, and chosen it freely. Their souls go
out after it more than after everything else, and their hearts are more eager in pursuit of it. They
have chosen it not merely because they have met with sorrow, and are in such low and afflicted
circumstances that they do not expect much from the world, but because their hearts were so
captivated by this good that they chose it for its own sake before all worldly good, even if they
could have ever so much of the latter, and enjoy it ever so long.

    Third, they are those who, from the love that is in them, are, in heart and life, in principle and
practice, struggling after holiness. Holy love makes them long for holiness. It is a principle that
thirsts after growth. It is in imperfection, and in a state of infancy, in this world, and it desires
growth. It has much to struggle with. In the heart in this world there are many opposite principles
and influences; and it struggles after greater oneness, and more liberty, and more free exercise,
and better fruit. The great strife and struggle of the new man is after holiness. His heart struggles
after it, for he has an interest in heaven, and therefore he struggles with that sin that would keep
him from it. He is full of ardent desires, and breathings, and longings, and strivings to be holy.
And his hands struggle as well as his heart. He strives in his practice. His life is a life of sincere
and earnest endeavor to be universally and increasingly holy. He feels that he is not holy enough,
but far from it; and he desires to be nearer perfection, and more like those who are in heaven.
And this is one reason why he longs to be in heaven, that he may be perfectly holy. And the great
principle which leads him thus to struggle, is love. It is not only fear; but it is love to God, and
love to Christ, and love to holiness. Love is a holy fire within him, and, like any other flame
which is in a degree pent up, it will and does struggle for liberty; and this its struggling is the
struggle for holiness.

    3. What has been said on this subject may well awaken and alarm the impenitent. And,

    First, by putting them in mind of their misery, in that they have no portion or right in this
world of love. You have heard what has been said of heaven, what kind of glory and blessedness
is there, and how happy the saints and angels are in that world of perfect love. But consider that
none of this belongs to you. When you hear of such things, you hear of that in which you have no
interest. No such person as you, a wicked hater of God and Christ, and one that is under the
power of a spirit of enmity against all that is good, shall ever enter there. Such as you are, never
belong to the faithful Israel of God, and shall never enter their heavenly rest. It may be said to
you, as Peter said to Simon (Acts 8:21), “Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter, for thy
heart is not right in the sight of God;” and as Nehemiah said to Sanballat and his associates (Neh.
2:20), “You have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem.” If such a soul as yours
should be admitted into heaven, that world of love, how nauseous would it be to those blest
spirits whose souls are as a flame of love! and how would it discompose that loving and blessed
society, and put everything in confusion! It would make heaven no longer heaven, if such souls
should be admitted there. It would change it from a world of love to a world of hatred, and pride,
and envy, and malice, and revenge, as this world is! But this shall never be; and the only
alternative is, that such as you shall be shut out

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