Romans 8:18

Edward Bass
Episcopal; Newbury, Massachusetts 1756-07-11, 1759-7-8, 1762-08-22, 1770-12-02, 1779-06-06, 1784-8-29, 1793-11-17
Mss. Boxes S, Sermons Collection, 1640-1875, American Antiquarian Society


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[* torn] Rom 8.th 18.th—I reckon that the Sufferings of this present time, are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18)


The Apostle, having in the verse immediately preceding, mentioned Suffering with Christ, & being glorified together with him— immediately Subjoins—I reckon etc. (Romans 8:18) q.d.


When I mention Sufferings (which as filial chastisements must be Expected by us from our heavenly Father) particularly the Sufferings which at this time lie upon us Christians I would not be thought to look upon them with too much grief & sadness, even in respect of this present life;


for whatsoever our Sufferings are, the deliverance is like to be so much the more Eminent & glorious towards us who firmly adhere to Christ (perhaps in this life, in rescuing us, while the jews that persecuted us, & all others that join with them are destroyed, but most certainly in another) that our Sufferings will not be thought to bear any the slightest proportion therewith.


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in discoursing on the words I [* torn]


1st. to show you what the sufferings of this present time are, & what notions We are to Entertain concerning them.


2dly. what that glory is, & then shall say somewhat briefly concerning that glory which shall ere long be revealed in us. from whence, I hope, it will appear plainly that the Sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared etc.—


& then


3dly. shall conclude with a reflection or two.


1st. In the first place I am to etc.—


by the Sufferings of this present time here, the Apostle doth not so much intend the calamities that are common to Mankind, as the troubles which many do Suffer on account of the gospel; or for righteousness Sake. as is Evident from the foregoing words.


if children, then Heirs, Heirs of God, & joint Heirs with Christ: [If so be] that we suffer with him, that We may be also glorified [together] (Romans 8:17)


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the first Christians had the honor to suffer a great deal for Christ & St Paul tells us what hardships & Severities he himself underwent: he was in deaths often— & yet he says, I reckon that the Sufferings of this present time— [symbol] even the bitter persecutions We Endure, are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18)


but notwithstanding the particular meaning of the Apostle here, I shall take the liberty to consider the Sufferings of this present time as comprehending all the Evils that are incident to men in this life.


& what they are, methinks, there’s no need of much labor to show: what men feel they do not want to have described.


& if there are any so fortunate as to escape many or most of the calamities of life, yet they cannot well avoid knowing what they are, either by seeing them as Endured by others, or at [least] by information.


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[symbol] As soon as ever men are born into the world they are Engaged in a state, wherein they must needs undergo a great many difficulties; unless it please God to recall them very soon.


All their lives long they are liable to Sad accidents without number: accidents which no human foresight can foresee or prevent


the heat & rashness of youth do usually betray them into a great many inconveniences.


in middle age when they are commonly most Engaged in the business of the world, they are most liable to the insults & injuries of their fellow men.


in old age, the days are come, whereof men, for the most part, have reason to Say, they [have] little or no pleasure in them.


“are liable to pains & infirmities, & have but a Small relish, if any for this world, which used to afford them So much Satisfaction in their youth. 1


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death is an Evil which none Escape. it is an Evil, as the Separation of Soul & body is usually hard & attended with much pain: & if in Some cases it be desirable, it is in order to avoid, or get rid of, some greater Evil.


Add to the pains of the body these of those mind; which are many times vastly greater.


that sort of grief (not to mention any others) which Ensues upon the loss of our worldly Enjoyment, especially our Friends, is both very common & very Great.


“thus all along, almost from the cradle to the grave, are men liable to one misfortune or trouble or other, that are brought upon them either by their own folly & imprudence, or by their fellow creatures, or merely by the providence of God. 2


But what notions are We to Entertain concerning these Sufferings of the present time?


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St. Paul, it seems, did not think them worthy to be compared with the future glory.


& if persecution, which as hath been observed, the Apostle meant by the sufferings of the present time, I say if persecution, although one of the bitterest Evils of life be so light & inconsiderable in comparison of the glory that shall be revealed in us—


“What are we to think of bitter calamities?! they must undoubtedly vanish & disappear. 3


There are too many who look upon the Sufferings they meet with in the world, as absolute Evils; who consider them merely as painful, but never think of any benefits or advantage which may arise from them: which is a very wrong notion


Every man ought to look upon the present state only as a place of preparation for a better; & that the evils which are allotted him here by divine providence, if received with a proper frame & temper of mind, do all tend to prepare him for that better state.


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tis true indeed if there were no other life after this, We might well look upon many of the miseries & grievances which We Endure as incapable of being redressed.


We may instance particularly in persecution, which has been the lot of many persons in diverse ages of the church.


but what will it signify to have Suffered for Christ, if he has nothing hereafter to bestow upon them as a reward of their Sufferings?


St. Paul referring to the state of Christians in his own time, says—“if in this life only we have hope in Christ, We are of all men most miserable. (1 Corinthians 15:19)


he went upon the Supposition there were no resurrection, no other state of Existence but this.


But if We consider the certainty of a future life & immortality, it will afford us this comfortable reflection; —that although no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous but grievous, yet hereafter it will yield us the peaceable fruit of righteousness.


& not only so [symbol], but the exceeding felicity of that life, and consideration of it—will tend mightily to allay the pressures & Sufferings of this present time.


& this now brings me to the second thing proposed.


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2nd. which is to show you what that glory is, (say somewhat briefly concerning that glory) which shall ere long be revealed in us.


the Apostle chooses to Express the felicity of the Saints in the other world by glory, I apprehend, for these two reasons—viz.


1st. because he writes to the Romans, who were at that time a Martial Heroic people & naturally ambitious of glory: &


2ndly—because glory is the great Idol of the world. the desire of glory is a passion more powerful than the desires of any other thing in the world; more than of riches & pleasure:


& if the glory of another world be fixed in the soul, a man will stick at nothing to arrive at it.


for these reasons, I say tis probable that the Apostle here Expresses the future happiness of good men by glory. : not that We are to imagine it will consist entirely in receiving the commendation & applauses of god, or angels, or our fellow Saints.


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tho this ought not to be reckoned a small thing: “for what greater glory can be conferred on any man, than to have that glorious Sentence pronounced to him by his Maker in the presence of the whole world, 4 well done thou good & faithful Servant, Enter into the joy of thy Lord!! (Matthew 25:21, 23)


& then to be applauded by the glorious Angels & spirits of just men made perfect, for having Endured & conquered the many temptations that lay in his way to heaven!—


[symbol] this surely must make One Exult & triumph, & despise all the glory & laurels of the greatest Conquerors on Earth.


But whatever commendations God may bestow on good men on their first Entrance into the Kingdom of heaven, their felicity afterwards must undoubtedly import Something else.


Eye hath not Seen indeed nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man to conceive what God has laid up for them that love him; (1 Corinthians 2:9) but tho We cannot comprehend it,


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our souls being finite, & therefore unable to comprehend what is infinite—, yet Since God gives us leave to speak of it according to our capacities, & the measure of his own revelation—


I may well Say in general, that that future glory is a concurrence of all things that are great & Excellent; of every thing that is good & desirable.


& the glorified Saint—his understanding, his knowledge, his Enjoyment, his riches, his honor, his life, his joy, his actions, & his virtues, will all exceedingly shine, & be Godlike: “all this will meet & concenter in him, as the sun beams in a burning glass. 5


+ the gifts of Nature & the Blessings of heaven here on Earth these Blessings are divided, never falling to the share of one & the Same man.


One may have great knowledge & understanding, but his fortunes may be but small: Another may have great riches & honor, but his merits inconsiderable, & his actions pitiful & mean:


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others may have great Souls, & great virtues, but their outward accommodations in this world may be very inconsiderable:


[symbol] but in heaven, all these Blessings will unite in Every individual person, & Encompass the glorified creature in the highest perfection.


to the Paper x


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x Not to mention the vast unclouded understanding & the immense knowledge of glorified Saints, in Comparison of what they possess here where they know but in part—,


not to mention these things, I say, because the happiness of Mankind doth not arise so much from the Sagacity of the head as from the goodness of the heart,


let it Suffice at this time to observe the greatness of their virtues who shall be counted worthy to inhabit the celestial Regions.


p 14 bottom [symbol]


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& here


Let us consider the vastness of understanding that a glorious God communicates to the Inhabitants of his palace.


there our Souls shall be no longer like Angels, imprisoned in a cage, as they are hereߞ, for here our sight is limited, our spirits clogged with dust, & our quickness incommoded with flesh & blood: “but in those calmer regions, our Souls will be freed from that dull matter, which now annoys them here, & be perfectly united to those brighter bodies that shall be bestowed upon them; no impediments, no clouds, no mists, no darkness, will stop their prospect; but there our Souls will be all perfectly naked, & perfectly pure, & all the veils that cloud & darken them here will there be done away. 6


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& from hence


2ndly. will necessarily arise a vast & prodigious knowledge.


here we know but in part, (1 Corinthians 13:9) & have but slender notices of things: We converse with shadows & appearance more than realities: & not only our senses, but the very objects We meet with all Serve to deceive & delude us: We content ourselves with a mere Surface of things, & Seldom penetrate to the bottom: We grope in the dark, & search after truth, even then when We pretend We have discovered it.


[symbol] But in heaven, in the mansions of glory, We shall be truly wise Philosophers; We shall search no more after wisdom, but shall there find what We here did Seek. there god will unveil all the Mysteries of grace & nature: “& there the gates of God’s Secrets will be guarded no more with night & gloominess, but will open to us of their own accord:— 7


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& more than this, We shall know & See God; who will no longer dwell in light which is inaccessible.


& from hence—


3dly. will arise a vast & wonderful Satisfaction.


God is the best & greatest of Beings in the world; & to See & Enjoy him is one & the same thing; the reason is because god is light & in him is no darkness at all.


“Now to see the light, & to Enjoy it is one & the Same thing. while here on Earth in this valley of tears We see God only by a reflex light, a light directed by the Creator, or the Creature’s understanding; which is the reason why all that do See God here, Enjoy him not. but in heaven We shall see god, by a direct light, & consequently Enjoy him: [symbol] the light then will be directly on us, & the issue of it a pleasure inconceivable.— 8


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our Souls here are insatiable things; but in the other world, they will be so replenished & Satisfied as to be forced to confess they have enough.


this perfect Enjoyment of God is nothing but an immediate application of the divine nature & Essence to all the faculties of the Soul: an application wonderfully sweet & ravishing;


(as you may have seen in a rich composition of roses, & odoriferous herbs, or in things that have a delicious taste & relish, “how on a Sudden it strikes the whole Soul, & diffuses its charming Sweetness thro’ all the Senses; by this, I say, you may form some little notion, what that immediate application of the divine nature to our faculties will be.)


but this is not all: therefore


4thly. I must not forget to mention the greatness of virtues that there will be in those celestial regions:


[symbol] All the virtues indeed that We see here practiced by good men on Earth, will not be found in heaven; 9


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for there they will rather be Swallowed up of Some thing greater & more Excellent, or Else be refined into Something more Sublime.


faith can have no place there, [symbol] “for there We shall walk by Sight. nor has hope anything to do there, for hope is an Embracing of Objects distant, & afar off; but there We shall Enjoy & possess what here We hope for.


repentance is no virtue in heaven, because it consists in a practical Sorrow for Sin; which cannot be where there is no Sin to bewail. nor can mortification of Sin be Supposed to have any place there; for mortification of sin is a Subduing the unruly desires of the flesh, & there is no flesh to rebel. 10


Christian fortitude, as it imparts a generous resistance of assaults, whether from the Devil or the world, must needs be useless there, where there is no temptation, no wrestling, or fighting;


“nor can patience be required in those mansions of glory for there will be no injuries offered to any one: therefore no need of bearing with, or pardoning of them.


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nor will there be any need of justice, which here We know, is giving Every man his own, & distributing rewards & punishments:


but in those mansions, there is no need of Exercising this virtue, because Every man will be quietly contented with what he Enjoys.


compassion will be no virtue there, because there will be no miserable Objects: 11


“neither will there be need of liberality, because there will be no indigent persons.


from whence, by the way, We may observe that most of our virtues here on Earth are grounded on our own, or others miseries or deficiencies: faith is grounded upon our ignorance; hope on our necessities; repentance on our Sins, & humility on our own vileness. compassion is grounded on the necessities of our Neighbor, & liberality on the wants of others.— 12


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but there will be one virtue in heaven that will Swallow up all the rest, not founded on any misery or defect; & that is love. “fervent love without bounds; love immense, love infinite as the Object, which is love itself; love which proceeds from a perfect knowledge of God; for the more perfectly We know God, the more perfectly We must needs love him.


& from this love, in a natural stream there flows in that state of glory, an Excessive charity: [symbol] a charity which will be so far from Envying their Neighbor's happiness, that it will rather increase it:


& tho st Paul for his Extraordinary doings & Sufferings will no doubt, be Exalted above multitudes— yet Such is the charity there, so spotless & so perfect, that the felicity of other Saints will not diminish, but aggrandize the joys of their Brethren:


& therefore this Apostle tells us very remarkably 1. Cor. 13. charity never faileth; but whether there be prophecies they shall fail, whether there be tongues they shall cease, or whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. (1 Corinthians 13:8)


[symbol] love & charity will abide forever & ever. 13


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all I have hitherto Said relates chiefly to the Soul: therefore


3rdly—I must Say Something of another glory, pertaining to our bodies.


they will not there be houses of clay, apt to be broken & shattered with Every blast,— but magnificent palaces, which will defy all tide, wind, & weather; & “be like mount Zion that stands fast, & abideth forever. 14


They will no longer be dark & dismal prisons, as they are now, in which our Souls often groan & are uneasy—but will rather be houses of pleasure, which will wonderfully contribute towards the joy & Satisfaction of our Souls:


they will be no longer tabernacles of clay but temples of the holy Ghost, built upon the rock of ages: for it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body; “it is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. (1 Corinthians 15:45)


in a word, our bodies there will be like unto Christ’s most glorious body; 15


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not like his body on mount Calvary, that was torn, wounded, bruised, & beaten— [symbol] “but like his body on mount Tabor, that was all shining, & Encompassed with ten thousand rays. 16


to what has been already Said, let us add the glorious habitation, wherein this glorified body will dwell, together with the glorious Inhabitants with which the good man will be associated—& the glory must be unspeakable.


all the desires of the Soul are there perfectly filled; & the joys that are there are without bounds or limits, both as to degree, & duration. there will be no mixture of joys & griefs, of sorrow & consolation, of diseases & comforts, “but there all tears will be wiped away, & the Soul will keep an Eternal festival. 17


—go back to to this paper P. 12th [symbol]


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[symbol] an eternal Festival, I say. & this is a circumstance that completes the heavenly felicity, & renders the glory that shall be revealed in us So incomparably Superior to the fading, short lived glories of this world.


Many of the Sons of men do now enjoy much glory in the admiration, & applauses of their fellow men: but it is a glory (a kind of glory) that, as the Apostle expresses it in another case, shall be done away. (2 Corinthians 3)


And as the glory of this world is short & transient, So are the Sufferings of this present time.


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How greatly Soever it may fall to our lot to Suffer, yet we cannot Suffer long. This is a checkered State, made up of joy & Sorrow, prosperity & adversity; & generally speaking, I Suppose it is not easy to compute which it is that exceeds. But if our whole life were one continued Scene of Evil, which Seldom or never happens, even to the most unfortunate, yet what is our life but a vapor? when it ends, all our troubles end with it; & are Succeeded by that glorious State, where we shall remember no more our Sorrows for the never ending joy of our Lord.


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the things that are seen, & felt, oftentimes Severely felt by us, are temporal: the things that are not Seen, which [symbol: God] hath prepared for them that love & Serve him faithfully, are eternal. (1 Corinthians 2:9)


So little ground is there for a Comparison between them, between time, especially a very short time, & eternity, there can be no comparison at all.


P 22nd [symbol: +]


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this is what the holy Ghost means by a crown of life; be faithful unto death, & I will give thee a crown of life— (Revelation 2:10)


there We shall perfectly reign over ourselves, & Every thing that was wont to oppose & get the mastery of us.


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palms shall be given to the glorified Saints; palms to Express their victory & conquest. there We shall prove victorious indeed, & perfectly overcome the world, the flesh, Sin, & the Devil.


“Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, & he shall go no more out: & I will write upon him the name of my God, & the name of the city of my God, which is the new Jerusalem.— (Revelation 3:12)


pillars are raised here on Earth to propagate mens names; & their virtuous actions are Engraven thereon, to Eternize their memory. We ourselves shall be those pillars, & in heaven shall be monuments of God’s goodness; [symbol] where on our Souls & bodies will be graven the Eternal monuments of God’s love towards us in Christ Jesus.—


But while We are thus discoursing of the glory which ere long shall be revealed in us, We may imagine the Almighty Saying, (as once he did to Job out of the whirlwind) who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? (Job 38:2)


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who is he that dares pretend to discover the [third] heavens, where St Paul heard words [unspeakable] which it was not lawful for any man to utter? (2 Corinthians 12:2-4)


“Great God! thou knowest it is not rashness or curiosity that makes us Search into these mysteries: it is not with an intent to rend the curtain, or to tear the vail which thou hast drawn over that celestial brightness—neither is it with a design to pry into the bottom of those Secrets which thou hast reserved to thy omniscient Self;—


but it is with an intent to Support thy Servants in their dangers, & to comfort thy children in their distresses. Tis only to Enflame our desires, & cherish our hopes of the future glory: & if by our faint resemblances, & feeble strokes, We judge not right of things— the good Lord pardon our weak attempts. 18


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[symbol: +] & now seeing the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us—


1st—how should our desires & Endeavors be Excited & animated for the attainment of that glory?!—


how eagerly should We press forward towards, the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus!


“the prize is noble, & our hope most glorious; 19 & did We value it half as much as it deserves We should think no pains or labour too much for it.


Let us remember that We are hastening apace to another world, & that Eternal glory now lies at Stake: & how should it quicken our Endeavors to have such a reward set before us!—


[symbol]


would We but often represent to our minds the glorious things of another world, what fervor should We feel in our hearts?


“We should be all life, & spirit; & do god’s will almost with the Same readiness & delight, as the Angels do, who continually behold the face of their Father. (Matthew 18:10) 20


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[2ndly] how should the consideration of our Subject Serve to mitigate & lighten the Evils & Sufferings of this present time!


the incomparably greater good of the next life will to a wise & considerate man, weigh down all the Evils of this:


our text tells us there is no comparison betwixt them.


the Evils of this life afflict men more or less; according as the Soul is fortified with considerations proper to support us under them.


“when We consider that We have but a little while to be here, that We are upon our journey traveling towards our heavenly Country, where We shall meet with all the delights We can desire; 21 it ought not to trouble us much to endure storms & foul ways, & to want many of those accommodations We might Expect at home.


this is the common fate of travelers, & We must take things as We find them, & not look [to have] Every thing just to our minds.


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these inconveniences will shortly be [over] & after a few days will be quite forgotten, be to us as if they had never been:


& when We are Safely landed in our own Country, “with what pleasure shall We look back upon those rough & boisterous Seas which We have escaped?— 22


the more difficulties We shall have passed thro, the kinder usage We shall find when We come to our Father’s house. so the Apostle tells us—“that our light affliction which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding & Eternal weight of glory. (2 Corinthians 4:17)


Now to god etc.


Newbury July 11th 1756. Morningߞ&


July 8th 1759. Evening—


Aug. 22, 1762.


Dec. 2, 1770


June 6, 1779


Aug. 29, 1784


Nov 17, 1793


Footnotes

1. Unidentified source.

2. Unidentified source.

3. Unidentified source.

4. Unidentified source.

5. Anthony Horneck, The Glories of the Other World (London, 1708), 5.

6. Horneck, The Glories of the Other World, 6.

7. Horneck, The Glories of the Other World, 7.

8. Horneck, The Glories of the Other World, 7-8.

9. Horneck, The Glories of the Other World, 9.

10. Horneck, The Glories of the Other World, 9.

11. Horneck, The Glories of the Other World, 10.

12. Horneck, The Glories of the Other World, 10.

13. Horneck, The Glories of the Other World, 11.

14. Horneck, The Glories of the Other World, 11.

15. Horneck, The Glories of the Other World, 12.

16. Horneck, The Glories of the Other World, 12.

17. Horneck, The Glories of the Other World, 13.

18. Horneck, The Glories of the Other World, 14-15.

19. Bass appears to be paraphrasing the Phaedrus of Plato, a text popular in the pulpit; see, e.g. George Adams, A System of Divinity, Ecclesiastical History, and Morality (London, 1768), 2.

20. John Tillotson, The Happiness of a Heavenly Conversation (London, 1708), 13.

21. John Tillotson, The Happiness of a Heavenly Conversation (London, 1708), 13.

22. John Tillotson, The Happiness of a Heavenly Conversation (London, 1708), 13.