THE PROPERTIES OF OUR FUTURE KNOWLEDGE.1. In a word, by the destination of his Creator and the necessities of his nature, man commences at once an active, not merely a contemplative being. Samuel 28:11, etc.). I do see One said to be the Son of God, the Lamb of. But this involves a perception in which there is no error, and no intermission. As they know us in our trials, so shall we know them in their joys. (1) We have been taught to see our ruin in the fall and our actual sinfulness. The resurrection from the dead is not in accordance with our experience. But not only does the exchange of worlds make a vast addition to our stores of information respecting the nature of the invisible realm, and the mode of existence there, it also makes a vast addition to the kind and degree of our knowledge respecting ourselves, and our personal relationships to God. In us, as in him, it will waken up a thirst for a fuller, a more complete knowledge. It lies at the foundation of the Christian's hope. And what is the Bible but a glass of the Divine and spiritual in man and the universe? Unfading and eternal.Conclusion: This subject —, 1. Future things are as yet concealed from us, wrapped up in allegory, riddle, or dark enigma, which gives us only a few indirect hints or a mystical representation of the thing intended, by which we are left to guess it out. Is not this the secret of the growth of knowledge of God — the getting clearly before the soul the things that He has taught? It is therefore reserved for a more advanced period of our nature. Are dependent upon each other. There must be some antecedent "now" before there can be an anticipative "then." Clearness. The Saviour, specifying those who are before Him, shall say, "I was an hungered, and ye gave Me meat," etc. He tells us where this yearning shall be satisfied to the uttermost. "(2) We shall there, perhaps, discover that wars, pestilences, and earthquakes are, after all, necessary cogs in the great wheel of the Divine machinery; and He who sits upon the throne at this moment will then make it manifest to us that His government was right.4. Two persons in the dark have differed about a colour. For ah! When Jesus said, "The Father knoweth Me," He meant, "God has a will for every act of Mine" And when He said, "I know the Father," He meant, "In every act of Mine, I do the Father's will." "Then" — when time and change and varying seasons are past — then, when the alternations of cloud and sunshine are over — when doubt, and difficulty, and perplexity have been left behind — then I shall know fully. So with us. I do not see very clearly, but I see something. Already he knows God in the tenderness of His Fatherhood, in the fulness of His pardoning love, in the atonement wrought out by the Son of God, in the might of the indwelling Spirit, in the richness of the gifts poured out on, poured into the Church. There is something behind the thought; here is the mystery it cannot touch at all.2. No, he had known God personally, something as one friend knows another; nay, in a manner more intimate. May not the enlarged views of Divine perfections into which the glorified saints will be admitted serve to swallow up every inferior impression? And now let us see how the joy of this knowledge came so to grow in the mind of St. Paul. 4. Then only shall we begin to be infallible, and perhaps be ashamed of our former ignorance when we thought ourselves most so. And if this be so with all forms of mere earthly knowledge, must it not be far more so with heavenly knowledge? Then, in a sense more complete than the words have ever yet borne, I shall be able to say, "The darkness is past, and the true light now shineth." We say that a proud person has a swelled head. For ye are our glory and our joy." All bars all hindrances, all veils will be withdrawn. 2. WHENCE IT IS THAT ALL OUR BEST ATTAINMENTS IN KNOWLEDGE ARE AT PRESENT SO VERY POOR AND DEFECTIVE.1. And why? As they know us in our lower home, so shall we know them in their higher one. THEN.1. But what has been a more bitter consequence of death than bereavement? Are extremes only possible in conscious reality to superior beings. The evidence which is afforded is sufficient for the conviction of a candid mind, though not so striking as to withdraw our attention from the present world, or altogether to overcome the impression of sensible objects. (2) We know to-day that we are saved; but that robe of righteousness which covers us now, as it shall cover us then, will be better seen by us. It will be a revelation of a love personal to yourself in the light of which you will live.(R. Nay; here is an intimation of immortality and of the communings of two spirits in that immortality. The doctrines of the gospel and the mysteries of the faith. But what then? Not in vain has theology been called "Scientiarum Scientia." To us, as to him, it will bring a higher joy than any other kind of knowledge can bring. Life is a school for it, and everywhere there are suitable means and agents. Is not this like living again? But in heaven, sin will no longer becloud our minds; prejudices will be eradicated, the passions, refined, purified, and directed to their proper object, will only aid us in the pursuit of truth; and the cares and pleasures of the world can no longer affect us.2. Lethargy.4. As they know us in our lower home, so shall we know them in their higher one. Let these reflections not only remove the doubts which may arise from our obscure knowledge of immortality, but likewise produce the highest admiration of the wisdom of our Creator. False teaching.3. Precisely in the same manner, as by the mixture of evidence and obscurity which remains on the prospect of a future state, a proper balance is preserved betwixt our love of this life and our desire of a better. From the analogy of sleep, the Scriptural type of death, the persons of individuals, both dead and living, being clearly identified in the dreams of the night, and therefore leading to the inference that such persons would be equally identified after they and we shall have "fallen asleep in Jesus."II. "Even as I was known." "Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts." And if we examine our knowledge of abstracted truths, or points of speculation and reason, how very defective does it appear!2. Imperfection of knowledge and experience give way to the perfection of both. Mason, A.M.)The perfection of our future knowledgeJ. Unfading and eternal.Conclusion: This subject —1. The present life is but a side, necessitating, to its completeness, another side. Every past revelation has brought to him an increase of faith, of hope, of love, of peace, of happiness, and joy, and has taught him to realise more fully what will be the exceeding bliss of the complete revelation of God to those who are brought to see Him face to face. Cross, D.D. Under all these disadvantages, the time that is here allowed us for attaining knowledge is very short.5. Our visions of spiritual things being so dim. (Stems and Twigs. God is seen now in His works and in His Word. Each a riddle.2. He desires only to have his view enlarged beyond the limits of this corporeal state. Now if the creations of God which are most intimate are confessedly but as shadows of shapes upon a mirror, how must it be with the infinite God Himself? She has gone into the world and parcelled it out, saying, "This is oxygen, that is nitrogen, and that is carbon," etc. But for what was the apostle's heart yearning? How many difficulties in the Word of God are like this! We cannot reach it with our reason. "Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts." Our present knowledge is not only very confined and indistinct, but very uncertain also. (2) We know but in part even those few things that do fall within the compass of our present knowledge. The Church. It is chilling and repulsive to think that the cemetery only is referred to, and that there is no mingling of the departed except in the dust of the sepulchre.2. (2) We see darkly, in a riddle, enigma, or dark saying. The love of the Saviour.3. If, then, the future state of man be not placed in so full and clear a light as we desire, this is no more than what the analogy of all religion, both natural and revealed, gave us reason to expect. Hardly would any transient gleams of intervening joy be able to force their way through the cloud. 5. — too much in it for us to comprehend; full of mysteries, yet so simple and plain in most of its parts, that it has been the food of the common people for all the centuries. Is not his attachment to worldly objects the great source both of his misery and his guilt? )Individual recognition in eternityJ. But what has been a more bitter consequence of death than bereavement? 3. These are the first steps to knowledge. Two persons in the dark have differed about a colour. W. Randall, M.A.Now we see in a mirror darkly, but then face to face. John Piper Jan 7, 1990 39 Shares That his head should recline on the same clod? What can so forcibly inculcate humility as the experimental proof of our own ignorance and infirmity? Its completeness consists alone in viewing it as a part of a more complete whole. But think of the happiness of the heavenly world. Say that it is because the earth revolves on its axis, and moves round in its orbit, but where is the force that drives it along its path? (1) We have been taught to see our ruin in the fall and our actual sinfulness. All the studies and pursuits, the arts and labours, which now employ the activity of man, which support the order, or promote the happiness of society, would lie neglected and abandoned. The bias of our nature leans so much towards sense that from this side the peril is to he dreaded, and on this side the defence is to be provided. The Saviour, specifying those who are before Him, shall say, "I was an hungered, and ye gave Me meat," etc. We were created with all our powers of mind that we might know God. But if we turn our thoughts to other worlds and other species of created beings (of which, without doubt, there are innumerable), all under the wise care and government of the same Almighty and Universal Monarch who is the daily object of our adoration, how do we blush and mourn under our present ignorance, and look upon ourselves and all our knowledge comparatively as nothing, and less than nothing, and vanity!III. Precisely in the same manner, as by the mixture of evidence and obscurity which remains on the prospect of a future state, a proper balance is preserved betwixt our love of this life and our desire of a better. These extremes are parts of the same piece, only different in place, and perhaps also in circumstances and relations. We shall know holy intelligences as they shall know us. Instead of lamenting our condition, that we are permitted only to see as through a glass, darkly, we have reason to bless our Creator, no less for what He hath concealed than for what He hath allowed us to know. Then he will begin to think as an immortal creature ought to do, which he very rarely does now, whilst his mind is sensualised, his understanding cramped, his sentiments debased, and his heart captivated by low and earthly things. THE PROPERTIES OF OUR PRESENT KNOWLEDGE WHICH THE APOSTLE HERE MENTIONS.1. And "what I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter."II. We in part know something about most things, but in the light of another day we shall probably learn that our profoundest knowledge is but a small part. It is sad to see what amazing ignorance there is amougst a multitude even of Christians about the great things of religion; and that not only in the deep and disputable mysteries of it, but in some of its most plain and important principles; nay, about the essential nature and most substantial truths of it, and even the plainest parts of practical religion; and this not only amongst the lowest order of men who have had no advantages of education, but among persons of a more elevated rank, who have had sufficient opportunities of being better instructed; but having no heart to improve the prize put into their hands, are apt to despise it as a very unnecessary part of learning, and neither value others the more for having it, nor themselves the less for wanting it.4. The religion of the present would not only be absurd without the future, but groundless and impossible.5. All bars all hindrances, all veils will be withdrawn. Aye, and it was the joy of this knowledge which was filling the apostle's heart when he wrote these words, "Then shall I know fully, even as also I am known fully." It has even now a power of realising and ascertaining, of contemplating and enjoying things that are not seen. Human life would present no objects sufficient to rouse the mind, to kindle the spirit of enterprise, or to urge the hand of industry. 4. "Look to yourselves, that ye receive a full reward." Clearness. A flood of new information pours in upon the disembodied spirit, such as he can,or by any possibility acquire upon earth, and yet such as he cannot by any possibility escape from in his new residence. You cannot conceive of that which is perfect in heaven without the most entire acquiescence, in what God has arranged, or what God has suffered. Hopefulness. God permits, and science enables us to learn, just so much with regard to the heavenly bodies, their orbits, and variations, as may in any way conduce to the enlargement of our understanding, or our general well-being. THE PRACTICAL LESSONS.1. Because he had known the joy of knowledge. Yesterday it was a weakling, with only a dozen followers; to-day it masters all the peoples of the earth and brings them toward itself.(Bp. Children, you know, through the immaturity of their faculties, the liveliness of their fancy, the strength of their passions, and inexperience of their age, are very liable to be mistaken; to take up with the first notions that are instilled without examination, to retain the first impressions that are made, whether right or wrong, to be fond of the little knowledge they have, to be confident in it, and to despise others for the want of it; whilst persons of greater sense, experience, and understanding, see that all their confidence is owing to their ignorance, and look upon them with pity. From what has been said, it now appears that no reasonable objection to the belief of a future state arises from the imperfect discoveries of it which we enjoy; from the difficulties that are mingled with its evidence; from our seeing as through a glass, darkly; and being left to walk by faith, and not by sight. The copy is both defective and misleading. Matthew 6:1-2 Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. And so I dig down to the earth for this giant whose arms are so long and whose grip is so almighty, but I do not find him; and after my weary search I sit back in despair, muttering "Gravity!" From the incidental inference drawn from the like general belief of mankind in the appearances of the dead, and their being recognised by the parties to whom they appeared, as was undoubtedly the case in the instances of Moses and Elias on the Mount of Transfiguration, and of "the bodies of the saints" that arose after our Lord's resurrection.5. Introduced into the world in an indigent condition, he is supported at first by the care of others: and, as soon as he begins to act for himself, finds labour and industry to be necessary for sustaining his life and supplying his wants. TRUE ESPECIALLY OF WHAT MAY BE CALLED OUR RELIGIOUS KNOWLEDGE. But to this reasoning it may perhaps be replied, that such consequences as I have now stated, supposing them to follow, deserve not much regard. He has, through His Son, spoken more plainly. And this certainty of a future knowledge was itself a present knowledge.2. Shall we not think of the means of our conversion — what we have done for others — what others have done for us? What can so forcibly inculcate humility as the experimental proof of our own ignorance and infirmity? Here is another peak — the Book itself, said to be from God. So I walk along quietly after her, and say, What is oxygen, what is carbon? His works of creation.4. I'll call this carbon every time I see it in the future. "(Clerical World. David, indeed, proposes an express comfort to himself from such an expectation, when bereaved of his child (2 Samuel 12:29, etc.). Live with souls kept consciously ever open to His influences. Click here to return to the Sermons page. "Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Thy sight!"(J. How should not the best of all Fathers teach His children? The progress made by the child as he advances to spiritual maturity is probably as nothing compared with the advance to be made by the Christian when the veil of sense and time falls off. We are anxious to understand all mysteries and all knowledge. 5. And if we know so little of material, how much less do we know of spiritual substances, which we have much fewer helps and opportunities of being acquainted with! For, upon the supposition of immortality, this life is no other than the childhood of existence; and the measures of our knowledge must be proportioned to such a state. His internal powers and his external situation appear to be exactly fitted to each other. Trapp.Luther, the night before he died, was reasonably well, and sat with his friends at table. The glorified saints shall know God —1. One instance, in particular, of Divine wisdom is so illustrious, and corresponds so remarkably with our present subject, that I cannot pass it over without notice; that is the concealment under which Providence has placed the future events of our life on earth. (1) Day fades away into night, the night blossoms out into day; the stars walk up and down the vault of night. The nearer we get to our personality, the more deep the problems become. If in Christ all the effects of sin shall be abolished, man will be reinstated, though with much superadded glory, in all the privileges which he originally enjoyed, and therefore with a capacity of renewing and perpetuating his communion with them, over whom "death shall have no more dominion." We shall be better qualified to see them than we are now. Let the "now" be true and right, and the "then" will have its hope and brightness. It is an advancement which is comprehensive of all requisite life. Hear the new language: "Thou hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation." Not to say that imagination, as a false medium, often comes between, which enormously magnifies some objects and diminishes others as much.3. "Now we see through a glass darkly" in a riddle! The mass of men have never seen themselves. The pure in heart shall see God. Foreign travel adds much to our stock of ideas, because we go into regions of the earth of which we had known only by the hearing of the ear. It plainly appears to be the plan of the Deity, in all His dispensations, to mix light with darkness, evidence with uncertainty. Trapp. There it stands. We have now seen that the darkness of man's condition is no less essential to his well-being than the light which he enjoys. It is but very little we know of ourselves. The animals monopolise that. The present is a matter of direct consciousness, the future is a matter of inference. 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