Yet the heavenly joys of the illuminated understanding far transcend the thrills of the glorified senses. The contemplation of heavenly beauty and of heavenly truth must indeed be beyond all our earthly standards of comparison. The clearness and instantaneousness of all the mental processes, the complete exclusion of error, the unbroken serenity of the vision, the facility of embracing whole worlds and systems in one calm, searching, exhausting glance, the Divine character and utter holiness of all the truths presented to the view—these are broken words which serve at least to show what we may even ’now indistinctly covet in that bright abode of everlasting bliss. Intelligent intercourse with the angelic choirs, and the incessant transmission of the Divine splendours through them to our minds, cannot be thought of without our perceiving that the keen pleasures and deep sensibilities of the intellectual world on earth are but poor, thin, unsubstantial shadows of the exulting immortal life of our glorified minds above.
The very expansion of the faculties of the soul, and the probable disclosure in it of many new faculties which have no object of exercise in this land of exile, are in themselves pleasures which we can hardly picture to ourselves. To be rescued from all narrowness, and for ever; to possess at all times a perfect consciousness of our whole undying selves, and to possess and retain that self-consciousness in the bright light of God; to feel the supernatural corroborations of the light of glory, securing to us powers of contemplation such as the highest mystical theology can only faintly and feebly imitate; to expatiate in God, delivered from the monotony of human things; to be securely poised in the highest flights of our immense capacities, without any sense of weariness, or any chance of a reaction; who can think out for himself the realities of a life like this?
Yet what is all this compared with one hour, one of earth’s short hours, of the magnificences of celestial love? Oh to turn our whole souls upon God, and souls thus expanded and thus glorified; to have our affections multiplied and magnified a thousandfold, and then girded up and strengthened by immortality to bear the beauty of God to be unveiled before us; and even so strengthened, to be rapt by it into a sublime amazement which has no similitude on earth; to be carried away by the inebriating torrents of love, and yet be firm in the most steadfast adoration; to have passionate desire, yet without tumult or disturbance; to have the most bewildering intensity along with an unearthly calmness; to lose ourselves in God, and then find ourselves there more our own than ever; to love rapturously and to be loved again still more rapturously, and then for our love to grow more rapturous still, and again the return of our love to be still outstripping what we gave, and then for us to love even yet more and more and more rapturously, and again, and again,