Thursday, July 26, 2018

Not so drunk with pleasure. . .

While looking for something else, I came across this wonderful section from Martin Chemnitz, Examen, III:368.
"as though we thought the souls of the saints with Christ are so secure, drunk as it wore with pleasure and glory, that they do not think about the fact that the Son of God is always gathering for Himself a church on earth until the end of the world, or that they do not know, or certainly do not care, that the church, fighting under the banner of the cross here on earth, is exposed and subjected to various afflictions and persecutions, or that they neither desire nor wish nor ask for the church, which they know is laboring on earth under the cross, anything good from Christ, in whose presence, they are.  For because the blest in the fatherland are together with us, members of one and the same body, whose head is Christ, and because 'love never ends' (I Cor. 13:8), and the saints live with Christ and know that God has 'foreseen. . . that apart from us they should not be made perfect' (Heb. 11:40), but must wait 'until the full number of their fellow servants and their brethren' on earth 'should be complete' (Rev. 6:11), these are pious and good thoughts, that the blest in heaven, although they *may not* see the particular circumstances of individual persons living on earth, are nevertheless in a certain way of their own concerned about the general condition of the church, which they know to be fighting on earth under the cross, because they themselves have experienced how many and how great are the difficulties and miseries of mortal life, and that they therefore are of good will toward the living, as their own members, and that they desire and wish all good things from Christ, in whose free presence they live, so that these on earth, preserved and set free from sin, may be transferred to the society of the heavenly fatherland."
In a blessed way, Chemnitz preserves the essential connection between the saints on earth and the saints above and yet without extending beyond the Word of the Lord.  Above all, this gives the comfort to the saints still in warfare that the saints triumphant are not only on the side but prayers ascend from both sides of the great divide between earth and heaven for the same purpose and for the same goal, the consummation of all things promised.  

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