Oliver Heywood: Against carnal notions of heaven

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Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
What should the old Creature do in Heaven? Heaven would be no Heaven to him: the Heavenly Jerusalem is another kind of thing then most take it to be. What wild, bald Conceptions have sensual Sots of Heaven? as though it were Mahomet‘s Paradise, or Heathens Elysian Fields, wherein Men may only gratify their Senses, or wallow in Pleasures: Alas, a Man may say to these ignorant Souls, as our Lord to Zebedee‘s Children, You know not what you ask. You would go to Heaven, yes, fain you would be saved, but do you know what Heaven is? I will tell you briefly, Heaven consists in a freedom from all Sin, a perfection of Grace, enjoyment of God, employment in divine Praises, love, delight in God, meditation on God, Ecstasies and Ravishment of all the Soul’s Faculties in immediate communion with him: ...

Alas, a poor carnal heart is weary of Duties, much more will he be in Heaven; Sermon is too long, Prayer is tedious, when will the Sabbath be gone? Can these be fit to enjoy God in an eternal Sabbath of rest? nay, the poor guilty Sinner cares not for coming near to God, the Sight of God is terrible to him, as it was to fallen Adam: indeed without converting Grace, introducing this New Creature and Divine Nature, the Soul would be altogether strange to God, and any converse with an holy, glorious God; yea, even the sanctified themselves, by reason of the Remainders of Corruption in them, have much ado to bring their Hearts to converse with God, especially when they lie under the sense of Guilt, even a Godly Peter then crys out, Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord, Luk. 5.8. ...

For more, see Oliver Heywood: Against carnal notions of heaven.


Puritanboard Clerk
As I have some lingering Platonism in me, I agree we shouldn't imagine dark-haired houris (to quote Mohammed). That being said, we will also inhabit the New Earth and I take the language in Isaiah quite seriously (leaving aside the troubling question of what "literal" actually means).
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