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and wish to hear, and see, and mingle with them; yet you shrink from the presence of such genius, wisdom, and goodness. But you will feel nothing of this, when you sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and Moses, and with prophets, and apostles, and martyrs, and reformers in the kingdom of God. Nor will saints only be your companions; but those glorious beings who never sinned, who excel in strength, who are proverbial for their wisdom, who are your models in doing the will of God on earth, who are your ministering spirits, invisibly watching over you in your minority—the innumerable company of angels. And though they will not be able to say, He hath redeemed us unto God by his blood; they will cry with a loud voice, (though you will endeavour to be louder,). 6 Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.”—You may reckon upon
The most glorious employment. I should as soon think that heaven was a nursery of vice, as a state of inaction. Indolence is no more irreconcilable to virtue, than perfectly incompatible with happiness.
"A want of occupation is not rest.
All the powers conferred by a wise Creator necessarily imply their application and use : and the more life any being possesses, the more energy and activeness will distinguish him, unless he is in a state of perversion or restraint. But what are the employ. . ments of heaven? Dr. Watts has speculated much on this subject. Some of his conjectures are probable, and all pleasing. But we dare not follow him.
Of this we are sure, that there will be none of those mean and degrading toils which arise now from the necessities of our nature, or from luxury and pride. Neither will there be any of those religious exercises which pertain to a state of imperfection. Repentance will be hid froin our eyes. There will be no more warfare and watchings. Neither will there be any more prayers with strong cryings and tears. Yet it is said, " They serve him day and night in his temple.” And their powers will be equal to the work; for neither the fervency nor the duration of the service will produce exhaustion or languor. The common notion of always standing up and singing, is too childish to be refuted. We have no doubt but that there may be stated assemblies for adoration and praise. But Christians are said to be still praising him now; and they do this, not by acts of worship only, but by performing his will, by filling up their stations in life properly, and promoting the welfare of all around them : and his work even here is honourable and glorious.
On the presence and sight of the Saviour, in whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, you may reckon ; and you will reckon, and reckon supremely, if you are a Christian. “Ah,” says Paul, “ I long to depart, and to be with Christ, which is far better." 66 We art confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and present with the Lord.” What would every thing be in his absence ! Could the place, the company, the harps, be a substitute for him ? But here is the consummation -you shall “serve him, and see his face.” You need not envy those who knew him after the flesh; you will have access to him; you will see the King, and see him in his beauty. He is now with you. He knows your soul in adversity: and comes to you as a friend, and helper, and comforter. But you are now in prison. His visits, when he looks upon you through the bars, and brings you supplies, and communes with you in the cell, are relieving. They solace the confinement; you wish them multiplied ; you expect them with joy. But the best of all these visits will be the last, when he will come not only to you, but for you: when he will open the doors of the dungeon, and knock off the fetters, and take you home to his palace. Then you will be with him ; you will 6 walk with” him “in white;" you will “ eat and drink at his table in his kingdom;" you will be for ever with the Lord.”—It is hardly necessary to say, that you may reckon upon
The most exquisite enjoyment. This will spring abundantly from all the foregoing sources, and especially the last. It will far transcend every feeling we have had of delight and ecstasy here. The state itself is expressed by it. “ Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” Jude says, we shall be 6 presented before the presence of his glory, with exceeding joy." And says David, “In thy presence is fulness of joy, and at thy right hand are pleasures for evermore.". For you may reckon upon
The perpetuity of all this. “ Permanency,” says the Poet, 66 adds bliss to bliss." But here it is absolutely indispensable even to the happiness itself: for the greater the blessedness, the more miserable we should feel if it were in danger. Who in the possession of such a prize, could exist under the thought of losing it? How careful therefore are the sacred writers never to leave out this essential, in any of their descriptions. If it be life, it is eternal life. If it be salvation, it is 6 everlasting” salvation. If it be a kingdom, it is a kingdom that “cannot be shaken.” If it be a crown, it is a crown of “glory that fadeth not away."
To which we may add, that you may reckon not only on the eternity, but the increase. Who could think of being doomed to remain stationary? How irksome would any condition be in which there could be no possibility of advance and improvement? But your faculties will not be confined to a circle of sameness : they will be free; they will break forth on every side. How much more do the angels know now than once; and yet still they desire to look into the Saviour's sufferings and glory. How often will there be new songs in heaven, or fresh acclamations of admiration and praise, from fresh discoveries and displays of the perfections of God, in his works and ways. Every finite being is capable of accession ; and in knowing, and doing, and attaining, and enjoying, there will be an infinite progression before us.
With this account of heaven you will be dissatisfied. Be assured, the Lecturer is still more so. Who, upon such a subject, can speak worthily? I will therefore no longer darken counsel with words without knowledge; but conclude by calling upon you
IV. TO BEHOLD THE CHRISTIAN IN HIS FINAL DESTINY, AND TO REMARK THE INSTRUCTIONS AND IMPRESSIONS THAT SHOULD ARISE FROM THE CON
Behold him THERE, as a monument of Divine grace. What was he once? He will not be un
willing to look to the rock whence he was hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence he was digged. He will acknowledge that by nature he was a child of wrath even as others; condemned by the law of God; a fallen, guilty, depraved creature ; his
powers all defiled and desolate; helpless and ready to perish. But what is he now? Redeemed, justified, renewed, quickened together with Christ ; raised up and made to sit with him in the heavenly places. And whence is all this? Is it by his own worthiness, or righteousness, or strength, that he has made himself whole ? “ This people,” says God, “ have I formed for myself; they shall show forth my praise." Here he has placed them to display in their salvation the freeness, the power, and the fulness of his grace : That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness towards them by Christ Jesus. And falling in completely with this design, they cast their crowns at his feet and exclaim, “ Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy and thy truth's sake. By the grace of God I am what I am. Not I, but the grace
of God which was with me. Behold him THERE, and see the conduct of God towards him in this world explained and vindicated. It will be acknowledged that though God does much for his people here, yet the relation in which he has been pleased to place himself, implies and requires far more than he now performs. A future state of munificent liberality is therefore necessary. To this he appeals, and by this his promises are to be estimated. Hence says the Apostle, “Wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, seeing he hath prepared for them a city.” Here, while the wicked prospered, and