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Heaven is compared to pearls and precious stones, to feasts and banquets, to shew its value, its joy and delight: it infinitely exceeds all the joys, pleasure, pow. er, dominion or riches the world can give : whatever you can here conceive to complete your happiness, is all less than an imaginary figure or shadow to its enjoya ment.
Heaven cannot be so well described by what it is, as by what it is not: There, God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and death shall be no more : nor mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow, shall be any longer, for the former things are past, Rev. xxi 4. There shali be no night, but all day; no darkness, but all light; no death, but all life : no time, but an illimited eternity,
The visible things below may give some faint and imperfect idea of the invisible things above. If God has framed this lower world of such vast extent, as an abode for sinful man ; what must heaven be, what the extent of that world which is to be the habitation of just souls and all the elect? If he has beautified this world with such glorious bodies, as the sun, moon and stars; adorn- og ed it with so many varieties, and permits the most wicked to enjoy its benefits; what must the beauty and splendour of heaven be, prepared for those his beloved and faithful servants! If he has given such power to the impious, to reign over kingdoms and empires, and to abound in all riches and plenty ; what power, what dominion has he not in reserve for those who have been true and obedient in his commandments ? 'The fruition of the Creator is infinitely beyond all fruition of creatures, or created beings. Well may we then say, O how lovely are thy tabernacles, Lord of Hosts? Psalm Ixxxiii. 1.
EXHOR.-Seek now, O christian, as St. Paul advises, the things that are above, not those that are below; seek the permanent substance, not the passing shadow : seek what eternity preserves, not what time destroys. Let your heart be fixed where your treasure remains; the fruition of God, the enjoyment of heaven, and heavenly souls, are the only treasure a good man thirsts after
saying, As the heart pants after the living water, so does ing soul thirst after thee, O God! Psalm xii. 2. Nothing but God, the possession of God, can fully content, rePenish, and render the soul happy, which was made mly for him.
1 Ås you are advised to descend daily in Spirit to the gates of hell, to behold with horror the just punishment of sin and sinners, to learn you to detest a wicked life ; ascend now in heart and affection, up to the gates of heaver, and behold those endless joys, those unspeakable delghts, those blessed souls now enjoy in God himself. Imagine that you hear them singing, Holy, holy, ho!y, the Lord God of Sabbaoth, the heavens, are full of the Majes. ty of his glory : Hosanna in the highest. And ought not these eternal joys animate your fervour, your devotion, your labour, and vigilance, to the acquiring them ? O what are all austerities, penance and labour you can here undergo, in balance with them! The sufferings of this present time, are not worthy to be set in balance with
the future glory which shall be revealed in us, Rom. viii. - po 18.
O christian, had you buta right notion of heaven, of its glory, it happiness, you would not be so wretchedly fond of earth: all things here below would appear to you contenptible, and of no account: you would not so often and easily pawn your soul for trifles, folly and vanity: you would take more care and pains to secure it. Heaven is the precious pearl, for which the man mentioned in the gospel gave all he had to purchase it; even the son of God made a sacrifice of his all, eclipsed his glory, sacrificed his pleasure, and his very life, to regain and reinstate you in this, your former happiness: the holy saints and martyrs thought they could not do or suffer too much to obtain it ; for this they lived the most mortified lives, and endured the most cruel deaths : Some were stretched on the rack, others flead alive ; others saved in two, others exposed to wild beasts; broiled on gridirons, cast into dungeons. Others, and
these innumerable, retiring into deserts, spent their lives site in contemplating the glory of this place, and purifying
their souls for the enjoyment of it: these had a right idea of their future immense happiness.
O how many live, as if they belonged not to it? or think to obtain it in a more easy and delicate manner ? contrary to what divine Wisdom has taught them ; tlat the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the vilamt bear it away : that they must sow in tears, to reap in joy : that they must fight valiantly, to gain so great a victory : deny themselves, and lose their life here to find it there ; and carry their cross with Jesus, if tiey will partake of his crown : no, no, there is no other gay to heaven, but what Christ himself has shewn us, boti in word and example: as it is written of him, so of al his followers : It is necessary for him to suffer, and bithat means to enter into his glory. So by many tribulations and persecutions, we are to enter like him into the kingdom of heaven.
PRAISE BE TO GOD.
A GENERAL INDEX.
at another's spiritual good,
a Communion, -
Sacrifice. . .
Jesus Christ, true God and true Man, .
his Manifestations, -
his Doctrine, .
descends into hell,
is Resurrection, -