« PredošláPokračovať »
there is fulness of joy. The sight of the Father shall suffice us. When we awake up after his likeness, we shall be satisfied with it. We shall be satisfied with the goodness of his house, yea, abundantly satisfied; and shall drink of the river of his pleasures, for evermore. The pleasures of GOD may well satisfy his creatures. Oh! were all the happiness ever enjoyed by any individual on earth, or by all that ever dwelt upon it, distilled into one cup of rapture, it would not equal one single moment's delight, such as is experienced in heaven, constantly and without termination.
Thirdly. That blessedness will be uncloying. Earthly pleasures cloy, but do not satisfy. The soul expands beyond them, and rises above them. But those of heaven, while they satisfy, cloy not. The stream of life is ever sparkling-ever delicious. In heaven, also, there will be a copious variety of gratifications. This is indicated by the announcement, that the tree of life bears twelve manner of fruits, and yields her fruit every month.'1 Thus, there is both an ample variety of delights, and also a constant succession of them. While every new enjoyment, every additional influx of felicity, shall call forth another return of praise to Him, who consented to die, that he might purchase them all, for his people. The oil of gladness, rising and superabounding in those vessels of mercy, shall overflow in gushes of melody. It is twice written,
1 'Seven score and four harvests in the year,' says RUTHERFORD,
that they sung a new song. Though sung so oft, it was still new, because the love that prompted it, was still new. Nor shall it ever cease to awaken renewed emotions of melody and joy, in the hearts of the happy and grateful adorers. Freshness is the attribute of every thing celestial. Heaven is still a new heaven." It never fades, or waxes old: never loses its pristine brightness. Because undefiled, it fadeth not away.
Though Heaven will be a rest, it will not be one of stone-like quietude, but of the liveliest activity.1 This we infer from the previously-acquired habits of the saved. While in this world, at least from the epoch of their conversion, they are in a state of constant moral and intellectual advancement; continually acquiring increased skill, readiness, and ability in the service of their heavenly Father; and can we suppose that all this ennobling improvement, this elevating proficiency, will suddenly terminate at death? No-God doth nothing in vain. He hath made all things for himself. All his gifts and graces are intended to be exercised for his glory; for," of him, and through him, and to him are all things.' This life is but a school of discipline for a better. The moral and mental progress of believers, so far from ceasing on their leaving
1 'Full of peace as the prospect of heaven is, there is no indolent relinquishment of duty connected with the contemplation of it; for heaven is full of action. Its repose is like the repose of nature-the repose of planets in their orbits. It is a rest from all controversy with God-from all opposition to his will. His servants serve him.'T. ERSKINE, Esq.
earth, advances them with greater rapidity than ever. "They go from strength to strength," and when in Zion they appear before God, then, with faculties fully developed, they serve him day and night in his temple. Accordingly entering into Heaven is termed by our Saviour "entering into life; and the very character of life is motion. So active will the heavenly existence be, that the present is death compared with it. Yet this activity will be wholly free from fatigue. Otherwise it would not be Heaven. At present, we can scarcely separate from the idea of constant employment, that of weariness and pain. But there the body will be so adapted to the soul, that, instead of being an incumbrance, it will be a helper of her joy: her fit medium of communication with all the glorious inhabitants and scenery of heaven.' Our dispositions shall be so attuned to our occupations, that employment will be enjoyment. Our activity will be of preference. It shall prove our greatest gratification to do our Father's will. Even there the love of Christ is the constraining principle of obedience; for love never faileth.' We shall have an angel's beauty, and an angel's vigour, and more than an angel's gratitude; so that, with the utmost alacrity and cheerfulness we shall worship the Lord, not resting day nor might, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power; for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they
are and were created." "Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests."
Fourthly. The blessedness of heaven will be everlasting. It is a grievous worm in the heart of all sublunary bliss, (and the dearer that bliss, the more poignantly that worm is felt,) that the pleasure must soon have an end.1 But at God's right hand are" pleasures for evermore." The glorified saint is made a pillar in the temple of the Lord," and he shall go no more go out." Heaven is described as a golden city, to indicate the preciousness, purity, and permanency of its contentments. It is "a city that hath foundations." It would, says
Baxter, be a hell in heaven, to think of once losing heaven; as it would be a kind of heaven to the damned, had they but hopes of once escaping.
Thus will the blessed employ an unending duration in spiritual intercourse and contemplation; in tuning their golden harps to hymns of praise; or, in winging their gladsome and unwearied flight, as God may commission them, on errands of love around the regions of his universe. And thus will they be perpetually advancing in knowledge and in glory, and consequently in happiness, without any
1 Were all of us more prosperous than any of us is, yet that one thing were enough to cry down the price we put upon this life, that it continues not; as one answered to him who had a mind to flatter him in the midst of a pompous triumph, by saying, What is wanting here?''Continuance,' said he.'-Archbishop LEIGHTON, on St. Peter. 2 Rev. iii. 12.
limitation for of the Saviour it is written, that "of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end." The Holy Spirit in the soul shall" spring up into life everlasting." 2
And what an idea it affords of the immeasurable greatness of the divine nature, that beings so matured and exalted, so intelligent and holy, as the glorified shall be, will be continually ascending nearer and nearer to the supreme excellence, throughout innumerable ages, and yet never reach that excellence, yea, that there shall still be an infinite distance between it and them! "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God ! "
And, Christian reader, is it so, that we, who are of yesterday, we, who may say to corruption, "Thou art my father, and to the worm, Thou art my mother and my sister," are, nevertheless, susceptible of so high and august an advancement; and shall we not kindle with desire at the very con templation? O! what an elevating thought, that we are destined for an existence so transcendently glorious! How it dignifies and ennobles our nature. Truly has it been remarked, that he, who denies a hereafter, annihilates man's highest dignity, severing the bond which connects him with eternity, with angels, and with GOD.
Seeing, then, that we look for such things, what manner of persons ought we to be! how superior to