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earth : how triumphant, as well over its sinful allurements, as over its calamities and vexations. Oh! let us aim to walk worthy of our high vocation, glorifying him, who hath called us to glory and virtue. Let us serve the Lord with gladness now, who hath purchased for us the privilege of reigning with him for ever. Let us not be contented with being merely safe, but aspire to a pre-eminence in godliness. Let us not rest satisfied with the place
a door-keeper” in the heavenly kingdom, but strive to obtain a station near the throne.
Though in heaven the joy of all will be full, yet there will likely be degrees of glory. For, first, there are degrees of misery in hell. Time shall receive greater damnation; be accounted worthy of sorer punishment than others. That servant who knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. By analogy, then, we may conclude that, in heaven, some will be more honoured than others.
Again, there are degrees of glory in the church below; some saints excelling others in virtue : therefore we infer, that, in the church above, the same in character, and one kingdom with this,) there will obtain a similar diversity of degrees. In the ark, the type of heaven, there were several compartments, and so our Saviour affirmed, “ In my Father's house are many
mansions. Once more ; there are different ranks and orders among the holy angels, cherubim, seraphim, thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers. And we read of one, whose peculiar privilege it is to stand in God's immediate presence. A correspondent gradation shall doubtless subsist among those, who “ shall be as the angels.” Some shall sit on Emmanuel's right hand ; others on his left. The elders shall occupy seats round about the throne ; ? while others of the redeemed, marshalled in widening circles behind these, orb within orb,' shall render to their king their willing homage. Every individual shall have his proper place and province; none interfering with another. In the universal choir, each maintains his allotted part: while the whole economy of that happy commonwealth, is conducted with the utmost harmony and order. “God is not the author of confusion, but of peace.”
? Luke xii. 47, 48. 3 Gen, vi. 14, 16.
1 Hebrews X. 29.
Finally; it seems altogether consistent with the divine justice and the fitness of things, that those who have been distinguished by zeal, service, experience, sufferings, and faithfulness in the cause of God on earth, shall be raised to stations of distinguished honour and respect in heaven. Accordingly, we read, that “ he shall reward every one according to his works;” that in proportion to their diligence in improving the trusts committed to them here, some shall be rulers over few, and some over many things. All indeed shall enter into the joy of their Lord; all shall participate in
Matt. xx. 23.
% Rey. iv. 4.
his pleasures; but while they that were wise shalı shine as the brightness of the firmament, those that turned many to righteousness, shall shine as the stars, for ever and ever. And even among these, one star shall differ from another star in glory. An apostle shall wear a brighter crown than a common minister ; a martyr than an ordinary Christian. The aged saint, too, who bore the burden and heat of the day, shall probably be accounted worthy of more honour, than the child, who died in infancy. The cups of all will be full, but some shall be more capacious than others. Their previous stages of sanctity, though not the procuring cause, shall yet be the measure, of their future felicity.
Rest not satisfied, then, Christian! with low attainments in grace and knowledge. You have no grace whatever, if you do not desire more. He loves not Christ at all, who labours not after a perfect conformity to him. If the living water be in the heart, it will be ever rising toward its fountain. Evince, then, your conversion, by coveting earnestly the best gifts, by spiritual-mindedness. “ Set your affection on things above.” “ Desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.” “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.” “Giving all diligence, add to your faith, virtue ; and to virtue, knowledge ; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity. So shall an entrance be ministered unto you
1 Where the true grace of God is, there is still some sense of its weakness, and inclination after an increase therein.'-TRAIL,
Throne of Grace.'
abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”
The higher you attain in devotedness to God here, the nearer to the throne you shall stand hereafter. He hath set no limit to your progression in moral and spiritual excellence. He hath said to no one point in the ascending scale of blessedness—" Hitherto shalt thou come and no farther." On the contrary, he hath commanded, saying, “Be ye holy, as I am boly.” Every one that is perfect shall be as his master. It seems, indeed, essential to beings so constituted and circumstanced as the saints are, to go forward. The longer they dwell in the light of the Divine presence, the more resplendent must their countenances become. The longer they contemplate the fair beauty of the Lord, the more must they advance in intelligence, in love, and in every perfection.
Are you in any affliction, of mind, body, or estate? Live with heaven in your eye, and then, your light affliction, which (compared with eternity) is but for a moment, shall work for you a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. When oppressed with pain, lassitude, or languor, remember that in heaven there shall be no more
pain, but joy and pleasure for evermore. When distressed with a sense of indwelling sin, recollect that, ere long, you shall be completely freed from every torment, and be as the angels of God. you “grieved for the affliction of Joseph ?” Do you sorrow at beholding the spouse of Christ still in weeds, bewailing the absence of her Lord ? Be consoled by the remembrance, that the day is rapidly approaching, when “thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation,” a holy city, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband : sparkling with all manner of gems, and beaming with imperishable beauty : when they that mourned for her shall rejoice for joy, and shall suck and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations, yea, be delighted with the abundance of her glory.
In fine, remember with adoring gratitude, that you are born again unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an “ inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God, through faith, unto salvation : wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now, for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness, through manifold temptations."
• Hear not these things idly, as if they concerned you not, but let them move you to resolution and action. Say as they said of Canaan, It is a good land, let us go up and possess it. Learn to use what you have here as travellers, and let your home,
1 Isaiah lxvi, 10, 11.