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lestial bliss. He not only affirms of men, in general, that their eyes have not seen, nor their ears heard, nor have entered into their hearts to imagine the good things, which God hath prepared for them that love him: but when he relates, that he himself had been “caught up into the third heaven," " into the paradise” of God, the only account, which he finds himself able to impart, of its stupendous scenes, is that he “ heard unspeakable words, " which it is not lawful for man to utter."* But does not this very incomprehensibility of the
things to come," which are the inheritance of the believer, this impossibility of describing them in mortal speech, enhance their value in his esteem? If they cannot be described, it is only because our mean expressions are incommensurate to their worth. If they exceed our comprehension, it is because their extent is too vast for the narrow range of our present ideas; their excellencies too sublime to be reached by our imaginations, while encumbered with flesh and blood.
Feel you not, then, a longing, an ardent desire to enter on possession, that you may know and comprehend, with all saints, their surpassing greatness; that you may behold and experience their extatic delights; and thus, too, acquire views more just, and sentiments more suitable, of that “ love of Christ, which passeth knowledge,”+ and to which you are indebted for all? Captivated with the prospect, is not each of you ready to cry out, with Moses on the border of Canaan, “ O Lord God, thou hast begun to shew thy servant thy greatness, and thy mighty hand : 2 Cor. xii. 24.
+ Eph. iii. 19.
" I pray thee, let me go over, and see. the good “ land, that is beyond Jordan!"* There flow the rivers of pleasure. There grows the tree of life. There abide " the nations of them which are saved :" there, all the company of heaven; cherubim and seraphim, thrones and dominions: And there dwells the Lamb himself, in the midst of his redeemed. To their joy, there is no interruption; and its duration is without end there is no interruption; for in that favoured land there are no adverse events, to break in upon external happiness ;, no guilty passions, to violate internal peace :-its. duration is without end; for their life is immortal, and their bliss eternal, as their Lord's. " Because I live," said he,
ye shall live also.”: Imagination darts forward far into futurity ; but, fatigued, it returns, finding no end of ages.
But are there not, among things to come,” things of another nature, and scenes of an opposite description? Is there not an awful judgment? Is there not an intolerable hell? And are these also yours? Yes, in these, too, the friends of Jesus have an interest. These are theirs, not to destroy, but to augment their happiness. Judgment is theirs; for it is the season of their highest honours; when, acknowledged by the Lord of all, in the presence of his Father, and of his holy angels, they shall be seated on his right hand, and be sharers of his glory. And their knowledge of the abyss of wo shall not only yield them matter for adoring the retributive justice of Jehovah, but by contrast shall heighten their joys. While the thought, that that justice must have appointed it for their own abode, had
Deut. iii. 24, 25.
not grace rescued, and brought them to the realms of bliss, will raise gratitude to rapture, and afford a theme for everlasting praise.
Such, then, ye friends of Jesus, are the particulars of your privileges and possessions, as stated in the text. And can aught be promised, or be given, more than these? Yes, if possible, there is more: for, as if aware that no enumeration could include the whole of the christian's portion, the apostle begins with asserting, “ all things are yours :" and when he has finished his enumeration, comprehensive as it is, he repeats, as if conscious that something might still be omitted, “ all are yours.” To possess all things! Is not this to resemble God himself? In your measure and degree it is. All things are absolutely his, for the display of his glory, and for his eternal enjoyment of his own perfections, as manifested in them. And all things, with which you may be connected, or in which you can have interest, all things that can affect your present condition, or your future state, are yours; to work together for your everlasting happiness and honour. More the universe could not do for you, more you could not draw from it, were the whole, in the strictest and most absolute sense, your own.
Are these, then, your privileges; and is such your portion? What constraining arguments to the exercise of humility and gratitude, does the considerätion of them present! Lord! “ What is man,
that " thou art thus mindful of him ? and the son of
man, that thou visitest him** with such boundless goodness !" Who are we, and what is our house, " that thou hast brought us 'hitherto ?”# And let Psalm viii:
+ 2 Sam. vii. 18.
the solemn service, in which you have been enployed, give peculiar accent and direction to your thankfulness and praise. For by the dying agonies, which you have commemorated, the purchase of your privileges was finished. By the blood which was shed on Calvary, the covenant was ratified, in which your right to possession is conveyed.
Again : Is such the inheritance of the children of God? Then, how high is their happiness; how desirable is their state! “ Happy is that people, that " is in such a case : yea, 'happy is that people, W! whose God is the Lord."*--Let me call on every one, then, to make this the object of their habitual endeavours, and daily prayers.
Such was our apostle's aim.
“ We labour that, whether present “ or absent, we may be accepted with him.”+ And such is the object, after which the Holy Ghost exhorts us all to strive, “Give diligence to make
your calling and election sure :-for so an entrance " shall be ministered unto you abundantly, into the "! everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour.”I And if there be any, who have hitherto heard this admonition in vain ; let me entreat them, by all that they hold dear in life, and by all that they dread in death; by all that is valuable in things present, by all that is awfully important in things to come, at last to give it heed. Will the portion, to which, in time past, you have adhered, repay you for the loss of all things? Will it make you amends for the loss of yourselves? You know that you never hold it sure. You are certain that you cannot hold it long. Nay, transient as it is, you have no right to hold it at all. The covenant, 'under which you * Psalna cxliv. 15; † 2 Cor. v. 9. + 1 Peter i 10 :
stand, is broken; and you are yet strangers to that covenant, by which man's rights are at once renewed and enlarged. Yet, if you be not resolved upon despising mercy, there is a refuge provided, in the atonement of Christ; and a full title to every thing good on earth, and glorious in heaven, is offered, through his righteousness, even to the chief of sinners. Do not, then, such despite to the grace of God; be not so hardened against your own souls, as to cling to endless loss and ruin; while
your eter nal salvation, and the inheritance of all things, are pressed upon you in vain. Let not this expostulation, too, be joined with all those, which you have formerly slighted, in aggravating your condemnation!
Once more, to address the friends of Christ.Are all things yours? and are they yours through him? all in his service, and to consecrate all to his glory? Your talents, your possessions, your means of improvement, are all his gifts. Let your use of them be a constant acknowledgment of what you owe.If he have appointed for you the ministry of the word, attend upon it with diligence and reverence; that you may learn more of your duty to him, and increase in your knowledge of him. If he has conferred on you“ the world,” use it, “ as not abusing it.”* Study that self-denial, of which he was the most illustrious example; and which will teach to live “ as having nothing," though“ possessing all things.”+-If he have assigned you “ life,” as the period of your discipline, and the season of your preparation for a better state, endeavour to fill it up with such sentiments and haCor. vii. 31.
it ? Cor. vi. 10.