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For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then
face to face. Now, Christians, though you are delighted with the text, yet in your thoughts, perhaps, you are ready to 'censure me for venturing upon it; and if you would speak out, I should hear you say, "Take eare, Sir, you do not go out of your depth. While you were preaching to us of living by faith, you trod on firm ground; it was a subject that camé within every one's experience; and our hearts an swered your descriptions, as face answers face in a glass. But as to living by sight, what do any of us know about it? or you either? It is a subject fittet for contemplation than discourse.'-Very true, and yet, now that the last subject hath brought us sa near to the celestial Canaan, who can help wishing, that, like Moses, from Mount Nebo, we might just look over upon the promised land, and take a cursory view of that part which is nearest to us? If I attempt to give you any account of it, you may be assured that it shall not be from any pretended discoveries of my own, but only from what I have learnt from the map of the country, or the hints that are occasionally given concerning it in the word of God.
But as some of you expressed a wish to take one farewel review of the last subject, let us do it now ; for after we have begun to taste the pleasures of sight, it would be irksome to go bacķ again to faith.
If I were to guess at your present sentiments and sensations, I could not express them better than in these lincs :
«« 'Tis pleasant to believe thy grace,
But we had rather see :
And present, Lord, with thee.” Now, then, you will be glad to hear that there is a time coming, when we shall no longer “ see through a glass das kly; but face to face"—that is, that a Christian shall see and enjoy, in the other world, what he believes and waits for in this; or, that they who live by fuith on earth, shall live by sight in heaven.
That this blaze of celestial glory may not burst upon us all at once, let us inquire, ,
1. Who are they that shall be admitted to this glorious sight:
and then, II. What they shall see.
1. Who they are that shall be admitted to this glorious sight.
It is necessary to ascertain this before we go any further, that all may know what they have to look for, and not buoy themselves up with expectations for which there is no foundation. ; .
Many, no doubt, will hereafter eagerly press to see, what now they do not think .worth looking at
I take you to record this day, that I have repeatedly held up this glass, and desired you to look through it, to those things which, by an eye of sense indeed, áre not seen, but which, nevertheless, are real and eternal, But, no; you had no time-or, rather, you had no inclination: there were other things, nearer home, that you liked to look at better. Be it known unto you, therefore, men and brethren, that if you despise or neglect these things now, you shall hereafter desire to see them, and shall not be allowed. These glorious things shall be for ever hid from your eye: or if you do see them, it shall be only like Dives, who lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom."
The new Jerusalem is described as surrounded with walls, and fortified with gates, to prevent the entrance of bold and unqualified intruders :
“ Those holy gates for ever bar
Pollation, sin, and shame:
But followers of the Lamb.” What can be more express than that text; “ Without holiness no man shall see the Lord ?” (Heb. xii. 14.) Let him be who, or what, he will; let him be a great man ; let him be a wise man; if he be not also a holy man, it signifies nothing ; he cannot see the Lord; he is not fit for it, he is not worthy of it, he is not capable of it. He who best knew the qualifications necessary for an admission to that glorious sight, hath told us,
* Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matt. v. 8.) An external purity is not sufficient-it is not suffieient even now. Let persons be as scrupulous as a
Pharisee in outward washings; let them be never so exact in the observance of the letter of the law: still it is mere “bodily exercise”-it tires, but it doth not profit. They cannot say, “thy word is very pure, therefore thy servant loveth it.” They do God's will (after a sort,) but they do not“ delight” to do it. They attend on God's house with their bodies, but their hearts are elsewhere: they cannot say,
It is good for me to draw near to God. They are not renewed in the spirit of their minds; consequently the natural enmity against God and goodness still remains: and let them be ever so apparently devout, they inwardly groan, 'Behold, what a weariness is it!'-What would these persons do in heaven? They would hate the place, they would hate the company, they would hate the employment, and wish themselves any where to get out of it.
Now, then, you may easily know whether you are likely to have any part or lot in this matter, or not. How do you stand affected towards those duties and those places, where you have more immediately to do with God? Do you love the sanctuary, as the habitation of God's house, and the place of the soles of his feet? and did the Lord ever manifest himself to you so as he doth not unto the world? Did you ever, from your own experience, say,
Verily, God is in this place !” and was it good for you to be there? Had you rather behold the beauty of the Lord, though only “ through a glass, darkly," than the finest sights in the world? Do you call the Sabbath “a de light,” and find it so ? Had you rather be a “ doorkeeper in the hoụse of God,” than sit upon the
most magnificent throne in the universe? Do your souls now thirst for God, as much as ever your bodies thirsted for water? Do you give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness? Are you pleased that God is holy; and do you long to be more like him? Are you more delighted at any proof of your growing in grace, than in the greatest worldly acquisition ? By such questions as these, if you
deal faithfully with yourselves, you may easily discover whether you shall be admitted into heaven, and whether you could be happy there : and according as your conscience determines this important question, will be your reception of the following part of this discourse. If you are indeed the pure in heart; if you are born again, and so are children of God and heirs of the kingdom ; you will be delighted to hear about the glorious sights you shall be admitted to by and by, when this vail of flesh shall be rent in twain, and all heaven be thrown open to your view. But if the eyes of your understanding were never truly enlightened by the Spirit of wisdom and revelation ; if you are to this hour in all the darkness and blindness of your natural state; though I had the tongue of an angel, and an angel's experience too, and were to talk to you till night of the joys and glories of the invisible world, it would be no more to you than an old wife's fable—it would be not merely unentertaining, but disgusting: you would be tired of hearing so much about what you never expect--and I was going to say,
what you never desire, to see ;-but I will not say that; for though you do not desire it now, you