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dice, error, temptation, or şin, Herod cut off the preacher's whatever it may be. In one head. So it is now, men may, circle it will be of one kind, in with comparative ease, be bro't one of another. The soldier to hear any truths, and even to inust be attacked on the ground be fond of hearing them ; but of his insolence, the tax-gather- while the preacher rests in gener for his oppression, and the erals, the sinner is not reprovmultitude for their general sel-ed. Why have we so many fishness; and in this consists, mere hearers who seem to know indeed, one of the great difficul- every truth that is to be known, ties of preaching
and yet are nearly as ungovernThe idle and superficial prea-ed in their tempers and as lax in cher, on the other hand, has their lives as a great part of the learnt to shine on a particular / unbelievers ? One of the reatopic. Some doctrine which he sons I apprehend to be this, that can handle well is always his congregations are too seldom inchosen ground. Say what you structed in the nature of their will, he returns to this subject. own particular faults. There He thinks of no heresy, but that are few John the Baptists to spewhich he has skill to combat. cify their sins; there are few Other errors as pernicious gain who like Nathan apply the parground without being noticed. able, and say, “ Thou art the Sometimes it even happens that man." these superficial teachers agree- Let me not, however, be ing in this respect with their thought to discourage a due proequally superficial hearers, as- portion of doctrinal preaching, cribe to timidity, or to want of or to undervalue evangelical light, the procedure which I am truths. By no means. This is recommending, and venture to the very way in which those judge and condemn the minister truths are found to take effect. who has a larger knowledge of Would you invite a man to behuman nature and of the gospel. | lieve in Christ ? first convince Would not such men have blam- him of sin. Would you .coned the Baptist on the same vince him of sin ? name then ground? Had the soldiers ask- some particular sin, and prove ed them, What shall we do? | that sin upon him. When broWould they not have affirmed ken under a sense of it, he will some doctrinal point, in the be more disposed to confess his preaching of which they con- general iniquity, and to acknowceive all boldness to consist ? | ledge, like David, recollecting But was there not more cour- his act of murder and adultery, age in exhorting the soldiers to “ Behold I was born in sin and be content with their wages and shapen in iniquity, and in sin to do violence to no man, than did my mother conceive me.” in proclaiming to them the most This is also a mode which private repulsive general truth ? When Christians may sometimes adJohn preached generally to Her- vantageously follow in their reliod, the king “heard him glad-gious conversation with individly ;" but when John descended | uals. When a man is curious to particulars, and said it is not about doctrines, reply to his relawful to have thy brother's wife, I ligious questions as John answered those of the publicans | mitted to return from that un and soldiers, by pointing to his known country to satisfy our own besetting sin. Do not in- curiosity, and to answer the nu. dulge in doctrinal disputation. merous questions we should be Enter not the thorny path of eager to make concerning its controversy. Beware of meta nature and enjoyments. The physical niceties and of deep and book of God, indeed, which in. abstruse questions. These, in forms us of every thing that is deed, are topics on which he will most necessary for man to know, be glad to enter, and perhaps has partly removed the vail ; your skill in such disquisitions and though it has not told us may tempt you to accompany | enough to satisfy curiosity, it him into this field of debate. / has done what is far more im, But remember that all doctrine portant : it has given us such a is ill understood, while the con representation of the glory of science is unfeeling. Prove then the world to come as, without his sin upon him, and though explaining its precise nature, you proceed no further, you will may serve to elevate our expect: send him away prepared for the ations to the highest pitch, kin: reception of further truth. Some dle our warmest desires, inspire other person, as I admit, may us with fortitude to bear the enter into your labors; but that evils of this transitory life, and ought to be a consideration of dispose us to consider the attainlittle moment. There is, indeed, ment of heaven as the only. ob., no want òf men who are readyject which may justly claim our to administer the consolations of anxious solicitude and most Christianity, or to become in | strenuous endeavors. structors of others in the more But let us consider what those high and disputable points. circumstances are which consti
S. P. tute the happiness of heaven.
1. It is the peculiar residence of the Almighty. There will be
exhibited open displays of the From the Christian Observer. divine glory. There also will be
exhibited the most stupendous Reflections on the Nature and acts of divine power ; there the
Happiness of the Heavenly mind will be continually astonWorld.
ished, delighted, and elevated by
proofs of wisdom, not obscure, or MT HE mind of man is natur- sparing, or dubious, but clear
1, ally impressed with an and manifest ; and there also anxious desire of knowing what will be poured forth in the richwill be his future state when he est variety and abundance the is removed out of this transitory treasures of divine goodness, withlife. We see our friends taken out any mixture of alloy or re. away from us to behold them nostraint of enjoyment. In the more in this world ; we know most striking and expressive that in a short time we ourselves way will the love of the Father shall be summoned to depart and of Jesus Christ, his only be. hence and be no more seen. gotten Son, be manifested in all And no one has yet been per- | its fulness of good. There too
the holiness and purity of the di- | is transitory, fading, uncertain, vine nature will shine forth in All the good which God here rays of lustre; not such, indeed, exhibits is equally shared by the as will scorch the beholder, but wicked and corrupt. His wis. rather illuminate him with their dom and power are displayed splendor, and transform him in- upon things comparatively of to the same divine image from little worth. The leaf of a weed glory to glory.
may discover wonderful art ; the Thus God dwells in heaven shell of a contemptible fish may by the boundless manifestation display the richest coloring ; of every thing great and glori- the body of the vilest of men ous and good. Upon this earth, may shew astonishing wisdom : indeed, we see on every side yet all these things are only, as proofs of infinite wisdom, pow. it were, the rough sketches of er, and goodness. The endless infinite wisdom. They are invariety of natural productions tended only for a moment. They ornamented with all the vivid- will soon be burnt up as things ness of color and elegance of of no worth.. form ; the magnitude of the I do not pretend to explain, heavenly bodies, the skill of their or even to conjecture, in what arrangement, and swiftness of way the glorious proofs of the their motions; the wonderful divine perfections will be exhib, structure of the human body, ited to us above. It is sufficient and the diversified powers of for me to know that God will the human mind : all these and exhibit them; and I see enough much more proclaim the pre- of his unsearchable wisdom here sence and hand of a master, below to make me give him full whose wisdom must be infinite credit for a display glorious, ine and power uncontrolable. But finitely glorious, above what the yet these no otherwise give us eye hath seen or the heart of an idea of the skill of the great man can conceive. The infant Architect, than the broken co- this moment born into the world lumns, the disjointed arches, and may possibly as well conceive the mouldering capitals, of some the nature of the world in which ruined edifice convey to us an it finds itself, as man, with all adequate idea of the beauty and his boasted sagacity, can con. grandeur of the original build-ceive the nature of the world to ing. We live here in the ruins come. Let us rest satisfied that of a world, once, indeed, fair and it will be a perfect, as well as good, but now forsaken by its glorious, display, of every divine great master, and suffered to fall attribute : such a display as into decay ; and the traces we throughout eternity will excite meet with of greatness and splen- our gratitude, our admiration, dor are comparatively few and our love, our humility: mean. Here everything is 2. The inhabitants of heaven marked by imperfection. Light are related to God as his people. is obscured by darkness, truth is It was evidently his intention in debased by error, good is pollu- separating them from the world, ted with evil, pleasure is alloy- to exalt them, to purify them, to ed by pain, health is clouded by deliver them from every evil sickness, and every enjoyment | and imperfection, to make them
partakers of a new and divine | we shall glory in it as our nou nature, to assimilate them to blest privilege. himself, and to glorify and beat- 3. But let not the Son of God ify them with himself in a bet- be ever forgotten while we speak ter and purer state. In heaven or think of heaven. To him we they will be his people : singled owe every thing. He purchasout, as it were, that they may ed us by his precious blood. He receive the most abundant com.sought us when we had wandermunication of his grace and mer.ed far from our father's fold. cy; and that the glory of his To his loving kindness, patience, goodness, truth, love, and holi- and bounty, we owe every hope ness, may be wonderfully dis- in time and eternity. He is the played in the perfection of their bond of union between us and felicity, the purity of their na- his father. He is the center of ture, and the completeness of the relation which will exist betheir beatification.
tween the redeemed and their But in order that this relation God. Behold here the perfect may subsist in perfection, it is accomplishment of his labors. absolutely necessary that a pre- For this he travailed and suffervious conformity in nature should ed death on the cross-that he take place between man and might thus restore man to God, God. And such a change does and reconcile God to men ; that take place. A restoration to the a blessed, holy, and eternal relaoriginal state of purity in which tion might thenceforwards subhe was created takes place thro' sist between them; he in them Christ, who is the resurrection and they in him, that they all and the life. No longer blinded might be one with God, even by ignorance and enslaved by | as Christ is one with the Fasin, men are enlightened to know ther. the inestimable privileges to '4. The blessed above are dewhich they are called, and the in- livered from every evil-freed finite value of the relation in for ever from pain, from sorrow, which they stand to God. No from death. In heaven every guilt causes them to hide them- source of evil will for ever be cut selves from him like Adam.- off. The justice of God will be They love their God whose per- satisfied, and his displeasure afections they now understand ; gainst us be for ever forgotten. and they love all his precepts, Ourown minds will have become the excellency of which they can perfectly pure and holy, and now clearly discover. There therefore no corruptions can evthe will is rectified; it coincides er disturb our tranquillity. And with the judgment. The affec- all around us will be partakers of tions are purified ; they will be the same holy nature ; so that fixed only upon proper objects. they will be disposed only to conNo more will there be a strug. tribute by every means in their gle between inclination and du-l power to our peace and happity, between conscience and in- ness. Oh, glorious state ! where terest. The relation we shall envy shall never corrode the bear to God will be the matter breast; where passion and reof our highest exultation ; our sentment shall never ruffle the most honorable distinction : and peace of our minds ; where
pride shall never instil a vain heaven with an earnestness in conceit, of ourselves; where a some degree proportioned to its mean jealousy shall never be excellence. Do you meet with harbored in the soul ; where ig. difficulties ? Is self-denial requirnorance shall never lead us a-ed? Consider whether you will stray, or temptations seduce us not be richly repaid in the end. from the path of duty. Oh, Do you encounter the frowns or happy state ! in which a pure the ridicule of your associates ? benevolence shall expand every | Think how extreme that folly bosom ; in which fervent love must be which will give up such shall dictate the performance of a glorious and eternal inherievery duty ; in 'which you will tance, on account of the laugh of never see anything in your a sinful worm of the earth. No, neighbor to give you pain or heaven is worth all you can sufgrief. Here, alas ! even good fer, though your life were requirmen are too often suspicious of|ed as the purchase : heaven is each other, and discern such fail- worth all you can do to obtain it. ings and imperfections in them-1 And as for you, who have selves and others, as prevent the truly repented of your sins, who full exercise of Christian love. I have truly applied for pardon But there all shall love their through Christ, and who manineighbor truly as themselves ; | fest the sincerity of your faith and love their God with all their | by your works : let me exhort heart, and with all their soul, and you to make your calling and elecwith all their strength. Oh, I tion sure. See that you are well blessed state ! in which no fear grounded in faith and hope, and of danger or apprehension of be not deceiving yourselves in change shall ever for a moment this matter. Death may come disturb our tranquillity and joy. | very unexpectedly, and very Happy state ! in which a weak soon; and it will be a dreadful and corrupt body shall no longer thing then to be in doubt about be the clog of the soul ; in which your state. You can have no sickness shall no longer impede comfort from the consideration us in doing our duty ; or death of the glory of heaven, till you separate us from those we love. have first a well founded hope of Happy state ! where no enemies your having an interest in it. shall alarm, and no voice of It is worth a whole world to obthreatening or violence shall ey- tain this ; and blessed be God er be heard. .
it may be obtained. The promSee, Christian, what a glorious ises of God offer it, and the Re. prize is set before you! You are deemer we serve will give it contending not for an earthly to those who faitfully seek it. kingdom, but for what is infinite- | And let the contemplation of the ly more valuable, for a crown of world to come serve to wean glory. Ponder upon the eternal youer affections from every thing happiness which the redeemed here below, and teach you to enjoy above, and then say is it look upon death without fear. not worth all your pains and en- What, indeed, is death to the redeavors to secure such an inher- al Christian but the beginning of itance ? Gird up, therefore, the a glorious and immortal life, the Joins of your mind, and seek for joyful day of his release from