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with Christ, is far better” after they have
The glories of that place, ..
Of his o’erflowing grace.”
· For, “in his favour is life, in his light we shall see light, in his presence there is fullness of joy, and at his right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” But, “mortal eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, the things which God hath provided for them that love him.” Many “ glorious things” are spoken in the Wordd, for the satisfaction and encouragement of our capacious souls, of “ that city of God,” to which we are invited, to take up our everlasting residence. But all these glorious things we are also told, in the passage just quoted, fall short of the great reality. Nevertheless, it is rational, useful, and good, to describe facts, truths, and subjects, which cannot fully be described, yet as far as possible, in accommodation to our own present state. It is proper at all times, to reason with us from what we know; to bring every subject “ home to our very business and bosoms;” and if description fails to paint, still it is useful to tell us, that such is the real case, with all our descriptions of eternal subjects.
And though such is the real case in religi. on, gospel truths, and heavenly things ;
yet death is but the continuation and per, petuation of the essential, ruling love, and life of man. It opens the disembodied spirit to a state of final arrangement and distribution, where rewards and punishments are most fully, minutely, and judiciously apportioned to each individual. To live with God, to live according to divine order, to be holy, innocent, pure, and wise, free from doubts, fears, and uncertainties; this we know is a desirable state here below, and to all eternity hereafter. We know also, or may know it, that it is the only proper, reasonable, just, and useful state of man. This is acknowledged by christians of every name; yea, by infidels, also in a theoretical manner. Now death produces a more glorious expansion, a more complete extension to all the faculties of the soul. And if divine love and wisdom participated, imitated, and enjoyed, be so excellent and pleasant here, how much more so must it be, when the soul shall be confirmed therein, and entirely and eternally exempt from temptations, sorrows, and encumbrances in the heavens! But at present, we want all the information, encouragement, and stimula-,
tion on this subject, in every possible point of view, and by every means whatsoever, to induce and constrain us, "to lay hold on eternal life, through the name of Jesus Christ; while that name is given us, as the apostle says, under heaven, whereby we may be saved.” For by nature and practice, we are extremely and continually liable to spend our strength and labour in vain, to regard this world before heaven, and the body before the soul. Even in religion, "we must walk by faith, not by sight.” Our powers here, are limited and circumscribed; “the way of God is in the whirlwind, and in the deep waters,” which cannot be seen ; we wonder frequently, that “ his thoughts are not like ours;" whereas, the greatest wonder is, that our thoughts are not more like his. Notwithstanding the blessed and ample discoveries which our Lord hath made of himself, and of ourselves, to us; yet we are left to the exercise of our liberty and reason, to embrace, or reject, the heavens he hath prepared, or is preparing for us. But if we make a good use of what we know; if in addition to the concentrated arguments of reason and experience, we call in the aid of the everlasting gospel, which indeed is the highest and best “ standard for the people ;" then it will not be long, before a full, satisfactory, consistent, incontestible, and everlasting evidence will succeed, and crown our labours of faith and love here below. “When that which is perfect, is come, then that which is in part, shall be done away.” An everlasting morning, if God and his word be true, and our souls have any desires that they ought naturally, and spiritually to have; an everlasting morning, I say, will succeed, and swallow up our present vicissitudes of day and night. “And though sin hath reigned unto death, grace will reign through righteousness, unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Death is the greatest and most formidable enemy, at present, to our convictions, hopes, desires, and prospects : yet he is the greatest deliverer and benefactor. For we are graciously assured, that if we are found faithful unto death” in Christ's service, we shall then live, to die no more. The dawn of our existence will then be converted into a full, bright, clear, and