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ing of the nations.' We read of pleasant pastures, and still waters, and of the food administered by the hands of the Lamb of God. We read of the visible lustre which is to be instead of sun and moon in that radiant habitation, a light which knows no darkness, a cloudless and constant day. We read of palms of victory, and robes of righteousness, and crowns of glory, and songs of praise. We read of harps of gold, and the loud angelic hallelujahs of the heavenly host, and the censers full of the curling incense; and in a word, all the pomp of imagery and the power of words are richly lavished to intimate the delights even of the external senses in that blessed abode. And, doubtless, although these expressions may all be metaphorical and figurative, emblematical of things which no human language could possibly describe, yet they do not the less encourage the belief that the glorified bodies of the redeemed shall inherit a variety of enjoyments every way proportioned to the enlarged delights of the soul—that the pleasures of sight and hearing, of odor, of tasting, and of touch, shall exist in exquisite perfection, and that all the varied treasures of Divine love and Almighty power shall be poured into the full bosom of immortal joy.
But here we rest our weak and imperfect effort to pursue the track of future glory. Such topics are beyond our skill. As well might the poor insect, wrapped in his humble web, strive to imagine the change that awaits him, when he shall expand his wings of beauty on the summer's breeze—as well might the unborn infant strive to picture to himself the knowledge, the powers, and the pleasures of the cultivated man—as well might death understand life, or light comprehend darkness, as the mind, in the deep obscurity of mortal ignorance, anticipate the inaccessible splendors of its future destiny. O yes, my Christian brethren, we rise from such attempts as these with a wholesome sense of our utter insufficiency. We turn from the labored effort to the simple and precious assurance of Holy Writ—' Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be,'—' for eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God hath prepared for those who love him.' Let our hopes then, be exalted far above all these details, to the undefined immensity, the vast sublimity, the shadowy effulgence of the promised bliss; and let the immeasurable glories of the prize stimulate every energy both of body and of soul, to secure our place in those regions, where, in the expressive words of the Psalmist, we shall possess ' The Fulness Of
JOY AND PLEASURES FOR EVERMORE.'
Even thus, my beloved brethren, we believe in the concluding article of the Apostles' Creed—the life everlasting. 'For the wicked'—as saith the Saviour in our text—' the wicked shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal.' Take these words into thy heart, Christian believer! They will be a talisman against all temptation to vice—they will be a bulwark in support of virtue—they will be a consolation in every trial of your mortal lot. Take these words into thy heart, O thou who art yet a stranger to the hopes and expectations of the just! Hear them in thy soul, thou despiserof God !—forget them not, thou careless and impenitent transgressor! What are thine earthly prospects, but vanity and vexation of spirit. What is thy life but a vapour that passeth away. Yet a little while, and death will cut thee off, and the morning of the resurrection shall bring thee before the judgment seat, and Christ-thy neglected and insulted Redeemer—shall appoint thee thy portion in weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, forever consuming yet never destroyed—a scathed and ruined and miserable monument of the awful effects bf sin, before the universe of God throughout eternity. O think of this, while you have yet time for repentance. Think of the eternal misery of the wicked; think of the eternal joy of the just. And may the infinite mercy of God, in Christ, pluck you as a brand from the burning, breathe into your soul the blessed spirit of penitence and.faith, and make you meet for the inheritance of his saints, in the light and glory of his kingdom in heaven.
SECOND PART: CONTAINING A DISSERTATION
TESTIMONY OF THE EARLY COUNCILS,
TO THE END OF THE FOURTH CENTURY;