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trical power of the heavenly bodies, working upon, and in connection with, this light-bearing ether. The sun puts in motion this fluid, so that light comes to us in waves. Now, if the sun be regarded as one, and the earth as another shore of an ocean, one hundred and ninety-five millions of miles across, then the wave on the opposite shore must impel a succession of waves, infinitely minute, through all the intervening space, until the last wave reaches the eye of the observer. The rapidity of these undulations or waves is so great, that only eight minutes of time are required for the delivery of an impression, made at the distance of 195,000,000 miles, to the eye of a spectator on our earth. Two august and imposing facts here meet us and compel our attention. Here is a medium of transmission as widely diffused as the universe; all impressions made on it are conveyed with a rapidity inconceivable. And this everywhere present other becomes the means of daguerreotyping the forms of human transactions upon the tablets of nature. This earth may be regarded as a mighty cylindrical press with men for its types, and whose every revolution impresses upon the broad sheets of light that envelope it, the nature and character of each day's doings—as every man's work-yea, printing all upon a sheet which may be read almost instantaneously in the remotest regions of space. There is another thought in connection with this, which we ought not to omit.
It is known that a message forwarded by telegraph from New York to New Orleans, would, if the point of connection were formed, travel in about the same space of time from New York to Pekin-and will you tell me wherein the rapidity of electrical transmission on Morse's telegraph differs from the rate of transmission on God's telegraph ? For the light which surrounds us is a divine telegraph, along whose lines the report of all our works is carried with a celerity surpassing thought. The work I do in secret, therefore, is published, as soon as done, in far off worlds. He who created the light reads its report ; and may not spirits, good and bad, do the same?
Startling thought that nature is everywhere present, witness and reporter of our works, that the spirits above and the spirits bencath are summoned to take knowledge of us! There is indeed “nothing bid which shall not be made manifest." When the day shall blaze for the revelation of all our doings, earth, air and sky shall disclose all that we have written and graven upon them--whether of word or deed-virtuous or vicious. This is to me a thought of the soberest and weightiest practical moment, It is a grand and imposing aspect which uature presents in her ceaseless activity. When we consider how busy are all her elements—how air, earth and sky are working in wondrous combination—that all are taking signs and impressions that will never be erased until the great day, it may well admonish us to beware indulging the hope that anythiug can be said or done beyond the observation of witnesses ever with us.
Lest some may set all this down to the score of fancy, I ask these plain questions. Does not the geologist read on the rocks and in the fossils of bygone centuries the record of events which occurred long ere Adam breathed the breath of paradise ? Are there not now vibrations on the surface of the earth which sometimes startle whole communities ? Does not the breeze carry on its wings tidings of things done far away from the reach of our vision? Is not light a swift-winged messenger to bear to us report of occurrences in far distant regions of space ? And if all nature is thus occupied in hringing intelligence to us, is it fancy and not rather the demonstration of experience as well as of science, that nature is also
occupied in bearing intelligence of us—that her every whisper, however faint, and her every sign, however obscure, can be read by Him who holds the universe in his hand, and counteth the number of its atoms, is what we dare not doubt, if we believe in a God of infinite knowledge. It was therefore no flourish of rhetoric, when the inspired Isaiah appealed to the heavens and the earth to hear testimony to the sins of Israel.
Let not the sinner think that his sins will be buried in oblivion. The darkness and the light are both alike to Him who, as well a thousand years hence, as at this moment, can read on the broad pages of the visible universe, the inscriptions graven there by our works and our words.
II. The book of Human Consciousness will be opened.
The human soul is only a laboratory of thought-it is also a great storehouse, wherein are deposited its thoughts, emotions and volitions. Without material locks or bars it has a power of retention that far surpasses our conception. It is the inspector of its own contents-the inquisitor of its own state. This is indeed what we understand by consciousness-the knowledge of our own mental sensations and operations the internel perception of self. Consciousnesg takes knowledge of what is constantly passing within, and memory storos np these impressi ins for the future. Memory is the broad page on which consciousness is ever writing the narrative of a soul's daily and hourly history. And this self-observing faculty of the mind acts as the guardian and interpreter of the memory. In our eager pursuit of pleasure or wealth, we try to forget the past, yet often before our astonished vision, sins perhaps long committed, start up as fresh as though of yesterday
No faculty of soul is more certain in its action, than this power of perpetuating and retaining the past. Much we forget, and often regret that our memories are feeble, and our knowledge of past events dimmed. Yet vivid realizations of the past are greatly hindered by our want of effort, and by our endeavors to erase the inscriptions of past feelings and events. Yet slight causes will bring back on the heart the weight which it would Aing aside forever.” And contrary to our wishes the dead past stands up before us .This power of recollection and involuntary consciousness is a matter of each man's experience.
There are times when memory seems roused to an unwonted energy when consciousness, like the lightning's flash on a dark night, illuminen with a most intense vividness the whole field of our moral history. The chambers of imagery, long veiled, are suddenly opened. Old thoughts and old schemes are brought glaringly to view. Many now before me can attest the truth of this. The standing by a death couch, or the look into an open grave, or the hearing of a sermon from a faithful pastor, or a calm reproof from the lips of a parent-yea, even the rustling of a dead and withered leaf, may have been the means of recalling reflections and emotions long faded from recollection. Numerous are the well authenticated records of dying hours in which the believing and the impenitent have found themselves confronted with scenes and mental acts that had long been forgotten. Death, like a mighty magician, brings these together and arrays them with terrible distinctness before the quickened sensor of the departing spirit.
And why should we doubt that when the clog and clod of sonso are dropped, that this consciousness of self will be vastly intensified. Little 15 we know of the world on the other side death, yet of this, reason and
revelation both assure us—that there we shall know even as we are known."
There, the book of self will be opened. Partly through the craft of Satan, and partly on account of our own wilful obstinacy, self is now little understood, because little studied; or if studied, the work is conducted in such a spirit that we too often rise from our investigations, complacently self-deceived. But when the archangel's trump shall sound, each individual, instead of viewing, as now, the faults and crimes of others, will be summoned to contemplate "all that his thinking soul hath thought, for glory or for shame.”
IIl. The book of Divine Remembrance will be opened.
Though nature fail, and consciousness be infirm, there is a being whose knowledge is infinite-by whom actions are weighed. Should creation's records be dimmed or effaced, there is, nevertheless, a record everlastingly vivid and immutably true-His mind—to whom the darkness and the light are alike; who penetrates every disguise ; who beholds at once the entireness of his universe, as also the parts which compose it.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for our comprehension.
“Thou God seest me," said one of old whose soul was deeply impressed with a sense of the divine presence! And he uttered a truth no less awful than it is certain.
We shrink from publicity when we would plan or act contrary to conscience. We desire not the presence of human witnesses to our guilt, either in thought or action. Crime courts concealment. Sin shuns the light of day. When the wicked act is done, the sinner endeavors to quiet his conscience, by the flattering unction that ne man knoweth it. But in all these calculations of concealment one fact is overlooked and forgotten, viz: there is an ever-present, an all-beholding spirit-an eye whose lightening glance penetrates every concealment, which discerns all the thoughts and intents of the heart.
The divine knowledge never faileth. To the memory of the infinite, the unchangeable God, their pertaineth no imperfection. All the acts of our intelligent being are treasured up in his recollection. The plans, thoughts, words, acts of our whole life-all that has entered into the composition of our moral history-however much may have escaped our memory-all is deposited in the treasury of God's knowledge. “ The ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He pondereth all his goings.'' “Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him ? saith the Lord.” "All things are naked and open unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.”
Every thing relating to our individual characters will be brought to light. “For the Lord will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts.” Aye, even the " counsels of the hearts."
THE EVERLASTING REST.
“ There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God."-HEB, ix, 4.
Heaven is never presented to our view as a state of conflict. Having passed through bis period of trial, the Christian will enter the world of holiness and bliss, never again to be subjected to the loss of his peace. Şecured from falling, by an Almighty arm, there is no danger that he will ever apostatize. He will love and serve God in full accordance with his capacities; and he will everinore be surrounded by beings of the same character with himself. There will be no sinful propensities in his soul, struggling for the mastery, no consciousness of transgression ; no painful regret for past errors; nothing of this nature to interrupt and destroy his peace. All the woes incident to our fallen, sinful nature will be excluded from the heavenly rest. The fear of poverty will not disquiet the mind, nor that of want, oppress; the jealousies and envies of earth will there be unknown; nor can we think of any evil to which we are here subject, from which the Christian will not there be free; and, with his holiness, his bliss will then be perfect.
The employments of heaven will be such as to increase and perfect his joy. We reason from the nature of the mind, and its capacity for the acquisition of knowledge, that in heaven it will still be active; and it will make the study of the works of God a chief employment, and be engaged with the angels, in all that conduces to the divine glory and its own bappiness. Here, the body occupies a large proportion of care. But in the future state, all its wants will be provided for, so that our whole time may be actively devoted to serving God, in such rational and pleasurable pursuits as may conduce to his glory and our good.
The ideas common on this subject are strangely wrong, contradicting everything that we know of the nature of celestial felicity and glory. It is not in idleness that the saints are to spend eternity. There must, and will be something for them to do, which will call into activity their holy and benevolent affections, or else heaven would suon become a dull place to them. Nor can we doubt that, in this respect, there is ample provision made. Heavenly happiness is represented by symbols drawn from material objects of beauty and grandeur. We are not to suppose that heaven presents to view a beautiful garden filled with choice fruit or a chrystal stream, or a city paved with gold; nor that there are in heaven harps of gold, and crowns and raiment pure and white; nor that our Father has a house there, and tables spread for the hungry, for these are only emblems, and are used to convey the idea of happiness to minds otherwise incapable of its conception. We should not, therefore, materialize heaven, but use these scriptural metaphors to heighten our ideas of its bliss.
There will be both pleasant and useful occupation in which the saints will be engaged. It is needless, however, to speculate, wbere the facts have not been revealed. And yet it is pleasant to think that there are innumerable ways of occupying ourselves in heaven. There is much yet to be learned of God, and of his works. Here, we gain only the rudiinents of knowledge. Even Newton, at the close of life, could say that he appear. od to bimself to have been like a little boy upon the sea shore, picking up
a smoother pebble and a prettier shell than ordinary, while the vast ocean of truth lay unexplored before him.
When wo reflect that the whole of the boundless creation will in hear. en be spread out to our view, that suns and systems of worlds will rise upon the astonished vision, and that new works of creation, new forms of matter, and fresh creations of mind, may occupy us with a view of Jehovah's wisdom forever, we may feel assured that, to follow in the path which he thus opens before us, will give us enough to do, and even inspire us with fresh motives to adoration and praise.
Social friendship will there be enjoyed and perpetuated. Much of the pleasure of life is that derived from social intercourse. But, in heaven, this communion will be purely spiritual. As kindred minds naturally take pleasure in each other's society, so will it be in the everlasting rest. That the saints in heaven will there recognize their friends, does not admit of a doubt. There we shall see as we are seen, and know as we are known. It greatly enhances the pleasure of anticipation to reflect that the friendships begun on earth may be transferred to heaven, and there be perpetuated: No thought suggested in view of friends who sleep in Jesus, is more consoling. We know that they will be happy, and that abiding faithful, we shall join them in that kingdom of our Father. There is nothing which so effectually removes the sting of death, or imparts such consolation to the bereaved, as the thought that those who knew and loved on earth, and who have gone before us, may be deputed, by our Saviour, as ministering spirits, to convoy us home : so that, on dying, our eyes may be open, in eternity, on the friends who surround our dying bed, waiting to receive and welcome us to glory.
Does the parent rejoice in the return of a wandering son? How much higher and holier the joy of that Parent in heaven, to meet his beloved child there, well knowing that every danger is now past, and that everlasting blessedness is, through sovereign grace, secured ? The spirits of our friends in heaven are, as the angels of God, enjoying the same interest in each other, and ever susceptible to the same holy friendships. When it is reflected how greatly the happiness of life depends on such pleasant associations, can we doubt that the pleasures derived from this source are, in heaven, infinitely enhanced ? Not only those we knew and loved on earth, but holy persons of past ages, will share our love. Beings of a higher grade will constitute part of the celestial society. The saints will mingle with the angels. partake of their knowledge, listen to their wisdum, and rejoice in their love.
But above all, the saints will there hold converse with God, and enjoy the blessedness resulting from communion and intercourse with the Redeemer. They will feel a conscious joy in the thought, that the great and good Father, who sits upon the throne of the universe, is their friend.
What can equal such society, or confer such happiness? Freindships so exalted and glorious, formed on such a basis, and cemented by such relationships, will furnish everything needed to make us happy...
And the happiness thus created for the blessed will never terminate. The saints will have found the everlasting rest. Earth presents to view no such blessedness. In comparison with this, all its pleasures are trivial : its joys are transitory-here to-day-to-morrow gone. Its friendships are often withered in an hour. All the pleasures that spring from earth bear the stamp of their earthly origin. But the rest of the saints is a state of blissful employment, and social intercourse and friendship, pure, spiritual, and eternal.