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timony certain. The event of the decision will be inexpressibly awful—either happiness or misery for ever. Now, with a view of all this before you, can you say it is all nothing to you? that the business of this life, the pleasures of this world, are all you aim at and desire? Is this to act like a reasonable creature ? O, consider how awful it will be to appear at that solemn tribunal in the great day, without ever having known the way of salvation! to be numbered with those who shall be found guilty, and “be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and the glory of his power!” Perhaps, like multitudes of others, you indulge a hope that this will not be so. But is hope all the evidence you can produce You must possess something more than this, or your case is deplorable. There must be faith, as well as hope ; a faith that credits the divine testimony; a faith that “purifieth the heart, that overcometh the world, that worketh by love, and counts all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ.”f In the exercise of this you may look forward with joy to this awful day; but, without it, you can neither please God here, nor be accepted of him hereafter.”
* 2 Thess, i. 9. + Philip. iii. 8.
Let us now make some enquiry as to a future state. And first, as to
Some have entertained strange ideas of the heavenly world; they have supposed it to consist in the enjoyment of sensual, rather than spiritual pleasures. But if heaven be the residence of pure and holy beings, their joys must ...be infinitely above every thing of a carnal mature. This, therefore, is too gross an idea to attach to the celestial paradise. What then is heaven? Here we must acknowledge our inability fully to describe it; for “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into
* Hebrews xi. 6.
the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” . . We may, however, form some idea from the terms used in the sacred scriptures. It is called a kingdom. There, not only the Saviour reigns in all his glory, but the saints sit on his throne with him. Here they are persecuted and oppressed, and often participate but a small portion of this world's good; but there, it is said, they shall be kings and priests unto God for ever. Never shall they be conquered again, nor disinherited of their crown. Their robes are washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb. As the Romans, when they liberated their bond-servants, presented them with a white garment, as a badge of their freedom, so the saints, in a better world, shall be arrayed with the righteousness of the Redeemer; and, purified by the divine Spirit, they shall shine . forth as the sun for ever. As it will be a cessation from all labour and toil, it is called a rest: Here, the saints have to struggle with the enemy; to work while it is day; and to persevere under all opposition:
* 1 Cor. ii. 9. Luke xii. 32, i Heb. iv. 9.
there, they rest from their labours, and enjoy uninterrupted peace. No more shall they wrestle with sins, and doubts, and fears. Never will they be called again into the field of battle: their enemies shall be all conquered, their fears all subside, their armour be taken off, and laid aside for ever. It is said to be a better country.* Here, whatever are our prospects, however favoured with the blessings of Providence, we are still encompassed with infirmity, and surrounded with danger: there we shall possess a perfect nature; disease will never attack our frame; the enemy will never invade our possession; our sun will never decline; our atmosphere will be perpetually serene; our prospects unbounded; our treasures inexhaustible, our society delightful, and our liberty secured for ever. Again, it is compared to a city, f “a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” The stately cities, the lofty palaces, the splendid temples on earth, must all decay; but this is founded on infinite power and love, and abideth for ever. Here dwells the heavenly Monarch, in all the glories of his mature, surrounded by angels and archangels, and all the spirits of the just made perfect. Here are the most extensive privileges; here all the citizens of heaven unite in adormg and praising their glorious King. Here he wipes away all tears from their eyes; there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying ; meither any more pain, for the former things are passed away.” . Before the Saviour left the world, he consoled his disciples with the prospect of heaven, as a place in which are many mansions. “Let not your heart be troubled, ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that, where I am, there ye may be also.”f Here many of the saints move in a low and contracted sphere: there they shall be elevated to greatglory. They shall possessmansions which mo vicissitude shall deface, which time cannot
* Heb. xi. 16. † Heb. xi. 10.