« AnteriorContinuar »
destroy; mansions, which cost an infinite price, even the blood of the Son of God. These, too, are said to be many. Bigotry, indeed, would lessen the number; illiberality would place only a few solitary beings there, and those, too, gathered out of one insulated spot; but he who dwells on high, he who knows the extent and glory of the heavenly world, hath said, “that many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.” I beheld, and lo! (says John) a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations and kindreds, and people and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.”t It is denominated a paradise. “This day (said the Saviour to the dying thief) thou shalt be with me in paradise.”f Here flows the pure river of the water of life, clear as chrystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and the Lamb.S The paradise of Adam was on earthly ground; the enemy obtained admission, and brought death into the world and all our woe; but this is celestial, where no poisonous serpent shall sting, no bitter waters flow, no destructive tempest rage. “Here is Jesus, the rose of Sharon, and lily of the valley, the plant of renown, the unforbidden tree of knowledge, and unguarded tree of life.”* Never shall the blessed inhabitants be cast out; for there shall be no more curse; never again in the sweat of their face shall they eat bread; never shall they be filled with shame, and hide themselves from the presence of the Lord God. There shall be no might there, and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light, and they shall reign for ever and ever.'t Again, it is compared to a “treasure, an eternal weight of glory.” This is a treasure spiritual in its nature, satisfactory in its enjoyment, and eternal in its duration. We can weigh the glory of the world, and count all its treasures; but this is beyond computation. Earthly riches cannot be secured; moth and rust corrupt, thieves break through and steal: but this treasure is subject to no decay, though constantly enriching its possessor, yetit still remains the same. It is an incorruptible crown, that fadeth not away.* From these figures, then, we may learn, that the happiness of heaven is every way great. The source of this felicity is the presence of God and the Lamb. Hence it is said, “ that the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon to shine in it; for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.” In his presence there is fulness of joy. It is here only that a rational creature can find rest. We shall be satisfied when we awake up after his likemess. Here we see through a glass, darkly; . but there we shall see him as he is, and be like him too. With what inexpressible joy shall we gaze on the Lamb that was slain! How will our hearts glow with love, and our souls be absorbed in gratitude and delight! There, too, shall the saints hold communion with each other," and with the angels of God. No ignorance, no reserve, no distance, no envy, no misunderstanding shall be found there. How de
* Matt. viii. 11, t Rev. vii. 9. 1 Luke xxiii. 43. § Rev. xxii. 1.
lightful is well-ordered society, even in this imperfect state; but how infinitely so, when all shall be purity, love, joy, and praise ! Never, as yet, have all the saints met together to form the general assembly of the First-born ; but there shall all be collected, never to separate more. With the patriarchs and prophets, martyrs and confessors, apostles and ministers, and all the useful servants of the Most High, shall we dwell for ever. There we shall mingle our services with theirs, and ascribe glory and praise to him that sitteth on the throne, and to the Lamb for ever. Reader, is this true—that everlasting happiness awaits them that fear God? And have you no concern for the enjoyments of it? O remember, that here you have no continuing city: learn then to seek one to come. Consider your time is passing away; and that the present life is the only opportunity you have of obtaining an interest in this kingdom. Now the gates are open; and the promise is made to all who seek, that they shall find. “Set then your affections on things above, and not on things on the earth;” so, when heart and flesh fail, you shall be received into everlasting habitations, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
* Coll. iii. 2.
AND what is this? This is an awful question; but, awful as it is, it becomes us to make the enquiry. Future punishment then, consists in the most painful sensations, arising from a guilty conscience; a privation of celestial happiness; an etermal separation from the ever-blessed God, and the society of the righteous. As to the place of this punishment, it is needless for us to enquire: its reality we cannot doubt, if we believe in divine revelation. “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God. He shall say also to them on the left hand, Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. These shall go away into everlasting punishment.* The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven, with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that