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mitted to the vision of celestial glory, behold in heaven that multitude which no man can number, bowing in holy adoration, saying, Hallelujah! salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God; could we, at the same time, listen to the voice with which all angels cry aloud, the heavens and all the powers therein ; and hear too these sounds of praise echoed by the continual cry of Cherubim and Seraphim, holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Sabaoth; we should at once perceive that it was the same great and gracious Being, our Father, our Saviour, and our God, who is worshipped by the Church in heaven and the Church on earth ; of the majesty of whose glory both the heaven and the earth are full. To that scene which St. John saw only in vision we shall be admitted hereafter in reality, if we truly worship and serve God now. Jesus Christ has opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers; and being redeemed with his precious blood, if we are faithful and obedient, we shall be numbered with his saints in glory everlasting. Among those shining hosts of superior intelligences, will at last be found a great multitude which no man can number, of mortal men of like passions with ourselves, ransomed from all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues; and we children of the dust, and heirs of corruption, endued with glorious bodies, and clothed with light and immortality, shall there be admitted, with angels and archangels, and with all the company of heaven, to laud and magnify God's glorious name. “ Salvation to our God who “ sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb,” will there be evermore our song of triumph, when the victory over sin being achieved, and mortality being swallowed up of life, we shall be made unto our God kings and priests for ever.
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God,
through our Lord Jesus Christ.
THESE words are an epitome of the Gospel, and present a summary of its benefits. Justification and peace with God are the blessings of which they speak. Jesus Christ is set forth as the Author of our salvation. Faith is declared to be the act by which, on our part, we become entitled to the benefits of his atonement; and his claim to all our affection, service, and homage, is expressed in his authoritative character and title of our Lord.
The consideration which I propose to take of the words before us, is limited to one of these particulars alone, and that is, “ peace with God.”
Of all the advantages which the human mind must intuitively covet, as necessary and indispensable to its happiness, peace is the first. With
out it, all the abundance of worldly good, all the means and appliances of pleasure, all the respect of rank and elevated circumstances, all the influence of power, and all the pride of talent, are vain and worthless trifles, incapable of ministering to our comfort. When peace is wanting, the inherent resources of our own minds are rendered useless; the soothing offices of friendship lose their power ; the joys of kindred, and the delights of home, no longer charm; and health, and life, and memory, and hope, and all that can give
, capacity for happiness, or contribute the means of enjoyment, are ineffectual to their purpose.
On the other hand, when the mind is in possession of this blessing, it is surprising how all external things become unimportant, and are disregarded. Then poverty and lowliness, affliction and pain, contempt and sorrow, disappointed hopes, and even destitution itself, are little heeded. The quiet mind is a world in itself, separated from the effects of contingency and change, and deriving from within springs of joy which are not dependent upon outward supplies. Every thing on which the tranquil spirit rests is burnished with a glowing light; the beauteous scenes of nature wear a brighter aspect; the heavens are more glorious; and the earth is more fair and cheerful.
But to whom does peace of mind belong ? Most certainly it is not the natural lot of man.
It consists only with innocence; and since from innocence all men are fallen, peace is now to be found only in reconciliation with God through a Divine Mediator; in forgiveness and restoration to his favour, purchased by the merits and death of the Saviour of the world. Being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
If the Scriptures did not assure us of the loss of peace, as the consequence of the original transgression of our first parents, and necessarily resulting from the loss of virtue and innocence, we might learn the fact from the efforts which in every age mankind have made to attain it. For this, thousands have given themselves up to seclusion and retirement, or to the voluntary privations and severities of a delusory penance. The retired places of Egypt, the deserts of Libyia, the mountains of the stony Arabia, which heard the voice of God proclaiming the law to man; and not these only, but all those wilds and recesses where nature has been permitted to brood undisturbed in her original loneliness, have been the retreats of men, anxious, in silence and in solitude, to escape from the world and from themselves. All have witnessed the mortification and wretchedness to which they have been willing to subject their bodies, in the hope of procuring peace for their minds.
Sometimes the wretched have clustered in their