Page images

description we are most probably to understand as figurative, intending by the most splendid things in nature, to set forth the exceeding glory of the residence of the saints. And as a further proof of its exceeding glory, we may observe that heaven is the place of the throne of God. Though he fills immensity with his presence; yet he is in a special sense in heaven. Heaven is, as it were, the palace of the King of the universe. "In my Father's house (saith Christ) are many mansions," John xiv. 2. Hence heaven may in a peculiar sense be called the house of God. It must therefore be an unspeakably glorious place. In this glorious place, the saints shall forever reside, in "a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." 2 Cor. v. 1. And in mansions prepared by the Redeemer, John xiv. 2.

6. They shall there possess a rich and glorious inheritance. The possessions of this world are corruptible and transitory; but treasures are laid up for the saints in heaven, "where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal." Mat. vi. 20. An inheritance there awaits them, which is "incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away." 1 Pet i. 4. They are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ." Rom.

viii. 16, 17.



7. In heaven the saints shall be advanced to great honAre honours united with kingdoms, crowns and thrones? Such honours await the saints. They shall receive a kingdom. "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." Luk. xii. 32. "I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me." Luk. xxii. 29. "Čome ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." Mat. xxv. 34. The saints shall possess a kingdom, and they shall be kings, "Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father." Rev. i. 5, 6. And they shall be crowned; for they have the promise of a crown of righteousness—a crown of life-an incorruptible crown-and a crown of glory which fadeth not away. "Henceforth (saith Paul 2 Tim. iv. 8.) there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous Judge, shall

give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." And again we hear him saying, 1 Cor. ix. 25. "They do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible." Be thou faithful unto death (saith Christ Rev. ii. 10.) and I will give thee a crown of life." "And when the chief Shepherd shall appear (saith Peter, 1 Pet. v. 4.) ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away." A throne also awaits them. "If we suffer (saith Paul, 2 Tim. ii 12.) we shall also reign with him." "To him that overcometh (saith Christ, Rev. iii. 21.) will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne." The meanest believer who would not be noticed by the great ones of the earth, is heir to honours, with which the greatest earthly honours that were ever possessed by man is not worthy to be compared. Lazarus, though left in this world to lie unnoticed, or neglected at the gate of the rich man, is in heaven exalted to honours very far superior to what the latter had ever enjoyed. The meanest and most despised believer that ever lived, shall in dignity be exalted above the greatest earthly personage, as far as the heavens are above the earth; and far more than the prince on the throne, is above the beggar in the streets. Truly as saith the apostle John of the saints, "the world knoweth us not."1 John iii. 1. They are sons, heirs of God, and kings; and a kingdom, a crown, a throne, and an exceeding and eternal weight of glory, all await them.

8. In heaven the saints shall be engaged in the most dignified and delightful employments. What these will be, we as yet know but very little. The Scriptures speak of the praise and service of God. Probably a part of their employments will be the contemplation of the divine glories, and desiring and seeking after, and discovering, more and more of the divine character, and the mysteries of the divine proceedings. The knowledge of the saints in heaven will doubtless be greatly increased; for then they shall know, even as they also are known. And this knowledge will be a great source of happiness-and one part of their employments will probably be, looking into the character, works and ways of God, and thus increasing their knowledge. Probably also, like the angels, they may at times be sent on errands of the divine will, to other

worlds, and other rational beings. But whatever their employments may be, we may be assured, they will all be most glorious, and best calculated to afford them happiness.

9. Another ingredient in the happiness of heaven will be the blessed society, with which the saints shall there be associated. All the society will be holy; and all will be of one mind, conformed to the same will of God. They shall dwell with fellow saints and holy angels. In no individual of this numerous throng will there be a single selfish or discordant passion, for a moment to disturb the harmony that will there prevail. Every one will there love his neighbour as himself. Pure and perfect love and harmony will there universally prevail; and every one will conspire to promote the happiness of the whole. The happiness derived from friendship, even in this imperfect world is very great. This kind of happiness the saints will in heaven enjoy in perfection. And they shall there dwell and enjoy communion, not only with one another; but with their Saviour, and their God. They shall there see that Saviour whom unseen they loved, and who was here precious to their souls,-the chief among ten thousands, and altogether lovely. And they shall there dwell in the presence of the triune God. For they "shall see him as he is," 1 John iii. 2. They shall see face to face and know even as they are known, 1 Cor. xiii. 12. This will be the chief and highest source of the happiness of the saints in heaven.

In the happiness of heaven there will be different de-* grees. The happiness of each will be complete; but the capacities of some to contain happiness will be greater than that of others; as there are larger and smaller vessels, and they may all be completely full, though one contains much more than another. This sentiment, that there will be different degrees of happiness in heaven, the Scriptures clearly support. In the parable of the pounds, Luk.xix. the servant who with his pound gained ten pounds, was made ruler over ten cities; and he who gained five pounds was set over five cities. And the apostle tells us, 1 Cor. xv. 41, 42. "There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead," and again, 2

Cor. ix. 6. "He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully."

The happiness of the saints will be uninterrupted, without a moments cessation or diminution. And we have. reason to believe that it will continually be increasing; that the powers and capacities of the saints will continually be gradually expanding, and that they will continually be advancing in the scale of perfection from one degree of holiness, glory and happiness to another. This we infer as probable from a consideration of the progressive nature of the soul.

And what crowns all this happiness is, it will be eternal. If the saints had the most distant prospect, that after millions of millions of ages, this happiness might come to an end, the prospect would greatly diminish their felicity. But it shall have no such alloy; it shall never come to an end; for it is "life eternal."

And is it possible brethren, that all this unspeakably glorious happiness is prepared for any of us.Is it possible that any of us, unworthy, vile, and helldeserving creatures, shall ever be made partakers of this "far more exceeding, and eternal weight of glory?" Yes, God has promised it to the righteous.— If therefore we are righteous in the sense of our text, this glory and happiness are prepared for us. The regenerate shall enter into the kingdom of God; the penitent shall obtain this mercy; the true believer in Christ shall ⚫ receive this salvation: they, that do righteousness, are righteous, and shall enjoy this eternal life; and the pure in heart, and the holy shall see God. If this be our character, we shall enjoy this happiness. Let us therefore examine ourselves, and compare our character with that to which in the word of God, this blessedness is promised. If we possess the character, let us rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And let the prospect of heaven comfort the people of God under all their present trials. trials which they now endure are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed. Yea these comparatively light afflictions, which are comparatively but for a moment shall work for them a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Christians, what reason have you to adore the condescension of God, that


he ever thought of you with mercy; and still more that he should prepare such a glory for you! and what great obligations are you under to devote yourselves unreservedly to his service, and by lives of holiness to glorify him in the world? And have you such prospects before you, and ought you not to live worthy of them? Degrade not that dignity and inheritance to which you are heirs by a sordid attachment to the world or by suffering yourselves to fall into sin. Walk worthy of your high vocation. Live as children of the light, and as children of the King of kings and heirs of all things. Be encouraged to do and to suffer the whole will of God. A few days more and your warfare will be accomplished, and you shall enter upon all the unspeakable glory and happiness of heaven. And is there such an inheritance, laid up in heaven for the saints? How consummate then is the folly of those who neglect it? Who rather than part with the momentary pleasures of sin, let go these eternal joys? And who not only suffer the loss of heaven, but bring upon themselves unspeakable and eternal destruction? Let those who have heretofore neglected their future happiness, seriously consider what they are losing, and be persuaded by the joys of heaven without delay to give all diligence to se

cure an interest in the inheritance of the saints.-AMEN.




"Ye shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God hath commanded you."

The system of relig on is divided into two great parts, viz. What we are to believe, and what we are to do; or faith and practice. We have finished that part, which in this division properly belongs to faith. We come now treatof what is included under the general head of p

« PreviousContinue »