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bosom of Abraham;" what must be the delight of enjoying the society of the father of the faithful, of the law giver of Israel, of the prophet who ascended to heaven in a chariot of fire, of the man after God's own heart, of the disciple whom Jesus loved, and of a countless multitude of the imitators of God, 6 of whom the world was not worthy !" Heb. xi. 38.
To these there will be added an innumerable company of angels. Think how they excel in wisdom, in strength, and in benignity. Think of the services they have rendered, by their assiduous ministrations, to ourselves, and to Him who is their Lord and ours. Think what scenes they must have witnessed, in what commissions they must have been employed; what information they must have obtained; what histories they are qualified to unfold! On their memory must be distinctly recorded all events, involving the interests of the church and of the world: they have visited regions of which intelligence never reached our abodes; they must be richly furnished with materials for the history of the universe; while their interpretations of the ways of Providence, it must be equally instructive and delightful to receive!
Let me direct your thoughts,
V. To the pleasures which will be derived, in the heavenly world, from the excitement of the active energies of the soul.
In that world of light and life, our powers of knowledge will be inconceivably invigorated, and delightfully employed. In that
celestial paradise, “the tree of knowledge shall be without inclosure.” There shall be no withholding of the knowledge which it is desirable to attain, nor any seeking of that which is undesirable. The pleasure of acquiring wisdom shall be without the toil, and that maxim shall be eternally reversed, that “the increase of knowledge is the increase of sor
Much we shall know, by immediate perception, of worlds of which our ideas must on earth remain both defective and erroneous. At present we understand as children and speak as children'; but in that world we shall put away all puerilities of intellect: “ now, we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face:now we know in part, but then shall we. know even as also we are known.” 1 Cor. xiii. 12. Much we shall know by direct and pleasurable intuition, without the slow process of reasoning, on subjects which our utmost efforts are here unable to investigate. Much, as we have seen, we shall derive from the testimony of glorified saints, and of angelic instructors; and “testimony having then assumed its proper character, will be, in every instance, so perfectly correct and adequate, as to command assent equally with demonstration itself.” And shall we not imbibe instruction from the fountain head of knowledge, and receive continued communications from Him « in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge?” Col. ii. 3. Will he not feed his followers and lead them to living fountains of waters? Will he not per
petually impart the purest aliment of an immortal mind? Will he not unfold, as their expanding capacities prepare for the discovery, more and more of the glory of Jehovah, the mystery of his love, the magnificence of his works, and the grandeur of his designs? « Think what must be the instructions of such a Teacher, what the improvement of such disciples!”
But it is not exclusively in the acquisition of knowledge that there shall be called forth in those regions of life, the activities of the soul. For these the widest scope must be given in the world which is described as the kingdom of our God and Saviour. In that kingdom is erected the throne of God and of the Lamb; and there his servants serve him. It cannot surely be mere quiescent enjoyment which is provided for those whose dwellingplace is near the throne of the Ruler of the universe, at the very seat of empire, the centre of all activity, as well as of all intelligence. Is not the throne surrounded by angelic ministers, who do his pleasure, “hearkening into the voice of his word?” Psa. ciii. 20. Are we not to conceive of them as going and returning on commissions to distant regions of the universe, as acting by a delegated authority which it must be honourable to receive, and most glorious to exercise? And have we not encouragement to expect, that in some correspondent services of activity and delight, the glorified saints may themselves be engaged in the state of future blessedness?
tell what extensive schemes of goodness and of wisdom, interesting to various orders of beings, God may have formed, or what means he may employ in their accomplishment? Are not saints and angels fellow-servants; and are not -redeemed spirits to expect from their Divine Lord all that can possibly be conducive to their delight? Are they not made kings, as well as priests unto God; and does not this convey the idea of delegated authority in connexion with honourable service? “While they reign, they serve!" Read, under this impression, the parable of the talents, Matt. xxv. and you will find these applauding and inviting words addressed to each of the servants by whom the property entrusted had been improved: « Well done, good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” Ver. 21.
Thus have we attempted, feebly indeed and inadequately, but not without the guidance of inspired truth, to form some conceptions of the pleasures of the heavenly state. But we must not forget to yield our minds to some of those reflections which such a subject should not fail to excite.
1. How adorable. is that love which provides so great a felicity for creatures who deserved perdition !
That the angels should be supremely happy, can occasion no surprise, for the angels never sinned; but what in the history of the uni
verse, can be so surprising, as that they should be associates in the blessedness of angels, who might have been doomed to be the companions of devils? Whence springs this great salvation?' “ It has its origin in love Divine-in love Divine of Him we made our foe.” The glory of heaven we owe to Him who vanquished hell, who redeemed us from the tremendous curse by being made a curse for us! Our life we owe to his death, our crown to his cross. Well may the love of Jesus receive commendation from God, and adoration from us, since “ while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Rom. v. 8. ( Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John iv. 10. Having then much forgiven, and having much in prospect, let us love much!
2. Let the contemplation of heavenly blessedness můch occupy our thoughts. Christian, art thou not prepared to say,
in the language of Howe, “I have found at last where satisfaction may be obtained; and I have only this one thing to do, to bend all my powers to the attainment of the heavenly rest. Happy discovery! Welcome tidings! Í now know which way to turn my eyes, and to direct my pursuit. I shall no longer spend myself in dubious toilsome wanderings, in anxious vain inquiry: blessedness is here; I have found, I have found it.” Let then thy thoughts, thy solicitude, and thy affections be habitually directed towards that celestial