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derived from the vision of God, the displays of his love, the fellowship of spirits so highly exalted, the raptures of converse and union, with intelligences so perfect and enlarged---so full of all that is great and good and heavenly, having the whole works of God, and all the ways and wonders of his Providence which we now so little understand, as the everlasting objects of their investigation and praise!
"The works of the Lord are great, sought out "of all them that have pleasure therein. How ma"nifold are his works--in wisdom hath he made "them all!" "This is the language of good men, " even in this world." But how small a portion of his ways and works, do we now understand? In the blessed World above, it will not be so. Here indeed we may examine a little corner of this little speck of earth; we may strive hardly to analize a plant, a flower, an animated substance, and think to explain the laws of vegetable and animal motion. We may assist our dim Sight to view some Planets and Stars, which we call distant, and that traverse a small portion of universal Space; but all that fills the immeasurable Tracts beyond, lies hid from our keenest Search!
Yet still if that little, which is subjected to our limited view, appears so great, so beautiful, and wonderfully grand and harmonius to an inquisitive mind; with what rapture shall we be filled, when with faculties more enlarged, we shall be enabled to survey all the works of God, to have for our instructors and associates, the angels that have surrounded his throne from the morning of the creation; to teach us on
what the foundations of the earth were laid; from whence are the springs of the sea, and the treasures of Snow and Hail; what kindles the Lightning's blaze, and gives the Thunder its loud and solemn voice; to count all the Stars and all the Suns and Planets that fill infinite space; to understand the Laws by which they are balanced and suspended, and guided in their unerring revolutions; and, when understanding this, to sing with those morning angels of Joy, as they did at the first creation, as we behold world after world filled with happiness; to take the Harp in company with those that have overcome, and join in the song of Moses, the servant of God, and song of the Lamb---" Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord "God Almighty! Just and true are thy ways, thou King of kings.
My Christian Brethren! Candidates for eternity! leave me not yet---Stretch your imaginations still forward to greater objects, and a more ample field. If such be the joy in contemplating God's works as in a glass, by reflected vision, what must it be to contemplate and draw near to himself, when we shall be permitted and enabled to look on his resplendent countenance, to behold him as he is, and to see even as we are seen? What will it be to rise from the contemplation of created and material worlds, to the world of Spirits, the history of their achievements, and all the changes, revolutions and improvements of their condition?---But on this subject I dare not venture a further sentiment, that might draw us from the contemplation of that final happiness, purchased for us through the blood of our Redeemer---the con
summation of which happiness will consist in the pure vision and enjoyment of God himself; who, if he is so good," to those whose hearts are perfect to"wards him on this earth, that his eyes run to and "fro, to make himself strong for them; if he with"holds no good thing from those that love him in this "world; if he openeth his hand, and satisfieth the "desire of every thing that liveth," even where Sin is mixed with our best services; how great will be the happiness to see and feel His Goodness, when we are exalted into His Presence; to taste of His Love flowing freely, when there is no Sin to come between our Souls and His gracious Countenance---" When "we are brought fully to understand and taste the depth of the Riches, both of His Wisdom and Knowledge, and also of His Goodness and longSuffering; who brought us out of the mire and clay "of our Sins; who set our feet upon the Rock of His "Promises; and ordered our Goings, and comforted "us on our Way, until he brought us into His own "holy Presence?"
My Brethren, I now come to a conclusion of this important subject, with an affectionate sense of the kind attention with which you have favoured me, through a series of discourses, leading to firm consolation, amidst all the Changes and Chances of this mortal life, which the Apostle holds forth to us in the last verse of our luminous Text.
Let me, then, exhort you, to dwell often in the meditations of those Joys, which I have endeavoured to describe; and whilst our eyes are thus lifted towards Heaven and Glory, all that would fetter and
bind us down to the vain enjoyment of this world will disappear---Let us bear our view constantly forward to that time when, washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb, we shall stand before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his Temple; when our happiness shall be complete and without end; "when we shall neither Hunger nor Thirst any more; neither shall the Sun light on us nor any Heat; for the Lamb which is in the midst of the Throne, shall Feed us, and shall Conduct us to living fountains of Waters, and God shall wipe all Tears from our Eyes"--
With the prospect, and sure hope of those Joys before us, may we not each of us for himself say, even in this world--
"What aileth thee, O my soul, that thou art "Fear-strucken and astonished, at the thoughts of leaving this Earth, and of being manumitted into "perpetual Bliss---Hast thou ever seen a Prisoner, "when the Jail gates were unlocked, who would be " content to sit in his Fetters, rather than be enfran"chised into Freedom? Hast thou ever seen a ma"riner, approaching the Shore amidst Tempest and "Storms, who would launch forth again into the perilous Main, rather than strike sail, and joyfully "enter into a safe Harbour?"
Thus may we commune with ourselves, even in this world. But supposing ourselves safely translated from its narrow precincts, and caught up to be forever with the Lord; how triumphantly will our gratulations and address then run?
Hast thou, O my soul, escaped the dangerous Trials, the vain Pursuits, the vexations and uncertainties of a mortal and suffering Life? Hast thou now gained a refuge from the storm, a place of everlasting rest? Hast thou obtained heavenly Peace and endless Pleasure? Hast thou acquired a Kingdom and Dominion and a Crown of Life? Art thou clothed with the white Robes of heavenly Righteousness? Art thou, that once hadst fallen so low, now advanced to Glory, honour and Immortality, amidst the Angels of Heaven? Does God, the living God, with love unutterable, now smile upon thee? Has He called thee his Child, and spoken eternal Peace, saying, "well done good " and faithful servant, enter thou into the Joy of thy "Lord?" And is this state of happiness secure forever? Shall the love between thee and thy God never decay, but grow and spread and increase; and, when millions of ages are past away, be still new and increase forever?---Surely thou hast made a happy choice, O my soul, to have preferred this weight of glory to all the vanities of a sinful and transitory life! Glory therefore be to thee, O Father, blessed Saviour and holy Spirit, for enabling me to make this happy choice!
We have, at length, by the help of Divine Revelation, arrived at the main object of our Searches; the source of Comfort, under whatever may befall us, sojourners through Time, and as candidates for Eternity.
In treating of the awful mysteries, through which our text has led us, and especially what relates to future events, and the changes and revolutions in the destiny of man, which are yet to come, we may have