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the holiness and purity of the di- 1 is transitory, fading, uncertain, vine nature will shine forth in All the good which God here rays of lustre; not such, indeed, exhibits is equally shared by the as will scorch the beholder, but wicked and corrupt. His wise rather illuminate him with their dom and power are displayed splendor, and transform him in- upon things comparatively of to the same divine image from little worth. The leaf of a weed glory to glory.
may discover wonderful art; the Thus God dwells in heaven shell of a contemptible fish may by the boundless manifestation display the richest coloring ; of every thing great and glori- the body, of the vilest of men ous and good. Upon this earth, may shew astonishing wisdom : indeed, we see on every side yet all these things are only, as proofs of infinite wisdom, pow it were, the rough sketches of er, and goodness. The endless infinite wisdom. They are invariety of natural productions tended only for a moment. They ornamented with all the vivid- will soon be burnt up as things ness of color and elegance of of no worth form ; the magnitude of the I do not pretend to explain, heavenly bodies, the skill of their or even to conjecture, in what arrangement, and swiftness of way the glorious proofs of the their motions ; the wonderful divine perfections will be exhibstructure of the human body, ited to us above. It is sufficient and the diversified powers of for me to know that God will the human mind : all these and exhibit them; and I see enough much more proclaim the pre- of his unsearchable wisdom here sence and hand of a master, below to make me give him full whose wisdom must be infinite credit for a display glorious, inand power uncontrolable. But finitely glorious, above what the yet these no otherwise give us eye hath seen or the heart of an idea of the skill of the great man can conceive. The infant Architect, than the broken co- this moment born into the world lumns, the disjointed arches, and may possibly as well conceive the mouldering capitals, of some the nature of the world in which ruined edifice convey to us an it finds itself, as man, with all adequate idea of the beauty and his boasted sagacity, can congrandeur of the original build-ceive the nature of the world to ing. We live here in the ruins come. Let us rest satisfied that of a world, once, indeed, fair and it will be a perfect, as well as good, but now forsaken by its glorious, display, of every divine great master, and suffered to fall attribute : such a display as into decay ; and the traces we throughout eternity will excite meet withof greatness and splen- our gratitude, our admiration, dor are comparatively few and our love, our humility: Here
every thing is 2. The inhabitants of heaven marked by imperfection. Light are related to God as his people. is obscured by darkness, truth is It was evidently his intention in debased by error, good is pollu- separating them from the world, ted with evil, pleasure is alloy- to exalt them, to purify them, to ed by pain, health is clouded by deliver them from every
evil sickness, and every enjoyment and imperfection, to make them
partakers of a new and divine we shall glory in it as our nou nature, to assimilate them to blest privilege. himself, and to glorify and beat- 3. But let not the Son of God ify them with himself in a bet- be ever forgotten while we speak ter and purer state. In heaven or think of heaven. To him we they will be his people : singled owe every thing. He purchasout, as it were, that they may ed us by his precious blood. He receive the most abundant com. sought us when we had wandermunication of his grace and mer.ed far from our father's fold. cy; and that the glory of his To his loving kindness, patience, goodness, truth, love, and holi- and bounty, we owe every hope ness, may be wonderfully dis- in time and eternity. He is the played in the perfection of their bond of union between us and felicity, the purity of their na- his father. He is the center of ture, and the completeness of the relation which will exist betheir beatification.
tween the redeemed and their But in order that this relation God. •Behold here the perfect may subsist in perfection, it is accomplishment of his labors. absolutely necessary that a pre- For this he travailed and suffer. vious conformity in nature should ed death on the cross- that he take place between man and might thus restore man to God, God. And such a change does and reconcile God to men ; that take place. A restoration to the a blessed, holy, and eternal relaoriginal state of purity in which tion might thenceforwards subhe was created takes place thro' sist between them ; he in them Christ, who is the resurrection and they in him, that they all and the life. No longer blinded might be one with God, even by ignorance and enslaved by as Christ is one with the Fasin, men are enlightened to know ther. the inestimable privileges to
4. The blessed above are dewhich they are called, and the in- livered from every evil-freed finite value of the relation in for ever from pain, from sorrow, which they stand to God. No from death. In heaven every guilt causes them to hide them- source of evil will for ever be cut selves from him like Adam.- off. The justice of God will be They love their God whose per- satisfied, and his displeasure afections they now understand; gainst us be for ever forgotten. and they love all his precepts, Ourown minds will have become the excellency of which they can perfectly pure and holy, and now clearly discover. There therefore no corruptions can evthe will is rectified ; it coincides er disturb our tranquillity. And with the judgment. The affec- all around us will be partakers of tions are purified ; they will be the same holy nature ; so that fixed only upon proper objects. they will be disposed only to conNo more will there be a strug- tribute by every means in their gle between inclination and du- power to our peace and happity, between conscience and in- ness. Oh, glorious state ! where terest. The relation we shall envy shall never corrode the bear to God will be the matter breast ; where passion and reof our highest exultation ; our sentment shall never ruffle the most honorable distinction : and peace of our minds; where pride shall never instil a vain heaven with an earnestness' in conceit. of ourselves; where a some degree proportioned to its mean jealousy shall never be excellence. Do you meet with harbored in the soul ; where ig- difficulties ? Is self-denial requirnorance shall never lead us a- eet? Consider whether you will stray, or temptations seduce us not be richly repaid in the end. from the path of duty. Oh, Do you encounter the frowns or happy state ! in which a pure the ridicule of your associates ? benevolence shall expand every Think how extreme that folly bosom ; in which fervent love must be which will give up such shall dictate the performance of a glorious and eternal inherievery duty ; in which you will tance, on account of the laugh of never see any thing in your a sinful worm of the earth. No, neighbor to give you pain or heaven is worth all you can sufgrief. Here, alas! even good fer, though your life were requirmen are too often suspicious of ed as the purchase : heaven is each other, and discern such fail-worth all you can do to obtain it. ings and imperfections in them- And as for you, who have selves and others, as prevent the truly repented of your sins, who full exercise of Christian love. lave truly applied for pardon But there all shall love their through Christ, and who manineighbor truly as themselves ; fest the sincerity of your faith and love their God with all their by your works : let me exhort heart, and with all their soul, and you to make your calling and elecwith all their strength. Oh, tion sure. See that you are well blessed state ! in which no fear grounded in faith and hope, and of danger or apprehension of he not deceiving yourselves in change shall ever for a moment this matter. Death may come disturb our tranquillity and joy. very unexpectedly, and very Happy state ! in which a weak soon ; and it will be a dreadful and corrupt body shall no longer thing then to be in doubt about be the clog of the soul ; in which your state. You can have no sickness shall no longer impede comfort from the consideration us in doing our duty ; or death of the glory of heaven, till you separate us from those we love. have first a well founded hope of Happy state ! where no enemies your having an interest in it.shall alarm, and no voice of It is worth a whole world to obthreatening or violence shall ev- tain this ; and blessed be God er be heard.
it may be obtained. The promSee, Christian, what a glorious ises of God offer it, and the Reprize is set before you! You are deemer we serve will give it contending not for an earthly to those who faitfully seek it. kingdom, but for what is infinite- And let the contemplation of the ly more valuable, for a crown of world to come serve to wean glory. Ponder upon the eternal your affections from every thing happiness which the redeemed here below, and teach you to enjoy above, and then say is it look upon death without fear.not worth all your pains and en- What, indeed, is death to the redeavors to secure such an inher- al Christian but the beginning of itance ? Gird up, therefore, the a glorious and immortal life, the toins of your mind, and seek for joyful day of his release from ter having been near ten days in inlet to all others. Nor could I this condition, one afternoon, I plead the merits of Christ, for I think on the 3d of July, I expe- was now convicted of sin as an rienced what has ever since been unbeliever, and a stranger to the cause of wonder to me. I seem- covenants of promise. I felt the ed to experience immediate truth of these words of Christ, transition from darkness to light, “ No man can come unto me from misery to joy, &c.
except the Father who hath sent After this day something of me draw him." I saw that I that load of guilt and misery, could do nothing but lie at the which had lain so beavy upon feet of sovereign mercy and beg, me, seemed to be removed. I as a poor soul ready to perish, now began to have a gleam of that God would draw me to his hope that all was not lost. I dear Son, and enable me to rea remained, however, in much ceive him as he is graciously ofdistress and anxiety, till I came fered to the chief of sinners. to the place of my nativity, In this situation I continued having been absent more than | for several weeks, in the use of twelve years. Having been home the means which God has graeight days, taking up Boston's ciously appointed. Sometimes, Four-fold State, which accident. when I found satisfaction from ally lay before me, I found some- reading the scriptures, praying, thing which immediately arrest- | &c. and that great part of the ed my attention, and before I load of sin and shame which hack had read two pages, was almost lain so heavy upon me was reconvinced that God designed moved ; I was ready to conclude mercy for me, and was now a- that I did believe in the Lord bout showing me the way. IJesus. At other times I would continued reading that excellent be alarmed to find my convicbook, I believe, till bed time, and tions abated, fearing I should next day resumed the perusal of wholly lose them, and with it, which I continued to do till I them all farther care for securhad got through it. Encourageding my everlasting well-being, by this, I began to entertain and return again like the dog to hopes of finding the only reme- his vomit. But adored be the dy for sin-sick souls.
author and finisher of faith, who I began now to read the scrip. was graciously pleased to put tures with more caution and at- such helps into my hands, as tention than I ever had been that by his blessing my underwont to do, and seemed to dis- standing was enlightened to see cover something of their import. the excellency and beauty of the ance. I began now to be encour way of salvation through his aged, and to hope in God, and to dear Son. I was convinced that pray to him in secret, confessing nothing short of infinite wisdom myself utterly unworthy his fa- and almighty power could ever
I saw myself to be justly devise and execute such a plan, condemned by his righteous law, I saw that such condescension, and had nothing to plead for my mercy and loveto man passeth ail excuse in so long living in sin understanding. Well may the and unbelief, which I now saw to angels desire to look into these be the soul-destroying sin, and mysteries. Yet though the un
derstanding be enlightened to ceive him as I trust, with joy and
To this actual scriptures, and acts of devotion, reception of my Lord and my about half an hour before sunset, God, the Father of mercies 1 as I was walking the room, ere trust brought me through the ever I was aware, it seemed to instrumentality of Mr. Flavel's me I was in the midst of GLORY! sermons, in which he seems to I looked around me to see if I throw the clearest light on the had been transported from the doctrines of grace. On read earth, but finding myself suring in particular his sermon on rounded with the same objects Christ's solemn call and invita- as before; I stood still to consition to sinners to come unto der what it should mean. Lookhim, it pleased the Lord, by ing out of the window, every sending powerful conviction into thing wore a different aspect. my heart, to show me that all The trees being then in bloom, my former doubts and fears each leaf and blossom appeared were directly against the inter- to wear a smile of complacency, est of my soul, and that Satan and speak our Creator's praise. had in this way been making While thus standing in wonder use of my unbelieving heart to and amazement, Rom. vi. I, was finder me from coming to him brought to my mind in such a who has most graciously declar- manner as I never before expeed, saying, “ Come unto me all rienced, being set home as with ve that labor and are heavy la- almighty energy on my soul. den and I will give you rest." What shall we say then? Shall After this I was enabled cheer- we continue in sin, that grace may fully to prostrate myself at the abound? While remaining in throne of grace and give myself the same posture, Rom. viii. 15, up to him, who is called the 16, (For ye have not reccived the Lord our righteousness, and re- spirit of bondage again to fear ;