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and eternal good of others, that they shall ever have an opportunity of fulfilling their pious desires and resolutions? Or how could he have admonished them in a more sensible and affecting manner, that neither health nor strength, neither promising prospects nor the dearest connections, neither their own precautions nor the best efforts of their fellow mortals, can prevent their dying when and where he has appointed ? . If they are wise, they will receive these salutary instructions with a grateful and submissive spirit, and look to God to teach them to profit. May the sorrowful widow betake herself with her dear little infant to the father of the fatherless, and the widow's God. This is the only way in which she can hope to find divine support and consolation, and derive everlasting benefit from bear. ing the yoke in her youth. May the bereaved parents cast their cares and burdens upon his almighty arm, who has carried them even to old age, and loaded them with his benefits all their days, and who will never leave nor forsake them while they sincerely rely upon his great and precious promises. Let the surviving brothers and sisters realize the discriminating mercy of God towards them, hear his solemn admonition to be ready also, and prepare to die in peace, and sleep in Jesus. Let all the young people in this place lay this death to heart, and especially those who were the most intimate with the deceased, and held him in the highest respect and esteem. He had resolved, if his life had been spared, to do all that words and prayer could do, to promote the spiritual good of his most valued friends. Though dead, he yet speaketh, and calls upon them to live the life, that they may die the death of the righteous. May divine consolation be given to the afflicted pastor of this people, who attended and comforted his sick and dying friend, and followed him to the house appointed for all living. May he never forget what he saw, and heard, and felt while performing the last duties, and paying the last tribute of respect, to one whom he had peculiar reasons to love and esteem. Is not the death of Mr. Shepherd full of instruction to all this people? Did he die the death of the righteous ? Who would not wish that their last end may be like his? Death will come, and it may come suddenly. It cannot be too soon to prepare for it. It may be too late. Behold now is the accepted time;
. now is the day of salvation. If ye will hear the voice of God in his providence, harden not your hearts.
HAPPINESS OF SAINTS IN HEAVEN.
FUNERAL OF MRS. REBECCA M. FARRINGTON, WIFE OF REV. DANIEL
FARRINGTON, OF WRENTHAM, IN HER 40TH YEAR: MARCH 20, 1816.
As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfed, when I
awake, with thy likeness. -- PSALM xvii. 15.
God gives men their choice in the present state, whether they will have their portion in this life or in the life to come. The men of the world are universally disposed to choose their portion in this life, and God generally gratifies their hearts, by giving them a large share of earthly enjoyments. But all good men choose to have their portion in another and better world than this. David was a good man; he loved God supremely, and preferred the future and everlasting enjoyment of him, to all the momentary and unsatisfying enjoyments of the present life. He looked beyond the grave for his full and unfailing portion. “ As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness : I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness.” He expected, that as soon as he should be absent from the body, he should be present with the Lord; where he should see him face to face, and be completely blessed in his favor and presence for ever. And if his expectation was just, we may safely conclude,
That saints will be perfectly happy in the presence of God in heaven.
To illustrate this consoling truth, I shall attempt to show that there is such a place as heaven; that God manifests his peculiar presence there; and that saints will there be completely happy in his presence.
I. I am to show that there is such a place as heaven.
Some seem to imagine that heaven is a state rather than a place; but it is not easy to conceive of this distinction. The idea of locality attends all our ideas of created objects, whether spiritual or corporeal. If we think of any created spirit but our own, we conceive of it as at a distance from us, and existing in some place peculiar to itself. The idea of place certainly accompanies our idea of angels. We conceive them to be in heaven, or some other place, where God is pleased to employ them. And with respect to heaven, no person, perhaps, ever did really conceive of it under any other idea than that of place. The scripture often speaks of coming down from heaven, and going up to heaven; and these expressions, in many cases, will not admit of a figurative meaning. We know that Elijah and Christ were both seen to ascend from earth towards heaven, and to continue ascending higher and higher, until they rose above the utmost stretch of human sight. And of Christ it was expressly said by the angels, that he should so come in like manner as he was seen to go into heaven. Besides, the scripture not only represents heaven as a place, but describes it as the most magnificent place in the universe; and such we should naturally suppose would be the palace of the supreme Lord of all. The scripture also assures us, that the bodies of Elijah and Christ, and those who came out of their graves at his resurrection, are now actually in heaven. But bodies can exist only in place; and since we know that there are bodies in heaven, we are constrained to view it as a place rather than a state. Whatever changes may have passed upon glorified bodies, they must still be material, and have a local existence. Agreeably to this, our Lord told his disciples, when about to leave them and go to heaven, “Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me. my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." This plain and positive promise of Christ ought to convince us that heaven is a place.
II. I now proceed to show that God manifests his peculiar presence in heaven. David confidently expected to behold the face of God in some peculiar manner, when he should awake in the world of light. . Although God does, in some incomprehensible manner, fill heaven, earth and hell, by his essential presence, yet it may be true that he makes some peculiar manifestations of his local presence in the kingdom of glory. We know that he has appeared to be, in a peculiar manner, present at certain times, in certain places. He was visibly
In Isaiah says,
present when he led his people out of Egypt into the wilderness, by a pillar of cloud and fire. He was visibly present in the tabernacle and in the temple. He made the holy of holies his constant residence. In some such peculiar manner, we may suppose he manifests his presence in heaven. Nor is this a groundless conjecture; for the scripture represents him, as making heaven his high and holy habitation. Those holy men who were indulged the favor of looking within the vail, have told us that they saw his throne, where he makes visible and glorious manifestations of his presence.
I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphim ; each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory." The apostle John also gives a similar representation of the throne of God, and of those who surround it. If these representations are somewhat figurative, yet the figures must have some foundation in fact. But they would be groundless and absurd, if there were no visible manifestations of God's peculiar presence in heaven. In some part of that glorious place, we may suppose God has fixed his throne, his shechinah, or visible symbol of his presence, which all the inhabitants of heaven view as the residence of the supreme Sovereign of the universe; and near this holy habitation of the Deity, we may likewise suppose, the man Christ Jesus, and the highest orders of celestial beings, fill their appropriate places. Indeed, the whole current of scripture leads us to believe, that God dwells more visibly and gloriously in heaven, than in any part of the universe; and that both saints and angels behold his face in righteousness, and enjoy his blissful presence. This leads me to show,
III. That when the saints shall arrive in heaven, they will be completely satisfied and happy there.
They will enjoy all that felicity which David anticipated, when he humbly and confidently said to God, “ I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness.” If there will be perfect happiness any where in the universe, it is to be expected in heaven, where God is, and Christ is, and where all holy beings are collected, and united in their views and affections. Heaven was designed for happiness, and great preparations have been made, and are still making, to raise the blessedness of holy creatures to the highest degree of perfection. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” And Christ tells us that he will say to them on his right hand at the last day, “ Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Since God intends to prepare heaven for the enjoyment and blessedness of his friends, we may be assured that it will be fitted in the best manner to answer that benevolent and gracious purpose. The place itself, and all the objects contained in it, will
. be completely suited to afford the most perfect satisfaction and enjoyment to all who shall possess it. There will be no disagreeable objects in heaven. There will be nothing offensive to the eye, or to the ear, or to the heart. There will be no painful heat, nor painful cold, nor painful darkness, nor painful hunger, nor painful thirst, nor painful fear. Nor will God merely exclude every thing unainiable and undesirable from heaven, but adorn it with every natural and moral beauty. Such is the place, which God has been and is still preparing for them that love him.
Let us now more distinctly consider the various species of happiness which they shall there enjoy, and which shall yield them complete satisfaction.
1. They will enjoy all the happiness which can flow from the free and full exercise of all their intellectual powers and faculties. All rational beings have a thirst for knowledge, and the discovery of truth affords real entertainment and satisfaction to their minds. Many good men in this world have delightfully employed their mental powers in their inquisitive researches into the works and ways of God. There is a peculiar pleasure in tracing and examining the natures, causes, relations and connections of things in the natural and moral world. In heaven the understanding will be cleared of its darkness, weakness, and liability to err, while all the natural faculties of the mind will be strengthened and enlarged. The memory will contain, and be able to recollect, all ideas which had ever been treasured up in it. All objects and truths which had been once known, will be forever known. And this will afford a great facility in making rapid and perpetual advances in knowledge. Besides, heaven will furnish the blessed with the best means of intellectual improvement. They will enjoy ample opportunities, in the course of ages, to become acquainted with all created objects, with all past events, and all the causes by which they were brought about. For Christ has promised his friends that the things which they know not now, they shall know hereafter. If the godly are greatly gratified with the little knowledge they gain of what passes in this world while they remain in it, how much greater satisfaction will it