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thanksgiving and praise will sound through the vast assembly. They will have clear and distinct views of the divine glories and works. The mysteries which here perplex them, will be unfolded to their understanding. They will see justice, wisdom and goodness, in those dispensations which now are wrapt in clouds and darkness. They will be delivered from the incumbrance of the flesh, and from the diversions of sensible things. They will animate and warm each other by mutual zeal and love. In that numerous assembly there will be no interfering designs, jarring affections, and discordant voices. John heard the voice of much people, and their voice was one. Praise God-Salvation and glory to him. How rarely do we find much people on earth joined together in the same mind, and speaking the same things? In civil society, men have their different worldly views; in religious society, Christians have their various sentiments, for which they contend with too bitter zeal, and too unyielding obstinacy. How often do we see those who have covenanted to walk and worship together, dividing into parties, withdrawing from each other's communion, and judging one another, instead of provoking to love and good works !—Will it be so in heaven?-No; if it were so, heaven would cease to be itself. Love is there made perfect: It is the life and soul of happiness. There will be different degrees of perfection and glory; but there will be no envy on the one part, or pride and insolence on the other; no unsocial passions, or malignant tongues. All voices will sweetly mingle in the praise of the common Creator and Redeemer ; the voices of that innumerable multitude will be as
We see then how the worship of God on earth must be performed, that it may rise with acceptance to heaven. It must be performed, as it is
in heaven, with social and benevolent affections. There can be no complete happiness without society. Even heaven, if we were to be there in a state of solitude, would lose much of its delight. In society there can be no happiness without union. The saints in glory, are described, as acting with one design, and praising God with one voice. There is no acceptable worship without a spirit of peace and love. We must be like minded one toward another, that we may with one mind and one mouth glorify God. By a temper of love we are to prepare for heaven; and by union in divine worship we are to improve our love. This temper we must ever aim to carry with us into the worship of God; and with a view to strengthen and exalt it, all the parts of worship must be conducted. So capital in the Christian scheme is this grace, that we are directed, above all things, to put on charity-to have fervent charity among ourselves to love one another with a pure heart fervently. It is by the love of the brethren, that we are to prove to ourselves that we have passed from death to life, and manifest to others that we are the disciples of Christ. While we worship God together in peace and love, we are preparing for the world of love. When we make the worship of God an occasion of disunion and contention, we pervert it to a contrary effect. To them who are contentious and obey not the truth, will be rendered indignation and wrath.
III. Here is pointed out to us one principal subject of the heavenly devotion.-"Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God, for true and righteous are his judgments." This hymn of praise is sung to God, in conse quence of his judging that idolatrous power, which had corrupted the earth.
The angels and saints in heaven are attentive to the state of the church on earth. They observe
the dealings of Providence toward her, give thanks for every interposition in her favour, and from the judgments which God executes, learn more of his righteousness and truth. Heaven is Heaven is a state of imincreases there. Every fresh display of divine glory is celebrated in new songs of praise.
Religion on earth is a matter which interests the blest above. Those benevolent spirits rejoice in the diffusion of truth, virtue and happiness, among our race of mortals. They love to see fresh accessions to their own number. There is joy in heaven, when one sinner repents; and greater joy, when religion generally prevails, and multitudes are continually rising to join their happy assembly. When the hundred and forty and four thousand, sealed out of the tribes of Israel, were followed by a great multitude, which no man could number, out of all nations of the earth, John says, he observed, and immediately these shouted-Salvation to God and the Lamb; and then all the angels, elders, and cherubs fell on their faces before the throne, and worshipped God, saying, Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and power, be unto our God forever. Such a mighty increase of the church was recognised by a general song of praise in heaven.
The saints give thanks for their own salvation. They admire and adore the love of God, who has called them by his grace, and the love of the Saviour, who has redeemed them by his blood.
They give thanks for each other's salvation; for the conversion of sinners, the prosperity of the church, and the increase of its members.
They praise God for his judgments on the enemies of truth. They are represented in our text, not only as ascribing salvation to God, but also as celebrating the rectitude of his government, in judging them, who had corrupted the earth.
These pure minds are incapable of malice and revenge. They rejoice in the destruction of corrupt and persecuting powers, only as by this the great obstacles in the way of truth are removed, and a more effectual door opened for its general spread and increase. Their joy springs from benevolence. The suppression of those who have corrupted the earth, is the suppression of corruption itself, and the means of advancing the virtue and happiness of the world.
We may observe farther,
IV. The punishment of the wicked in the future world, will be eternal. Her smoke rose up forever and ever. There is nothing more plainly declared in the gospel, than a future judgment, and the distribution of rewards and punishments. The declarations of the gospel, on this subject, are fully agreeable to the dictates of human reason. There is an obvious difference between virtue and vice; and according to this difference we must suppose the righteous Governour of the World will finally treat his subjects. As there is no visible distinction at present made between the good and the bad, a distinction doubtless will be made in a future state.
Experience teaches us, that virtue tends to hap piness, and vice to misery. This is evidently the divine constitution. To suppose that the latter should be made happy, as well as the former, is to suppose, that there is an inconsistency in the divine government, and that the future distribution of good and evil will contradict the settled course of things in the present world.
Reason teaches us to expect a difference. How great the difference will be, reason cannot conjecture-Revelation only can inform us. This opens to our view most astonishing scenes. On the one
hand, thrones and kingdoms, honour and immortality, fulness of joy, and an inconceivable weight VOL. I.
of glory, are the rewards reserved for the just; and, on the other, darkness, horrour and despair, the agonies of corroding guilt, and the torments of devouring fire, are the portion of a wicked man, from God.
And these different states are always, in scripture, represented as eternal. The righteous shall go into everlasting life; the ungodly into everlasting punishment.
The former we readily believe; for, as we flatter ourselves with the idea of happiness after death, we are willing to believe the happiness will never end. The latter we receive with reluctance, and sometimes with distrust. Every man entertains a secret hope, that if he is to exist, he shall be hap
py. The conscious sinner intends to repent; he hopes divine mercy will be extended to him at death; and he is willing to believe, that if he should miscarry, there may be an after remedy.
To guard us against such presumption and selfflattery, the scripture has expressed the endless duration of the punishment of the wicked in a great variety of unequivocal terms. Language affords not an expression more strong and emphatical than this in the text. Her smoke rose up for EVER and EVER. Correspondent to this is the current language of inspiration. They who obey not the gospel will be punished with everlasting destruction. -Their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.-When God gathers the wheat into his barn, he will burn the chaff with unquenchable fire.-The unbelieving and abominable shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death; the last state of punishment. There is no intimation of another probation, and a third death for them who abuse their new trial. To prevent all expectations of this kind, God has sworn in his wrath concerning the impenitent and unbeliev