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“ far more exceeding and eternal Weight of Glory.” “ For our light afflictions which are but for a mo“ment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and " eternal Weight of Glory; while we look not at “ the things which are seen, but at the things which “ are not seen; for the things which are seen are tem
poral; but the things which are not seen, are eter“ nal.” Here then is the great distinction. If the things which men deem most valuable in this world, were to be held forever, they would be content to enjoy them here forever; but when they know that they are perishable and temporal here; and that in Heaven they will be lasting and eternal, wise men must soon be determined in their choice.
To describe the joys of Heaven, as well as we can, will be the business of the remaining part of this Sermon. Howsoever far the description may fall short of the Truth; it is hoped the Souls of men may be animated by the prospect of enjoying them, and be thereby persuaded to cast off every evil Habit that would render them unfit for that holy place, or stop them in their glorious progress thither; for these Foys are too Spiritual and Sublime—too full of Glory and Goodness to be ever tasted by a man who carries with him a heart wedded to this world, and polluted with its wickedness. It was the punishment inflicted upon Adam's first Transgression, that “the* very
Ground was cursed for his sake; that in sor“ row he, and his posterity, should eat of it all the
days of their lives; that it should bring forth thorns
* Gen. Ch. iii. Ver. 17, 18, 19.
« and thistles; that in sorrow and in the sweat of the
face they should eat bread all the days of their “ lives—until their Return to the Ground, from “ whence they were taken ; for Dust we are and unto “ dust we must return”-“All things here, says Solomon,* are full of Labour, man cannot utter it”“ man is born unto trouble, saith Job,t as the sparks fly upward.”—But in Christ's Kingdom, where Sin cannot enter, and divine Righteousness must forever prevail, there shall be a glorious and eternal Rest from Labour, both of Body and Soul! There shall be no more Anxieties nor Cares concerning the Future, nor Strifes, nor Frauds, nor Violence, concerning the Present; but, instead thereof, there shall be perpetual tranquillity of Enjoyment; attentive to the Voice of God, the harmony of the spirits of Just Men made perfect, and of the Church triumphant in Heaven.
And now first, with respect to those who labour and are heavy-laden in this world, and who may be ready to sink under their Burden, (who are a numerous class of Men) Heaven is described as a Rest from their Labour. St. John in the Revelation, saith, “Blessed are the dead, who die in the Lord, for they rest from their laboursť;" “ and there re“ maineth (saith St. Paul) a rest for the people of “ God--Let us therefore, strive to enter into that “ rest; for it is a glorious rest, saith the Prophet " Isaiah.”
Eccles. Ch. i. Ver. 8. † Job, Ch. v. Ver. 7.
| Rev. Ch. xiv. Ver. 13.
2. The happiness of Heaven is also figured to us by the metaphor of Peace.
“ Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright; “ for the end of that man is Peace. *” “ The Righte" ous are taken from the evil to come, that they may " enter into Peace."
This peace, to men who are born at enmity with God, and all goodness, must be unspeakably desirous! To have our consciences quieted against future apprehensions of sin, disobedience, and punishment; to have our souls purified from all the fell passions and inclinations of degenerate nature, from Malice, Anger, Wrath, Clamour, Evil-Speaking; to have our Hearts opened to the divine Impressions and inexpressible Sweets of Love and Friendship, which unite the spirits of the Just, and call them with the accordant voice of Joy and Happiness, to pour forth before the throne of God, their unwearied Anthems of Adoration and Praise–This is happiness, indeed, to all who love peace, and seek for Relief from Discord, Strife and Care.
3. Again the Scriptures, addressing the Devotees of worldly Riches and Wealth, represent the joys of Heaven as a treasure-a treasure which cannot be consumed, but shall ever abound and flourish" a treasure, which neither. Moth nor Rust can corrupt; which Thieves cannot break through, nor steal; which cannot take Wings and fly away in our need, and which shall remain our portion and inheritance, forever.” For, in the “new Jerusalem, # we shall drink and be satisfied out of the rivers “ that flow by the Throne of God, whose Waters are
* Ps. xxxvii. Ver. 87.
pure as Chrystal, and shall' eat the Fruit of the “ Tree of Life, whose Leaves heal the nations."* Some there are likewise, whose whole lives are devoted to the pursuit of what they call Pleasure; now, to draw their attention---the Happiness of Heaven, is called “ Pleasures for evermore, nay Rivers of Pleasure; which do not cloy the taste, enfeeble the Body, unnerve the very Soul, and generally terminate in Poverty, Shame, Disease and Death; but the pleasures of Heaven, when we shall have put on Immortality, instead of weakening and wearying the Powers of the Soul, more and more inspire it with renewed Vigour, exalting it to the Strength of Angels, and a Taste for Happiness, as boundless and sublime as are the employments in which we shall be engaged, and the objects with which we shall be forever surrounded. The sons of Adam are as busy as he himself was, in shaking the boughs and scrambling for the fruit, of what is considered as the tree of Happiness and Pleasure; but in Heaven we shall be led to stand by the Tree of Life, to taste of its fruits forever and ever.
4. There are others again who, in this life, consider power and dominion and worldly grandeur, as the Supreme Happiness.
To them also, the bliss of Heaven is represented as Glory, Honour, Power and Dominion eternal.
• Rev. Ch. xxii. Ver. 1, 2.
† See a fine passage in Cudwortb's intellectual System, which led to this thought. VOL. I.
“ The upright shall have dominion over the wicked “ in the morning of the resurrection--in that ever. "lasting Kingdom which Christ shall establish, " wherein they only who are rich in faith shall be " the joyous beirs." No outward enemy shall ever be able to rob or despoil the righteous of this honour and dominion; to which they shall be exalted, with the angels on high, in subordination to the King of kings, to execute his high commands, and to be his ministers of love, through the infinite bounds of his creation. : We shall then have true glory and dominion; eclipsing, beyond comparison, all the little pageantry of what we call glory here. For we shall receive from Christ himself, a Crown of Life, and Diadem of Glory. The veil of our present weakness and ignorance, shall be taken away: we shall behold with open face, and in beatific Vision, the glory of the living God; and not only behold, but be changed into the image of Him, and advanced from glory to glory, through endless duration!
Oh, ravishing thought! Do not our Souls exult within us, and enlarge themselves as ready to burst beyond the bounds of this mortal scene, and to grasp the happy moment, when we shall spring from this earth, like a bed of new-blown flowers, and shaking off the dross and lumber of the flesh, have our outward part clothed upon anew, with Glory, Honour and Immortality; and not only this outward clothing, but clotbed upon within, by the glories of the Son of God.
Let us then dismiss from our mind, thé Tinsel Splendor of earthly glory, from its lowest Dregs to