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of God, and eagerly desires an abundant entrance to be at once administered unto her into his everlasting kingdom. As yet, however, she is at an immeasurable distance from the blissful place designed for her reception. For, as when Jesus went into the presence of his Father, the Scripture informs us that he ascended "far above all heavens," that is, above all the heavenly bodies and worlds of creation, so the spirit of the departed saint, in her passage to the same glorious habitation, must also ascend far above them all, if when absent from the body she will be present with the Lord. And this will give us some idea of the immense and incalculable distance along which the spirit has to wing her way from the time that she passes the boundaries of earth, and enters the habitation of light. The distances of the heavenly bodies may be measured. The nearest of the fixed stars (Sirius) is many millions of miles distant from our globe; while the distances of those which are remote, although they can be described and correctly put down in figures, can hardly be conceived of by the human understanding. And yet it is pos
sible,-nay, highly probable,-that beyond the remotest of those shining orbs which are seen by the naked eye or the most powerful telescope, other worlds of light are glittering to an almost infinite extent. [Note i.] But, oh! when the spirit in her ascent to glory has reached the boundaries of this vast creation, she is still at an immeasurable distance from the blissful habitation of her God; for it is "far above all heavens."
Now, although it is possible that a disembodied spirit may wing her way to the celestial world with a rapidity swifter than that of light itself, and beyond the power of imagination to conceive [Note k], even then some space of time must be occupied in her flight towards it, and it is altogether reasonable to suppose that such is indeed the fact. A great purpose may be answered by it, in the further preparation of the spirit for celestial gloryfor the society of the pure and exalted creatures by whom she will there be surrounded, -for the peculiar employments which will then devolve upon her; but, above all, for those scenes of brightness and effulgence which
will every where burst upon her sight the moment she passes the "everlasting doors." And when we consider how gradually the providence of God will prepare us for the changes of even the present life, so that the greatness of those changes may not overpower us or unfit us to occupy the improved and advanced condition to which we are sometimes called, it is in accordance with the analogy of his known procedure to suppose that whilst the spirit of a holy man may be substantially prepared for heaven the moment it leaves the body, yet, that a higher tone of moral feeling as well as a more acute and refined sensibility in reference to celestial things, may be acquired by her in her progress towards it. The society of the pure and intelligent band who so constantly attend her, may naturally be expected to have a very refining influence upon her, and to impart that exquisite sense of purity and goodness which so pre-eminently belongs unto themselves. Nor is it at all difficult to conceive how the wondrous exhibitions of amazing power and consummate wisdom, which, in her flight to glory, must open
upon the vision of a disembodied spirit, tending, as they must necessarily do, to expand and invigorate the understanding, should fill her with a more profound admiration and ardent attachment for that exalted Being by whom the worlds were made, and in this way produce a greater natural and moral preparation for his immediate presence. For, oh! how many and how varied must be the scenes of wonder, splendour, and magnificence which are beheld by the spirit of a holy man while passing to the throne of God! What objects of grandeur and sublimity must she behold, and how forcibly must they combine, as they are successively beheld by her, to enlarge her knowledge of the great Creator, to give intensity to her devotion towards him!
To conceive, with any degree of accuracy or distinctness, the stupendous and ever varied scenes of brightness and of glory which a disembodied spirit must behold while ascending to the abode of God, is not in the power of spirits, fettered as are our own, and whose range of vision is so confined. For, much as we imagine that we see of the glorious uni
verse, and much as we really do see of it from that narrow spot of earth upon which we dwell, it comprises but a speck in the immense creation; so that, when the whole of what we can behold has been contemplated by us, vast and immeasurable as it may appear [Note 7], yet, with the patriarch, we must exclaim, "Lo! these are parts of his ways: how little a portion is heard of him! but the thunder of his power who can understand?" Hence, when a spirit in her progress upwards has reached the most distant of all the stars which skirt the visible horizon, and has entered upon regions which neither the eye nor the instrument of man has yet descried, other fields of light are visible at an almost inconceivable distance [Note m]; and since one star differeth from another star in glory, how many and how varied must be the glories she beholds! But her admiration is excited at not only those worlds of light which divide the waves of ether, and which in regular paths are navigating the ocean of unbounded space, but at those fiery columns which in every form of orbit are continually crossing and traversing those of the planetary choir, and that without at