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ven); ““I beheld, and, lo! a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the Throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands,”-O what a different scene, what a different world, separated only by a slight veil from that which we inhabit, is here exhibited to our view a world into which we may enter by a single step, and in a moment of time! Here we see a busy world, eager in vain pursuits, agitated by mere trifles, contending about objects of no moment, and immersed in things which perish with the using. All is noise, and confusion, and vanity, and sorrow, and evil. But behold another world, nigh at hand, composed of different beings, governed by different principles : where all things are as substantial, as here they are vain ; where all things are as momentous, as here they are frivolous ; where all things are as great, as here they are little; where all things are as durable, as here they are transitory; where all things are as fixed, as here they are mutable! That world has also its inhabitants—so numerous, that the population of this world is but as a petty tribe compared them. It has its employments; but they are of the noblest kind and weightiest import; and compared with them, the whole sum of the concerns of this life is but as a particle of dust. It has its pleasures; but they are pure and spotless, holy and divine. There, perfect happiness, and uninterrupted harmony and righteousness and peace, ever prevail. What a contrast to our present state !-And is this blessed scene near us? Is there but, as it were, a step between? May we be called into it in a moment? With what anxious solicitude, then, should we endeavour to realize it! And how ardently should we desire to be prepared for an admission into it !' pp. 84–86.
• In considering the multitudes, beyond the power of calculation, which will peuple the realms of bliss, we must recollect, that there multitudes constitute happiness. On the earth, where a difficulty of subsistence is often experienced; where there exists a constant collision of interests ; where one stands in the way of another; where jealousies and envyings, anger and revenge, pride and vanity, agitate and deform the world ; numbers may tend to diffuse wretchedness and to multiply evil. Hence we fee for peace and joy from the crowded haunts of men, and court the sequestered habitation and the retired vale. But in heaven, where there can be no thwarting interests ; where the wants of one are never supplied at the expense of another; where every bosom glows with love, and every heart beats with desire to promote the general happiness ; the addition of a fresh individual to the innumerable throng diffuses a wider joy, and heightens the universal felicity,
• The multitude assembled there is described as composed of “all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues.” – Here, again, we must beware of forming our judgment from the feelings and views of this fallen world. There, it will be no cause of jealousy, or rivalry, or hatred, that one person received his birth on this, and another on that, side of a river or sea. A man will not despise his þrother on account of the different shade of his complexion; he will
not seek his destruction because he spoke in another language ; nor renounce communion with him because he praised the same God, with the saine spirit of piety, in a house of different form. All these petty distinctions will have either ceased to exist, or will be completely annihilated in the general spirit of love which will then animate every mind. One pursuit will occupy every heart; each will strive only to glorify God. There will either be no distinctions, or the distinctions be like the beautiful variety we see in the works of God-like flowers enriched with different colours to delight the eye, or with various perfumes to gratify the smell. Why should distinctions offend, or variety disgust? It is the dark and selfish pride of the heart which considers itself as the only standard of right and excellence, and therefore despises or hates every deviation from itself. Let the pride be removed, and the distinction would become a pleasing variety, instead of a source of hatred.
Alas! alas ! what petty differences, engendered by pride, and nursed by the worst passions of the human breast, here separate, with unchristian hatred, those who are brethren, the children of the same God, the members of the same church, taught by the same book, partakers of the same hope, redeemed by the same Saviour, influenced by the same Spirit, travelling along the same road towards the same blessed country! Oh, Religion ! our best, our dearest, holiest guide! is thy sacred name to be prostituted, is thy divine aim to be perverted, to sanction discord, to justify hatred, and to consecrate bigotry? No! Religion acknowledges nothing as her own work, but union and peace. In heaven, her throne, no odious denominations will parcel out the regenerated church, no frivolous distinctions be suffered to break che unity of the members of Christ ; but people of every nation, and kindred, and tribe, and tongue, will unite in one worship, will be animated with one spirit, will be actuated by one principle -- and that, the principle of pure and universal love." pp. 87-90.
• To what an exalted height of happiness and glory, my Christian brethren, is then that “innumerable company" advanced ! With what a glorious society do they hold communion! In what noble employments are they engaged; of what refined enjoyments do they partake! Blessed spirits ! your lot is fixed ; your happiness is permanent and eternal. You will suffer pain or feel distress no more. Your minds are cleansed from every tāint of sin ; your breasts are the everlasting abode of purity and joy. All around you is peace. Every thing is concerted, by Almighty Wisdom and Infinite Goodness, to banish the very elements of evil'; to dispel the slightest shade of misery ; to pour around you, in luxuriant profusion- & profusion designating the infinitely varied power of the Giver all the richest stores of good. -How unlike this is our present state ! What a different abode is this world below! Here, fear and terror, danger and violence, pain and suffering, sin and remorse, misery and grief, poverty and labour, the curse and the frown of justice, have fixed their abode.
But, my brethren, though “ these days be evil," give not way to despair.
Let me now present to you this innumerable company under a differs ent aspect. Let me point out to you what was their former, as well as what is their present, state. Once, these were “men of like passions with yourselves ;"_" they have come out of great tribulation;"
- they once sighed and groaned under sufferings and sorrows as deep and grievous as those by which any of you are afflicted. Oh! what an invaluable and sure source of consolation is it, to every pious Christian suffering under the weight of worldly calamities, to direct his contemplation to this glorious host above ! Standing before the Throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and with palms in their hands, methinks they say to him, “We were once as you are ; we were assaulted by the same temptations, we were stricken by the same arrows, we drank deep of the same bitter cup, we combated with the same enemies, we felt all the sharpness and bitterness of the Christian warfare. Often were we ready to faint ; eften we cried to God in an agony of grief, on the point of being swallowed up in despair. We felt all the weakness of our faith, and trembled under the infirmities of our common nature. Faint not therefore in your course. Behold the “ cloud of witnesses" surrounding you. With one voice they bid you “ lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the weak knees.” “Be strong, fear not; your God will come : he will come with a recompence, and save you."
Oh, my brethren in Christ ! my flock whom I long to present to Gnd meet' for the inheritance of the saints in light, and prepared to join their innumerable company, let me conjure every weak and every af ieted brother amongst you, to contemplate these blessed inhabitants of heaven. How changed are they from what they once were ! Praises incessantly occupy those tongues which once breathed out only complaints, and told of fears and apprehensions. Not a complaint can you make which they have not made : not a temptation can you describe to which they were not exposed. All your weakness they felt : all your trials they endured. Some, like Lazarus, were afflicted with poverty; some, like Job, were plunged from the height of prosperity to the lowest depth of adversity; some, like David, were harassed by severe persecutions ; some, like Lot, were vexed by the unrighteousness of those around them ; some like Eli, were cursed with unrighteous children ; some, like Peter, were shut up in prison; some, like Manasses, felt all the anguish of remorse ; some, like the Apostles and the noble army of martyrs, weré stoned or sawn asunuer ;--yet, now, their sufferings have been long forgotten, or are remembered only to bless God, who “ counted them worthy to suffer for his name's sake.” One moment spent in heaven effaces for ever the afflictions endured upon earth. 'Oh! look to them, then, and indulge the delightful hope that one day “God may wipe away all tears from your eyes,” and compensate all your sufferings." pp. 95–98.
From a very soothing and pleasing discourse on the Communion of Saints,' we cannot forbear quoting one short passage, in proof of the Author's liberality of sentiment:
· Let the subject inspire affection also towards real Christians : “Let our love be without dissimulation." Let us shew candour to the followers of the same Master. Are we not brethren, and shall we make each other offenders for a word ? Shall those for whom Christ died be unwilling to exercise kindness to each other? Shall those, who are fellow-heirs of the same promise, live as if they were strangers here? Oh let us, for Christ's sake, overlook ou petty differences ! Let the love of Christ be the central point in which we meet. Let it be employed to cement love between Christian brethren. Let us cultivate a sympathizing spirit. Let us abound in all the sympathies of love, in works of charity, in act of pity and kindness for each other. Thus shall we shew that we really have fellowship with Christ: thus shall we approve ourseves to be his disciples.' Vol. I. p. 191.
The conclusion of the succeeding sermon, on ou Communion with Angels,' ought also to be extracted, on account of the powerful exhortation it comprises.
Here, upon earth, the Christian is an associate with angels by faith, by hope, by communion, by anticipation. But hereafter we, if we be indeed Christians, shall be more intimately united to them. They now rejoice in our penitence, because they see another Dame written in heaven. They anxiously await the hour of our death, that they may see another soul enter into glory :—with them, so bright, so glorious, so excellent, has it pleased God of his infinite mercy to fix our eternal habitation. Oh, blessed society, from which all envy, and pride, and anger, and emulation, and strife shall be for ever excluded! where there will be but one employment, one spirit, one heart, one object,-the glory of our father and their Father, of our God and their God!
• There is one reflection with which I beg to close these observations. How awful is the thought, that every person who now hears me, is united either to the Devils or to the Angels! To the eye of sense, we seem to be all mingled together in one body; but, if the veil, which conceals the invisible world, were removed,' we should discover a distinction as clear as will appear when the angels shall separate the wicked and the righteous. God and Satan divide the world. Each has his angels subordinate to him. The “god of this world," emphatically and awfully so styled, on account of the num. ber of subjects he at present possesses, "rules in the children of disobedience' by his evil spirits; while God sends his “ angels to minister to them that are the heirs of salvation.” And, according to the success of the good and evil angels, in moulding their respective charges to their own nature and character, the objects of their respective superintendance will rejoice with angels, or suffer with devils for ever. Thou, therefore, who openest thy mouth in blasphemy and cursing against God; thou who endeavourest to subvert the government of God, and to loosen the grasp which the obligations of his truth have upon the mind; thou who tramplest upon his laws; thou who slightest the ordinances of his grace, the worship of God, and the word of God ;-is it not evident to whom thou art united ? Art thou not doing the work of devils ? Art thou not already associated with them? Art thou not "treasuring up for thyself" wrath against the day of wrath ?" Oh, let me conjure you to pause, to consider, to repent! Even for you there is hope. Behold the glorious company of angels. They desire to receive you: hey stretch forth their hands to you. In their holy zeal to reclain the wicked and to enlarge their blessed society, they carry the everlasting Gospel to all nations. Will you renounce them, to have felowship with devils ? Oh, turn to God, that you may be added 6 this innumerable company! And you who, through Jesus Christ, ire thus united to and associated with angels, see that you do the vork of angels. Be conformed to them in your tempers and views. Live like them here, as the best, the only preparation for an eternal residence and communion with them hereafter. In the contemplation of this glorious prospect, who shall not adopt the exclamation of the Psalmist? “Bless the Lord, ye his angels that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. Bless ye the Lord, all ye his host; ye ministers of his that do his pleasure. Bless the Lord, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the Lord, O my soul.”' Vol. I. pp. 206–209.
The exordium of the sermon on "The gradual Progress of Evil,' indicates fine taste, exquisite feeling, and philosophic views of men and things, as well as deep piety : it is, however, - too long to be given here. But from the excellent sermon on Indecision in Religion,' we must take one characteristic passage.
• Remember also, that you must be consistent. Your conduct must be good, as well as your profession bold. Do not parley with any sin. Do not love the things of the world, while
you renounce the men of the world. Endeavour not merely to keep within the verge of salvation, but advance into the midst of the Church of Christ. A lukewarm temporising spirit has been your bane. To combine a little, and only a little, religion with much of the world, has been your fault. Thus you have done the work of the Lord deceitfully. Now be honest and sincere in his service.' Vol. I. p. 290.
The only remaining extract for which we have room, is from an impressive sermon On the Nature and Value of hu
• Alas ! how short-sighted is man! How blind to points of the first importance! How eagerly are all his thoughts, his hopes, and fears, engaged in forming plans and contriving schemes for the enjoyment of to-morrow, or of the next year, or of the next fifty years! It matters not which we take, they are all expressions of the same meaning; they are all equally as a moment of time with respect to eternity. But, alas ! what folly is it that with such care about the body which is dying, the world which is perishing before our eyes,