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saints in Heaven. All who are designed for Heaven hereafter, are prepared for heaven now. Only those who are sanctified shall tfc glorified. And this is evident to common sense. Every creature has its own proper element. The fish cannot fly in the air, nor the. bird swim in the water. And how can we suppose that the man who drinketh in iniquity like water, can be fit to be with angels and the spirits of just men made perfect, where all is pure and holy? A good man who was dying, said, * I shall change my place, but not my company.' Let them think of this, whose chosen company is the profane, and the lewd. O how vain are the hopes which many persons entertain of future happiness! In vain the proud Pharisee, who talks of his good heart and his good works, expects a place among the redeemed; for their song is not, 'worthy is sell ;* but * worthy is the Lamb that was slain, who hath redeemed us to God by his blood.' As vain are the hopes of the carnal and worldly man, whose affections cleave to earth, who lives in the love and practice of known iniquity, whose inmost soul abhors the spiritual life, who accounts the Sabbath a burthen, and who lives 'without Christ in the world.' Know, O vain man, thy hope is folly and presumption, and hear what Christ has declared with a double Verily,—' Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.' Johniii. 3.
But thrice happy are they who are prepared for Heaven ; who are 'born of the Spirit,' and made spiritual in the frame of their mind; whose hearts are weaned in some degree from earthly things; who possess the world as though they possessed it not; who have desires and affections suited to the work and delight of Heaven: * He who hath wrought us for the self-same thing is God ;' these are * the first fruits of the Spirit,' the foretaste of Heaven; and those who enjoy it shall be ' accounted worthy to obtain that world.'
Observe, IV. That the delations of the present world will not subsist in the world to come; our Lord says, They neither marry, nor are given in marriage.
This expression is not intended to disparage thai kind of union; for marriage was ordained by God himself, while yet our first parents retained their original innocence. This relation is the first that subsisted between human beings; it is the sodSce of all other relations, and superior to them all; for, 'for this cause shall a man leave his father and his mother, and cleave unto his wife.' And our Lord was so far from discouraging marriage, that he graced a marriage feast with his presence, and wrought his first miracle there.
But in Heaven this relation will cease; because the purposes for which it was instituted will also cease. There will be no death in Heaven; consequently no vacancies, such as death here makes, to be filled up. In this world,' one generation passeth away, and another cometh,' The world is like an inn, where travellers take a hasty refreshment, and are gone: while a succession of new travellers occupy their places. Where are the former inhabitants of this place? They are mingled with the dust; the places which knew them, know them no more; we who are present, supply their room ; and in a short time, another generation shall succeed us. But the inhabitants of Heaven dwell in a 'continuing city,' 'a house not made with hands, whose builder and maker is God;' yea, they are like * pillars in his temple, and shall no more go out.'
The blessed God, who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, has been pleased to appoint marriage as a reifredy against fornication, that natural desires might not become brutal, but be under direction and control. Alas! what abominations spring from the neglect of this remedy! What impurities, what excesses, what poverty, what disease, what infamy, what bloodshed, what misery, have abounded in the world by the unbridled lusts of the sexes! And O, how few consider, that 'forall these things, God will bring them into judgment!' But in the heavenly world, those who wer« on earth purified in measure, shall be perfectly pure; the body of sin and death shall also be purged in the grave; and no disorderly passions, nor sensual appetites, shall ever molest them again.
Not shall the glorified need the aid of that domestic friendship and comfort which result from the married state, and which are well suited to our embodied condition ; for even in paradise the Creator judged * it was not good for man to be alone.' But in Heaven there will be no occasion for the lesser streams of happiness, when believers have arrived at the fountain. In that blessed state, 'The tabernacle of God shall be with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.' Rev. xxi. 3. And it is added, (ver. 23), 'the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it, for the glory of the Lord did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.' God, in Christ, will be the everlasting fountain of knowledge and joy ; so that the aid of creature comforts shall no more be wanted than the light of a candle at noon-day.
O let us learn from hence to set loose to all creatures. and creature comforts; 'It remaineth that both they that have wives be as though they had none; and they that weep, as though they wept not ; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that use this world, as not abusing it; for the fashion of this world passeth away.' 1 Cor. vii. 29.
Observe, V. In that world death will be for ever abolished.
This is a dying world. We are placed as in a field of battle, our relations and neighbours are falling all around us, so that we may almost say—' Where i* the earth that hath not been alive?' Death is to mortals 'the king of terrors.' Many thoughtless creatures, indeed, will hardly allow themselves to think of it; but when it approaches, what agonies and terrors seize their souls ; sin is neither pardoned nor subdued, and preparation for eternity is not begun. Even some of the timid flock of Christ, weak in the faith, act inconsistently with the glorious gospel they profess; too much in bondage though fear of death. But Christ hath abolished death. 2 Tim. i. 10. He hath .taken away its sting, and changed its very nature, turning the curse into a blessing ; and, as to the second death, far more dreadful than the first, it is lost and gone for ever: He that believeth shall never die—believest thou this ? John xi. 26. Instead of death, eternal life is the believer's portion; even now the Christian hath it, and it shall be perfected at the resurrection, when this mftrtal shall put on immortality. 'O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?'
Let this reconcile us to death. We shall die but once. It alleviates the distress of some bodily disorders, as the small pox for instance, that persons suffer them but once, and are not liable to have them again. It is a far greater satisfaction which Christ affords us in our text, Neither shall they die any more; especially as death itself is also become a privilege: it is the gate of life, and ushers us into his presence, where 'there is fulness of joy, and pleasures for evermore.'
Observe, VI. The blessed inhabitants of that world shall be like the angels; they are equal to the angels.
Angels are spiritual beings, not having bodies as we have, but possessing rational powers superior to ours. They are pure and holy beings, having never rebelled against God, as their fallen brethren, the devils, have; and as we, the children of men, have. They do the will of God with pleasure, and are the messengers of God's mercy to men; * ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to them who shall be heirs of salvation.'
At present we are far inferior to angels, not only in our natural powers, but especially in holiness and purity. We inhabit a body of sin and death; and, by our connexion with a system of flesh and blood, are greatly hindered in our spiritual pursuits, and disposed to evil. Thus the apostle speaks (Rom. vii. 22, &c.) 'I delight in the law of God after the inward maii (the renewed mind), but I see another law in my members, warring against the law in my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin, which is in my members ;'and on this account he cries, * O wretched man that 1 am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death!' And believers have daily cause to make the same complaint; 'For the flesh lusteth always contrary to the spirit, soYthat they cannot do the things that they would.' On this ground, our suffering Saviour kindly apologized for his sleeping disciples in the garden: 'The spirit is truly willing, but the flesh is weak.'
Hut our Lord lure assures his people they shall be
equal with the angels ; they shall drop the clog of their mortal bodies, and lose the incumbrance of flesh and blood; no sensual appetites shall divert their affections from spiritual objects; but, with the same agility and spirituality as the angels themselves, they shall serve their dear Lord day and night in his temple, and be supremely happy in the full enjoyment of God and the Lamb.
0 let us endeavour to resemble angels now as much as possible! We are taught to pray, * Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven;' and that we may do it, let us not indulge our sensual appetites too much ; but, with St. Paul, 'bring our bodies into subjection, and keep them uuder.'
Observe, VII. The resurrection of the body will perfect the bliss of God's people; they are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection; they shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead.
The heavenly felicity of believers shall commence at the moment of death. No sooner are they * absent from the body,' but they are * present with the Lord;' but their bliss will not be consummated till the morning of the resurrection. In the prospect of this, holy Job says, All the days of my appointed time, (that is, in the grave) will I wait till my change come; (glorious change will it be! for the Lord will change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like his glorious body.) Thou shall call, saith he, and I will answer thee; (for the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God ;) thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands. Job xiv. 14. The human body is the exquisite workmanship of God's hands; and being redeemed by Jesus Christ, as well as the soul, it shall be rescued from the power of the grave. Then the creature, the corporeal part of the Christian, which had long been made subject to vanity, 'shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children o£ God.' This is the 'manifestation of the suns of God,' when they shall appear like themselves, and like the glorious Redeemer. This is also called ' the adoption.' Believers are now the adopted sons of God; but