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almost supernatural, brightness of the eye, as if light from another world already shone through it; that noble and touching disinterestedness of the parting spirit, which utters no complaint, which breathes no sigh, which speaks no word of fear or apprehension to wound its friend, which is calm, and cheerful, and natural, and self-sustained, amidst daily declining strength, and the sure approach to death; and then, at length, when concealment is no longer possible, that last, firm, triumphant, consoling discourse, and that last look of all mortal tenderness, and immortal trust," - 0, who would ever maintain that such unfading treasures are dearly purchased by any deprivation we could experience during our little threescore years and ten ?
We cannot help thinking we have already accomplished what we proposed at the commencement of our discourse; but our subject is not yet exhausted, - one principal consideration remains to be disclosed. Sickness is the method appointed by our Almighty Father for transferring us from
these temporal regions, which we now inhabit, to those eternal regions at His right hand; or, as the learned and pious Whiston hath said, it is the bridge, which carries the good man over from time to eternity, from sorrow to joy, from care and fear to his Father's house, from earth to heaven.” How can our feeble pen adequately describe what “God hath prepared for them that love Him?” We can only employ dim images
of a glory and a happiness, which "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, and which have never [fully] entered into the heart of man.” Even the sacred writers themselves seem to have been at a loss for a sufficient phrase, and therefore adopt every thing that is blessed and lasting, as a figurative representation of the spiritual state; it was Paradise, with which we connect fond ideas of beauty, innocence and enjoyment; it was the bright firmament above our heads, whither we are wont to look, when we lift up our hands in prayer; it was termed heavenly Jerusalem, and eternal inheritance, and the “just made perfect” were
said "to sit with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob;" nay, more than all, “I heard a voice out of heaven, (writes the author of the apocalyptic vision) saying, 'God will dwell with us, and we shall be His people : God Himself will be with us, and be our God.'»
What! is sickness the divinelyappointed means of conveying us hence to such an abode, and yet, when our summons cometh, we hold back and cry, “Not yet, spare us a little longer ?"
It will be well for us not to pass too hastily over the Christian's conception of heaven. What does it matter that we know neither in what part of the Universe it is situated, nor with what bodies we shall be clothed? What are all such things compared with the one vital truth, that we shall be in the presence of our God, and behold His more immediate glory, and enter into a closer and holier communion with Him, than we can now conceive? Can we possibly wish more for our last breath, than that it should enable us, though in broken accents, to utter, “I go to my Father, I
shall rest in my Father's bosom, I am henceforth to dwell with my Father for evermore?” Can we possibly need more information, than that we shall have God's love and confidence, become His messengers, assist in carrying out His great scheme of universal redemption, and hold with Him a spiritual intercourse, that shall do more than anything else can, to raise us in the scale of being, to assimilate us to the Infinite? - Not only, however, will our sickness introduce us to the more immediate presence of God, but it will also introduce us to that of his best-beloved Son, the once crucified, but now exalted Jesus.” We shall see him as he is, face to face. He will take us by the hand, and call us his breth
Notwithstanding all we have read of him, in those faithful Gospel narratives, he is now a stranger compared with what he will become; and, much as he has already done for our souls, how much more will he do when he is constantly with us, when we are enabled to drink so much more deeply of his godlike spirit, when,
with minds enlarged and hearts improved, we become more alive to his unrivalled greatness, and when, having a common cause, we all work together to carry out the stupendous plans of everlasting mercy! -But another joy awaits us still. There also shall we meet apostles, martyrs, philanthropists, philosophers — all, who by being faithful unto death, have won the crown of life, and with them shall we participate in the new light continually bursting forth, and the fresh fields of usefulness and improvement ever unfolding themselves. Happy community! and such the society which we are to join when we enter the kingdom of God, when sickness has released us from our fetters of flesh! Nor even yet have we described all the attractions of that bright, celestial land. As we mingle with the multitude, which no man can number, we look (to use human language) with eager eyes for familiar faces, we listen with anxious ears for well-remembered tones, as all that is wanting to fill our cup of bliss ;and there they are; there is the beloved