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we know of heaven renders it certain, that our understanding will be all light, our heart all love, and our conscience all purity and impartiality. What less can be meant, by being" without spot before the throne of God and the Lamb ?" Yea, may not even more be included in being "holy as God is holy?" We are, then, quite prepared to maintain that, if we should reach the inheritance of the saints in light, we are sure never to err in judgment, or warp in conscience, "whilst immortality endures." Are we, however, equally prepared to approve of all the natural and inevitable consequences of this perfection? An unerring judgment and an impartial conscience, exercised through eternity in the presence of God, and upon all things past, present, and expected, involve solemn as well as pleasing consequences. Not, of course, that there can ever be any peril from the exercise; or any pain even, in the ordinary sense of pain: for it is as sure that there will be no suffering in heaven, as that there will be "no night there." We do not, however, imagine, from this pleasing fact, that we shall forget our earthly history, or think of it without any corresponding emotion. We have no idea, nor any wish, that a period may come in heaven, when we could look back upon our life here, without shame or humility. We see—we feel, how the eternal presence of the Lamb slain, and the eternal chorus of the New Song, will bring and keep eternally before us what we have been. We both understand and approve the way, in which this will enhance all the enjoyments of heaven. Accordingly, were any one to tell us, that such recollections implied some pain; and were he then to defy us to show how shame and self-abasement could be combined with perfect happiness; we might, indeed, be unable to answer him, but we should not hesitate to say," Well, be that as it may, I am quite content to feel for ever ashamed of my old sins, and to be for ever as humble as when I first enter heaven. Nothing would be bliss to me, that would make me forget at all, how much I owe to the free grace of God, and the precious blood of Chris.
Thus far we can readily and cheerfully go, in anticipating the eternal exercise of both our judgment and conscience, when they review what we call our past sins and imperfections. We have no wish to think less humbly of them than we do now, and no objection to any humility which heavenly recollections of them may awaken. The more, the better. Well, abide by this conclusion; and let it prevent us from multiplying sins we can never forget, and never remember without shame.
Sin will not, however, be the only thing which heaven will place in a true light before our conscience. The good, as well as the evil, we have done on earth will be reviewed by conscience. This is inevitable. For, even if the presence of God and the Lamb did not compel us to rejudge our obedience to their authority, and our zeal for their glory, the results of our doings and endeavours here, will be so visible there, that it will be impossible to overlook them. We shall just see as clearly the fruit of what we ourselves have done and given to promote the glory of God, as the fruit of what Apostles or martyrs did and endured. Their converts will, of course, far outnumber the seals of our ministers, and the souls we have helped to win. The contrast will be immense! Yes; and just because it will be so, it will strike us, and compel us to ask, why we did no more to win souls whilst we were here? And when this question is forced upon us there, we shall deal honestly with it. It cannot be mystified or evaded in heaven. All reasons for doing or giving little to win souls now, will go there just for what they are worth, and no more. Our perfect judgment and impartial conscience will do them ample justice. Reasons for not trying to be useful to the souls of others, do not always meet with this here, but they are sure to find it there. The light of eternity and the perfection of conscience will, from the first and for ever, justify all the fair claims which our family or business had upon us in this world. Heaven will unsettle no principle of real prudence or of strict honesty.
It will place the claims of this world in their true light, and bring out all the worth of souls; but even when both are blazing before us, we shall never wish that we had neglected every thing for religion. No, indeed: we shall see more clearly then than we do now, that industry, economy, and attention to home, are equally good and wise in their own place. Heaven will develop a wonderful scene, when their influence upon the success of the gospel, is brought out in all its bearings.
This, however, is only one side of the matter. The discrimination and integrity of conscience, which will thus sustain all valid reasons for the time and the money we spend on ourselves, will, as unerringly and honourably, disclaim all false pretences, and unmask all plausible excuses. What we could have done and given for the glory of God, will not be a question hushed up or hurried over as it is now. It will be met then in all its width and windings. Indeed, were there any inclination to evade it, evasion would be impossible; because we shall have for ever before us, in the fruits of our labour of love, the precise amount of that labour. We shall see all the connexion that our example, our prayers, our counsel, our influence, had with the conversion of all the converted from our neighbourhood. We shall hear from every one we did any good to, the history of that good. All whom we brought under the Gospel, are visited in their sickness, or benefited in any way, will find us out in heaven, and be our friends for ever. And, what is more to the point-the "Well done" of the Judge will register in our conscience, the precise amount of what we did or tried in His service. And with a conscience thus prepared and placed, we shall eternally judge of our present doings and givings.
How do we like this prospect? What do we think now of the perfection of mind and conscience, we anticipate in heaven? Would we rather be without so much of it, than have to rejudge the past in this way? We cannot
be without it! Oblivion of the past too is an impossibility. We never can forget, or forgive ourselves, for sin, sloth, worldliness, or negligence of the souls of others. God's acquittal will only, can only, deepen our own selfcondemnation. What then are we doing for the glory of God, that will bear thinking of in heaven and through eternity? Say not in answer to this question-“ that nothing we can do will bear that." God is not so hard to please, when there is an honest desire to please him, as some imagine. Accordingly, it is not great things only which are recorded and rewarded at the " great white throne." A visit to the sick, a robe to the naked, a meal to the hungry, even a cup of cold water for Christ's sake, will be as openly acknowledged as the most princely bequests or the most heroic martyrdom. Thus God puts it as much in the power of those who have but little time or money to spare, as of those who have most, to please Him, and to lay up treasure in heaven.
If you have never duly weighed this fact, you have a very inadequate idea of the immense provision made by God, in order that all his people may be able to acquire and maintain a good conscience: and that thus they may all be found "in peace at his coming," and all enter into the joy of their Lord. O, this prize of our high calling in Christ Jesus, is not a crown which can only be “ run for" upon the fields of missions and martyrdom, or only won by the possessors of wealth and talents. The widow's mites won it, when the Pharisee's munificence lost it. It is principle, and the single-hearted desire of pleasing Him, that God looks on with complacency. Let us, therefore, not be duped nor diverted, by the hollow plausibilities of heartless men. It may suit their purpose to get up and put forward a meek picture of our poor abilities, and our limited influence, and little time. The "unprofitable" servants have paraded this caricature in the church, until many well-disposed servants are actually afraid to open their lips for God, and really despair of being of any use to the church
or the world. Our gifts and graces are, indeed, poor. We do not require to be told this, by slothful servants. We feel it, and confess it. What then? We have only to open our eyes, in order to see that great gifts, and even pretensions to great grace, may stand very idle in the vineyard. It is not, in general, those who have most time or talent that do most. "The truth" would have had but few helpers in its progress through the lanes and alleys of our world, if none but highly-gifted men could help forward its triumphs. God knew this, and threw open his work to all his people and that, not by command or commendation merely, but also with ample means for doing the work well, and to His satisfaction.
Consider this fact. What if you have only an hour in a week, which you could devote to doing good in your neighbourhood? In that one hour you could visit a sick neighbour, or throw yourself in the way of some careless neighbour, to whom you might speak a word in season; and thus, at the end of the year, you would have left fifty-two testimonies for God in that circle where God has placed you, and by the claims of which he will judge you. Now, let conscience say, in prospect of that judgment, could you redeem an hour for this purpose? Do not say, no, until you have duly considered how that negative will look in the light of eternity, and how it would sound in heaven. It is sure to recur to your immortal memory there, and to be sifted to the bottom by your perfect conscience. Unless, therefore, you are quite sure that they will confirm the negative, when they decide in the presence of all the saved, and with the knowledge of all the lost, do not utter or whisper it now. But, perhaps, your difficulty is not so much from the time, as from the subject. You suspect that you would hardly know how to introduce the subject of religion, or what to say. You may think, judging from the difficulty you feel when we try to speak of it at home, that you would be still more embarrassed and at a loss, when you came to speak with others. This is, however, an un