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newly-arrived spirit to His Father, saying, Here am I and one of those whom thou hast given me; after he has fitted on his celestial crown, and put into his hand the golden sceptre and after he hath surveyed the mansions of the blessed, and admired the order, the harmony, the glory of heaven; after he hath cast a glance on the thrones and dominions, and principalities and powers, his eye and his heart will return, and be fixed on Him that liveth and was dead, and is alive for evermore, the man who bore his griefs and carried his sorrows; who was wounded for his transgressions, and bruised for his iniquities; whose face was foul with spitting, and on whose eyelids sat the shadow of death,-the man who said, I will ransom them from death, and redeem them from the power of the grave; and who enabled him, in the last agony, to exclaim, O death, where is thy sting? and, O grave, where is thy victory? He who always made him to triumph, and has now crowned him with glory and honour, will be his chief admiration and delight. He will think of His agony and bloody sweat, of His cross and passion. He will recollect Gethsemane and Calvary, and all the awful deeds there trans acted. He will remember his prayer, thrice repeated, Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me. The wonderful exclamation, My God! my God! why hast thou forsaken me? will recur to his wrapt up-mind. He will look at the print of the nail in His hands, and the scar of the spear in His side. And while all this, in the twinkling of an eye, passes in review in his mind, the wonderful thought must still steal into, nay, absorb the soul,—all this is the purchase of His precious blood, and the produce of His Holy Spirit. For me he groaned, and agonized, and bled, and died. Me He rescued, and prepared, and conducted thither. To Him, and to Him alone, I am indebted for all that I enjoy. Grace, grace unto it. Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed, for ever blessed be He who came to save a sinner such as me. In the conception of the disembodied soul, and the strong, and expressive, and perfect language of heaven, He will pour forth all He feels, while His heart is transported with wonder, ecstacy, and joy unspeakable. As the saint will then see face to face, and know as he is known as his spiritual sight will enable him to see spirits with as much facility as his bodily organs enable him to see bodies-he will behold the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, as far as they can be seen by a saved soul, Three in One, and One in Three. No longer will he believe this mystery because revealed; but because it is exhibited. Here he walks by faith, not by sight. There perfect vision and
fruition supersede faith and hope. Every mystery then will be plain. Then will he see the connecting link between mind and matter, the soul and the body, if it is necessary to his happiness. He will be as well acquainted then with the soul, as he is now with the body. Jesus, however, will be the centre of perfection and blessedness; and although He shall have delivered up the mediatorial kingdom to the Father, and God will be all in all, yet still He will be the peerless One, around whom the members will be placed, and whose praise they will, with the full exertion of all their enlarged powers, for ever celebrate.
Permit me here to quote an anecdote from an ancient historian, familiar, perhaps, to all of you; but pertinent to my present purpose:-Xenophon informs us, that Cyrus, king of Persia, whose birth was predicted by the prophet Isaiah (xliv. 24-28; xlv. 1-13) at least one hundred years ere it took place,-had taken captive the young prince of Armenia, together with his beautiful and blooming princess, whom he had lately married, and of whom he was passionately foud. When they, along with other prisoners, were brought before the tribunal, Cyrus asked the prince, what he would give to be reinstated in his kingdom? He answered, with an air of indifference, That as for his crown and his own liberty, he valued them at a very low rate; but if Cyrus would restore his beloved princess to her native dignity and hereditary possessions, he should infinitely rejoice; and would pay, (this he uttered with tenderness and ardour.) would willingly pay his life for the purchase. When all the prisoners were dismissed with freedom, it is impossible to express how much they were charmed with their royal benefactor. Some celebrated his martial abilities; some applauded his social virtues; all were prodigal of their praise, and lavish in grateful acknowledgments. And you, said the prince, addressing himself to his queen, what think you of Cyrus? I did not observe him, said the princess. Not observe him. Upon what, then, was your attention fixed? Upon that dear and generous man who declared, that he would purchase my liberty at the expense of his own life.
Who does not admire the mutual affection of those highborn heathen personages? Who does not say they seem not to have been far from the kingdom of God? Who does not wish, that every Christian husband and wife loved each other with equal affection? Who would not have felt hurt, if the mind and the eye of the princess had been fixed, nay, rivetted on any other person, or had listened to any other words, but those of her most affectionate husband? What was there in the per
the retinue of Cyrus, or of the poor captives who stood before him in awful suspense, to take up her attention, when her husband would have purchased her liberty at such a costly price. But if the husband of her youth was justly calculated to engage her regard when he loved her so dearly, what is due to our Maker, who is our husband, and who has betrothed us unto Himself in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies, and in faithfulness, and made us to know, love, and enjoy Him? O how unequal the match, for the great Creator to marry the creature; and that creature His vile, unjust, and ungrateful enemy! Yet He has actually died to reinstate us in our former possessions. While we were yet sinners, yea, enemies to Him in our minds, and by wicked works, He died for us. Scarcely for a righteous man will one die, peradventure, for a good man some would even dare to die. But God hath commended His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Justly, then, may the redeemed fix their eyes upon Him in heaven. Unworthy would that soul be to enter that happy place, who would not bestow on Him his chief regard. All heaven would be moved with indignation, if it could enter these blest abodes, if any soul were to forget Jesus, and all that He has done for him. If the captives in Babylon said, If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its cunning; if I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chiefest joy. In language similar, but infinitely stronger, will the redeemed soul speak of its Redeemer. O how it will survey the wonderful person of God and man, united in one person for ever! O how it will recollect all His love, and all His woe! Upon Him, we may almost say, and Him only, will its spiritual eyes be for ever fixed. Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of David, and His achievements, will be the burden of its song. We cannot describe it, we cannot conceive of it, till we go there, and our own eyes, and ears, and hearts be fixed on Him. Then we shall see the glory of His person, and taste the unsearchable riches of His grace. But let us maintain a godly fear upon our minds, lest any of us come short of that rest. Let us see to it, that we be in Christ now by believing, and have Him formed in us the hope of glory. Having been baptized into Christ, let us be sure we have put on Christ. Let us watch and pray, read and meditate, day and night. Let us give all diligence to make our calling and election sure. Let us be daily working out our salvation with fear and trembling, knowing, and believing, and feeling, that it is God alone who can
work in us both to will and do of His good pleasure. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. Lo! I have put you in mind Do not forget, or neglect, or slight, our message, else your blood must be on your own heads.
Fourthly, The last, though not the least, of all the springs of their pleasure and joy, will be, that while eternity endures, their transports will last. On earth, pain succeeded pleasure, and fear, and anxiety, and danger, succeeded hope, and joy, and safety. The believer might be in the mount this instant; but the next, he must descend into the valley. He might to-day be saying, My mountain standeth strong, I shall not be moved; to-morrow, he might be obliged to say, The Lord bath forsaken me, and my God hath forgotten me, (Psal. lxxvii. 7-9 ; Isa. xlix. 14.) There is no country (for there must be a course for the overflowing of waters) uniformly a dead level, so that the traveller shall never have to climb an ascent; and there never has been a Christian who has gone to heaven without scaling precipices, and descending to the lowest depths. All the waves and billows of affliction, depression, and dereliction, have gone over him. The believer at one time may be able to say, Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me. But at another, not far distant, his eye may be foul with weeping, and the terrors of death may set themselves in array against him. Do not imagine that we believe, or would attempt to teach, that the purposes of God's heart are broken off; that He changeth His covenant, or casteth off His people. No. Whom the Lord loveth, He loveth to the end. His people shall not perish, for He keepeth the feet of His saints; but they forget, or wax confident, or go astray, like lost sheep; and therefore He trieth them as gold is tried. The child may imagine his parent has changed or abated in his affection, and even a mother may forget her sucking child, and may be hardened against her children as if they were not hers; but Jehovah cannot change,-He will not repent. We are sometimes astonished at the frosts, and thaws, and rains, and snows, and winds, and hurricanes of winter, and the rains, mists, and drought of summer; but if we would suspend our frail judgment for a little, we would behold the year crowned with His goodness. It was strange to lead Israel through the Red Sea, and let their enemies be at their heels; so that they had no time to survey the waters standing as an heap, or collect the minerals, or vegetables, or animals left on its dried bosom. It was passing strange to lead them forty years in the wilderness, and make them cross Jordan when he overflowed all his
banks; or made them fight and conquer the inhabitants of the Promised Land. But this was the Lord's doing; and the people were still His darling delight; and they saw and recorded, that not one word had failed of all that He had promised. It was the best way possible. It convinced them, that even Canaan was not their rest; that this world was not their portion; and that there was a Jerusalem above,—a rest remaining for the people of God. It shewed them, that nothing was stable or lasting in this world; and that if they should set their hearts upon it, it would not satisfy nor endure. These things are given us for ensamples, and for our learning, upon whom the ends of the world are come. God's procedure is still uniform. His ways are equal. His people still say, O that it were with me as in months past! As there is no sky that is never overcast, and no flower that perpetually blows, so there is no Christian in any land, or of any age, whose joy is perpetually lasting upon earth. To-day he goes to God's altar with exceeding joy to-morrow, he says, Why art thou cast down, O my soul why art thou disquieted in me? When the sun shall never be obscured-when the air shall never be agitated-when the ocean shall never be ruffled-when the volcano shall never disem bogue-when the earthquake 'shall never shake the earth-when there shall be no seducing world
-when there shall be no tempting adversary-when there shall be no deceitful evil heart of unbelief,-then, and then only, shall the believer's countenance always wear the smile of pleasure, and his tongue always utter the accents of joy. But, alas! that time shall never come till the heavens be rolled together as a scroll, and the earth, and the works which are thereon, be burnt up. But were the believer perfectly, consummately happy in life, still he hath to walk through the dark and dreary valley of the shadow of death. The purple stream that flowed unceasing, whether sleeping or waking, and that warmed, and nourished, and invigorated the whole system, is, notwithstanding every nourishment, and every stimulus, to become slower and slower, until it gradually be comes dull, and slow, and motionless, retires from the farthest extremity, and flows back to the inmost fountain. The lungs that played incessantly by the mere admission of the air, are to become unmoved by the strongest blast of wind. As indications of this awful change, the eye that sparkled with joy, and dimmed with grief, is to become glazed, and fixed, and to be eternally sealed by the cold hand of death-the cold sweat of death is to stand on the altered countenance-the tongue, which no man can tame, is to falter and vibrate, and become