תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

and sing, ye that dwell in dust; for thy dew is as the dew of herbs; and the earth shall cast out the dead.” 1

Similarly as the body is now refreshed and strengthened by natural sleep, it shall be refreshed and strengthened by the sleep of the grave; and awake to renovated life and vigour on the morning of the resurrection. “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” For the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his own glorious body, according to the mighty working, whereby he is able to subdue all things unto himself.” This, then, will be the first ingredient in the cup of eternal blessedness-freedom from all corporeal suffering.

2. In heaven there is deliverance from trouble arising from wicked spirits and wicked men. Satan and his confederate angels, once denizens of the celestial city, having left their own habitation, shall never be admitted to it again. In the heavenly paradise there shall be no more curse, or thing accursed. Nothing that worketh abomination, or that maketh a lie, shall in any wise enter into it, but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life. The saints shall there have a complete escape from the wrath and malice, the plottings and persecutions of wicked men also. A glorious high throne is the place of their sanctuary. No longer shall their persons be wounded by the sword, or their feelings by the cutting words of their oppressors. The Lord shall hide them in his pavilion ; in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide them, where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest.

1 Isaiah xxvi. 19. 2 Bishop HORSLEY on Psalm xc. 5, which he thus renders-Thou sheddest over them the dew of sleep'-has this remark : The Psalmist here speaks of death and slumber, in which the bodies of the saints are recruited and invigorated for the future , life. And who shall say, that some great change in the finer parts, the stamina of the human frame, is not gradually going on in the interval between death and the resurrection, to which change the dissolution of the grosser parts, by putrefaction, may be a preparatory step ?'

3. There shall be an utter absence of all darkness and affliction of mind : " And there shall be no night there.”i The saved shall no longer be cast down with clouds of ignorance, or with gloom arising from adversity and tribulation. Where sin, the occasion of all ignorance and trouble, shall be abolished, the effect shall cease with the cause. He that is dead hath ceased from sin.” This to the believer is, if not always the most poignant, at least the most constant and habitual grief and trouble. Satan sometimes ceases from tormenting, but indwelling sin, never. It lends an additional sting to every other ill that flesh is heir to. It is that which most dishonours God, and therefore most distresses the godly. He exclaims—“O! wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death ?”i By virtue of his union with Christ, indeed, he is privileged with a partial freedom from it, even here. Sin has not the dominion over him, but he has the dominion over sin. However, as this virulent leprosy is in the walls, the building itself must be taken down, before deliverance from it can be final. At death the believer's victory over sin is absolute. The spirit of the just is then made perfect—"sanctified wholly.”

1 Rev. xxii. 5. 2 •Sin, sin, this body of sin and corruption, embittereth and poison eth all our enjoyments. O that I were where I shall sin no more

! O to be freed from these chains and iron fetters, that we carry about with us : Lord, loose the sad prisoners.'-RUTHERFORD.

The saints in heaven are “ saints in light.” They no longer droop under the hidings of God's countenance: no longer have cause to mourn the death or the absence of beloved friends; no longer are afflicted by any adversity whatever.

- God wipes away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying; neither shall there be any more pain ; for the former things are passed away." 1 And they would not have been without those tears, when God himself shall come and wipe them away.2

Such shall be what are called • the glorious negatives” of the future blessedness. That, however, will not consist in the mere absence of all evil, but also in the positive possession of all good. O! what will be the soul's sensations, on first arriving in the heavenly country: when admitted into the very palace and presence-chamber of the King of Kings! On entering that transcendent residence of glory, and honour, and immortality, the soul shall forthwith tind herself surrounded with scenery of splendour, in comparison with which the sun itself is dark. She 'shall see what the entranced evangelist beheld in his vision, “ that great city, the holy Jerusalem, having the glory of God, and her light like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. And the building of the wall of it was of jasper ; and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. "And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was one pearl : and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. And he showed me a pure river of water of life, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb." ("It proceeds from the midst of the throne,' says an eminent divine, • because the Saviour sits there : and every stream, as it rolls along the golden streets, murmurs sweet praises to the fountain.'1) " In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations." Even admitting that these expressions are figurative, still they warrant the highest possible conceptions of beauty, glory, and magnificence. The believer shall then indeed have come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born, which are written in heaven; and to God, the Judge of all, and to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant.

1 Rev. xxi. 4.

MATTHEW HENRY's Commentary.

1 Dr. WATTS.

And in the society of such beings, every way bright, beautiful, and lovely, what intense, what ineffable satisfaction shall the soul enjoy. If in the society of those who are distinguished by talent and piety on earth, where there is still so much of imperfection, the believer can experience such heartfelt gratification, how much fuller shall he find in intercourse with the spirits of the just made perfect, and with glorious angels themselves. All shall be entirely of one mind; all shall have extended views of the Divine excellences and perfections, and shall love one another with an affection the most fervent, the most sincere, and the most unceasing. Oh! in the anticipation of such an intercourse, how should Christians love one another now !

There, all those great and holy characters, of whom we read in the scriptures, shall be seen eye to eye, and conversed with. We shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven: join, as Mr. Baxter says, with Moses in his song; with David in his Psalms of praise ; and with all the redeemed in the

of the Lamb for ever. We shall see Enoch walking with God; Noah enjoying the end of his singularity; Joseph, of his integrity ; Job, of his pa

song

« הקודםהמשך »