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Eternity had dawned upon them. The love of God had opened paradise in their souls. Christ was their confidence in life, and at the hour of death. They now can trust him in the day of judgment; and wait in calm repose, and deep tranquillity of soul, to hear his final benediction“Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the
kingdom prepared for you from the foundation “of the world."
Psalm, xvi. 11.
IN THY PRESENCE IS FULNESS OF JOY; AT THY RIGHT HAND
ARE PLEASURES FOR EVERMORE.
It has been observed, that our truest notions of heaven are derived from a consideration, rather of what it is not, than of what it is; rather of the evils it is free from, than of the good which is present there. How glorious a liberty will it be, for instance, to attain that part of the adoption of God's children, which St. Paul terms the redemption of our body! What a large proportion of mankind are doomed by their corporeal necessities to toilsome and incessant drudgery; rising up early, late taking rest, and eating the bread of carefulness, and, after all, pinched with want, depressed by poverty, without comforts for their children around them, toiling when their strength is almost gone, when their soul iş fainting in them! Again, time would fail us to recount the long catalogue of sharp distempers and pains which beset this mortal body; the wearisome nights that heavy sickness brings; the humiliating and unsightly ailments which render us a terror to ourselves; the tortures which even remedies occasion, and which make men of nervous and sensitive constitutions, sometimes dread the surgeon's knife more than death itself. Will it then be a small deliverance to be out of the reach of these? To find ourselves clothed with bodies pure, spiritual, incorruptible, subject to no languor, no heaviness, no pain ? To be where there is no pining sickness, no withering old age ? Where no poor shall cry for bread, where they shall neither thirst or hunger more ?
Neither in heaven will there be any more dying. Here we live in the very region of death. The whole creation, irrational as well as rational, groaneth and travaileth in pain together, under the iron sceptre of this king of terrors. And surely, if life in every other respect yielded the purest happiness, it would be some abatement of it, to see the inferior animals all around, silently submissive to that curse which our sins have brought down upon them. Nor is it possible to survey the cattle upon a thousand hills, the sheep that ornament our fields, innocent, defenceless, and unsuspecting, without some feeling for that allotment, by which they will all be summoned from their pleasant pastures, to die by the hand of slaughter. Into this mysterious arrangement I do not presume to enter fully ; nor would I take
upon me, with a late truly excellent minister of the gospel, to lay down as a positive doctrine, (cheering as the prospect may be) that these animals will rise again to a new and blessed life. But this I will say, because the Scripture says it, that the meanest of such creatures is the care of heaven; that God feedeth the young ravens that call upon him; that not even a sparrow falleth to the ground without our Heavenly Father. In these hands we should be satisfied to leave them; assured that they will be considerately and mercifully dealt with. One thing, however, is clear, that while they are the objects of such care, it is a more serious thing than some imagine to trifle with their pains; to make their miseries our sport, or to put them to one moment's needless suffering. These sentiments, I am well aware, will pass
for unmanly, childish weakness : but alas ! do we consider how much of that high mettle, which we call manliness, must come down? Do we remember that we must become as little children, if we would enter into the kingdom of heaven? In that world, then, of angelic innocence, of divine simplicity, tenderness, and love, where he, who was himself once led as a lamb to the slaughter, sitteth upon the throne-it