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“ to perfection !” The minds of God's people, therefore, may be, for ought we know at present to the contrary, eternally enlarging, without the possibility of knowing all that is to be known. Our knowledge, after all, must be limited, but God's knowledge is infinite and unbounded. This perpetual improvement of the mind, this constant progress in knowledge, as it relates to the excellences of God, and his wonderful works, will very much contribute to the happiness of the redeemed in glory. Well might Paul say, “ To be with Christ is far better.” It is indeed, best of all. To throw ourselves at his feet, to enjoy his smiles, and his presence, to crown him Lord of all, is the perfection of happiness.
“ The more his glories strike mine eyes,
The humbler I shall lie;
O happy world! O blessed society of heaven! When you reflect on what the Lord Jesus has done for you, well may you spend an eternity in advancing his honours, in exploring the wonders of his love, who has loved you from all eternity, and brought you in consequence of his love, “ into his presence, where there is fulness of joy, and to his right hand, where there are pleasures for evermore!"
The reader will not be displeased if 1 here introduce a short extract from Saurin's Sermons, on the felicity of heaven. One of the most beautiful ideas that the scripture gives us of the glory of heaven is, that it shall consist in the sight and enjoyment of the Deity in the person of Jesus Christ.“ Grand idea," says this fine writer, " of heavenly felicity, my bre
thren! glorified believers shall see with their eyes the glorious body of Jesus Christ. What joy to contemplate this object! What delight, if I may speak so, when the rays of the Deity, always too bright and confounding for mortal eyes to behold, shall be softened to our sight in the person of Jesus Christ ! What transporting joy, to see the greatest miracle that was ever included in the plans of the wisdom of God! What felicity to behold in the body of Jesus Christ, a right of approaching with confidence to a familiarity with God! We know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”
In fine, the more soul prosperity we have here, the more holy we are; and the nearer we live to God, the more glory we shall probably be capable of, and, through the infinite grace of God, be entitled to enjoy, in heaven ; and thus perhaps, “one star will differ from another star in glory.” “Wherefore, let us gird up the loins of our mind, be sober, and hope unto the end, for the grace that is to be brought unto us at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
6 What a man soweth, that shall be also reap "
The nature and evidences of Soul Prosperity.
SOMETHING has already been said on regeneration and sanctification. It may, nevertheless, be proper to observe, that till a change of heart takes place, there can be no soul prosperity. This change of heart is effected by the Holy Spirit, and is always influential, as it invariably leads to a change of life and conduct. Let the reader then examine himself upon this point, lest he should be deceived, and so conclude that he is a christian, when he has "neither part nor lot in this matter."
Satan is ever ready to put the cheat on the souls of men. Often, I fear, does he insinuate into their minds, that because their sentiments are changed, it follows, as a matter of course, that their state is also changed. Many in the present day, split on this fatal rock. It is necessary indeed, that we should embrace the truth, but it must never be “ held in unrighteousness.” Some are wise in their own eyes, and 6 walk with a stiff neck." lofty,” they become censorious and dogmatical, but where this is the case, shipwreck is often made of faith, and of a good conscience. Since, then, men may be orthodox without being truly converted to God, the greatest care should be taken in judging of our state, lest we should mistake an ability to talk
6 Their eyes are on religious subjects, for that soul prosperity, without which there can be no real happiness,
“ True religion's more than notion,
.“ It is a good thing for the heart to be established with grace." Gaius, of whom we read in the 3d of John, is said to have a walked in the truth." He understood, believed, and embraced the truth of the gospel. His very heart and soul were deeply impressed with it. “The truth was in him," approved of in his judgment, retained in his memory, embraced in his affections, and adorned in his life, by an humble, amiable, and holy conversation. He walked in the truth, and his soul was said to prosper. He was under the powerful and sweetly constraining influence of truth. Many " walk according to the course of this world,” and so as to grieve the minds of good men. Thus Paul says, "For many walk of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ." Many depend on their self-righteousness, and despise the truth, but real christians walk in the truth, and as becomes the gospel of Christ. By faith the Redeemer dwells in their hearts, they love him and embrace his gospel as a perfect whole, and seek daily to be more and more conformed to his image.
Every christian, whose soul is in a prosperous state, seeks after, and enjoys some communion with God; and is careful to depart from iniquity." But, alas ! how many are there, who, on the whole, may be christians, and yet all.is languid within them, like the parched ground in the drought of summer. It
may be, they retire for private prayer, conform to family religion, attend public ordinances, read the scriptures, and sometimes converse a little on divine subjects; but their tempers and their passions are unsubdued, and their conversation is often vain and light. When we see such persons, and observe their manner; when we notice their excessive levity, sometimes; and at other times, their paroxysmis of rage and anger, one is ready to say, “ Can these persons be christians ?” The people of God, in their intercourse with others, whether they have to rule or to obey, should be very watchful over their tempers and behaviour, lest they should cause the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme. Let us not be satisfied with just as much religion as will carry us to heaven; or rest contented with what we have already attained. We are planted in a good land; why should we remain as shrubs, that are planted on some barren uncongenial spot, where their growth is stunted, and life can hardly be maintained ? “ They that be planted in the house of the Lord, shall flourish in the courts of our God.”
The man whose soul prospers, is born into a new world. His taste is renewed, and he savors of the things of the Spirit: his soul is drawn towards God as the needle to the pole. He loathes himself, and mourns. in secret over his sins and imperfections, while his soul is humbled before that God whom he loves and adores. He can say, “ Whom have I in heaven but thee? an there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee." There is a holy transaction between God and his soul. “Enoch walked with God.” If a good man, at any time, feels dead and