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thirteenth chapter of his first epistle to the Corinthians. He is advocating, at the commencement of his address, the vast superiority of charity (or love) over the high miraculous gifts which appertained to early times. "Whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child"-under the figure of childhood affording us a powerful and graphic representation of the present state of being "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man"-the maturity of manhood being the appropriate representation of heaven-" when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly." I would observe on this passage, that what is here translated by the term " glass" was not, in apostolic times, a substance like that which forms the composition of the windows of our habitations, and which, as you are aware, scarcely consti tutes any obstruction whatever to the entrance of light, or the observance of objects but that it was composed generally of a thin stone which becomes by attenuation partially transparent-or of horn; which although admitting some light, and granting some vision, yet necessarily involved much imperfection and obscurity. Keeping this in view, you will be able to understand more thoroughly the nature of the apostolical statement. For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face; now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known."
If, my brethren, it were needful to add any thing to such a beautiful statement as this, we might remind you of those representations of heaven in which it is exhibited as a state where there is no night, and where there shine everlasting light and glory. These metaphors, in their signification, are intended to express the meridian and perfection of knowledge-knowledge being as the light and illumination of the soul. But thus it is, my brethren, when we anticipate futurity, as the people of Christ we must anticipate futurity; where the film will be removed, and where the shadows will be chased away: just like the mists of the morning which you have sometimes seen lying heavily and murkily on the surface of the earth, but which have been dispersed by the advancing power of the sun-beam, and leaving the landscape unfolded in all the tints of its loveliness, fertility, and beauty. And, my brethren, when the sun of heaven shall shine on us, then the secrets of our own being, and of all creation around us, will be developed in all their wonders. Then shall we know God, as far as God, the Infinite and Eternal, can be known to creatures mortal and finite. Then the whole of his providential dispensations and government will be explained: we shall be able to track the way which has been in the sea, and the footsteps which have been in the deep waters, and behold the grand combination of justice, and wisdom, and goodness. Then the treasures of eternal grace will be exhibited before us: every principle will be harmonized; every difficulty will be unravelled; we shall be able to comprehend with all saints the height, and breadth, and depth, and length, and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, being ourselves filled with all the fulness of God. Such is the nature of the world we anticipate when mortality shall be swallowed up of life, and where we are to reside unchangeably and for ever.
It will be observed again, secondly, that the knowledge, the most expanded knowledge, of the future state is identified with the highest interests of our being. Those of us who have been in any measure associated in the present state with the acquisition of worldly science, have, doubtless, universally made the discovery, that there is much of difficulty in the study, and oftentimes much of pain in the acquisition, and in its results. Nor need I, in this congregation, remind you, that in many departments of human study there is much which directly tends on the one hand to pollute, and on the other to distress. Who, my brethren, that has engaged in those modes of operation and intellectual acquisition exhibited to us in the present state, has not felt for himself the justness of the mournful narrative given by the wisest of men, as the result of the studies and the investigations in which he had been engaged? Said Soloafter the time of his perfected experience, "I, the Preacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail"— the difficulty in the acquisition of wisdom-" hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith. I have seen all the works which are done under the sun and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit. That which is crooked cannot be made straight"-by science: "and that which is wanting cannot be numbered"-by science. "I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge. And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit. For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow." Ask the philosopher over his midnight lamp: ask the statesman amid the intricacies of his cabinet: ask the man of observation amid the buffettings and tumults of the world: and one result, in fidelity, will be expressed-" Vanity of vanities! all is vanity and vexation of spirit!"
Now against the polluting and the distressing nature of human study and acquisition, it must be observed, that the knowledge of heaven is connected with our holiness, and is connected with our happiness.
Observe, my brethren, that the knowledge of the celestial state is associated with our holiness. You are well aware, that the moral constitution of man is of such a nature as that it is, uniformly and to a great extent, influenced by the nature of the intellectual studies in which he is engaged, and the truths with which he is conversant. Many examples of this may be acquired from the ordinary and unconverted states of life. Appealing to Christianity, it is important for us to remark, that all the objects of Christian knowledge which, in the present life, are placed before the servants of God for their study and contemplation, are identified in the divine arrangement with the purity and the advancement of holiness in the soul. There is a very beautiful prayer presented by the apostle of the Gentiles for the believing Colossians, in which their advance in progressive holiness and preparation for heaven is recorded. He says, "for this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you"-(now mark the interchange of the terms)" and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strength
ened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness; giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light." My brethren, if there be such a connexion between Christian knowledge and holiness in the present world, the argument from analogy must be conclusive: we must expect that the knowledge of heaven will be also connected with the purity and the holiness of heaven. We do not mean to assert, that the knowledge of heaven is to be considered as the efficient cause of purity and of holiness: but we do assert, that it will be its constant and inseparable concomitant, and the instrument in the hand of God for preserving that immaculate purity by which the glorified saints are to be distinguished. Possessing, my brethren, such knowledge from such a source, and for such causes, it is impossible for the inhabitants of heaven to fall. They must, in consequence of their connexion with the truths which are presented to them, remain without one spot of sin to hide the beauty of their holiness: they must remain basking directly in the light of that beatific vision which refuses to shine for a moment on the impure and the unholy: they must remain exhibiting, as far as finite beings can exhibit, the image and the likeness of the Eternal Jehovah: they must remain qualified by their own perfections to cast their crowns before the throne of Him who sitteth upon the throne; paying homage to his holiness, as if it absorbed and concentrated in itself every other perfection and attribute of his nature; and uniting with the spirits who veil their faces with their wings, while there bursteth forth the cry, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and which is, and which is to come!"
But then, my brethren, you observe, that the knowledge of the celestial state is also associated with our happiness. If there be such a connexion existing as that we have stated between knowledge and holiness, it must then also follow, that there is a connexion between knowledge and happiness, as holiness is inseparable from happiness. But we go beyond this. What must be the result of those contemplations which the heavenly world fully and absolutely brings to our view? Take, for example, what the saints who are glorified are to contemplate within the system of providence. They are to see it in its correspondence, through the course of successive ages, with the destinies of empires, continents, and kingdoms: they are to see it as connected with all the minute and delicate affairs of private and individual life; watching it from the time when it rocked them in the cradle to the time when it committed them to the dust; ascertaining why here they were the subjects of elevation, there of depression; here of friendship, there of bereavement; here of sorrow, there of joy; and enabling them to understand, distinctly and beautifully, that all things all the alternations and elevations of providence, of blessings and bereavements, of sorrow and of joy-were another, and another, and another step of that mysterious process by which they were urged still forward towards the heaven which they had obtained. Then will be exhibited, in full and palpable perfection, the fact which we are now called upon to believe (yet, ah, with how much difficulty!) that "all things work together for good to them that love God, and are the called according to his purpose." And who can contemplate what the saints of God are to accrue of knowledge in the sphere of providence, without perceiving that here is a source of perennial gratitude, extacy, and bliss?
Again, we must observe what they are to acquire in the yet mightier, yet more wonderful, and yet more attractive sphere of redemption. They shall commune with the distant councils of eternity, and be permitted to unlock and to read the secret purposes of the divine decrees. They shall be enabled to observe how, from the introduction of moral evil into the world, which thereby became defiled, polluted, and lost, was to arise the wonderful system of recovery, and of almost universal mercy. They shall trace the history of that mercy through the preliminary government of four thousand years, exhibited in the shadows and types, in the blood of victims, and in the inspired predictions of prophets and seers. They shall come to Bethlehem, and there understand how and why it was, that He who thought it not robbery to be equal with God was laid thus as a little babe in the manger, because there was no room for him in the inn. They shall go forward, and understand how and why it was, that while the foxes had holes, and the birds of the air had nests, he had not where to lay his head. They shall go to Gethsemane, and shall understand how and why it was, that there an angel came from heaven to strengthen him, while his sweat became as great drops of blood falling to the ground They shall go to Calvary, and shall understand how and why it was, that a mysterious darkness, from the sixth to the ninth hour, wrapped in its mysterious shadow the nations of the earth; while from the midst of that darkness, and as the hour terminated, at the magic time the voice issued, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" and again in a louder tone," It is finished," when he gave up the ghost. They shall go to the sepulchre, and understand how and why it was, that he came forth on the morning of the third day, bursting the cerements of the grave, and standing the conqueror of death and him that had the power of it. They shall go to Olivet, and understand how and why it was, that he sprung from the confines of this sublunary sphere, and in the clouds of heaven went upward to his Father and to our Father, to his God and to our God: and gazing then at the right hand of the majesty on high, shall understand how and why it was, that he stood not merely as a King, but as a Priest, interceding in all the wrestling and fervency of mediatorial energy for the final salvation of his church. Brethren! think you not, that to understand the mystery of godliness, that God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen of angels, preached to the Gentiles, believed on in the world, and received up into glory; think you not, that to have every principle harmonized, and every difficulty unravelled-to have the cabinet of mercy unlocked in its most secret recesses, and to behold wonder after wonder of infinite and everlasting love, shall not be a source of perennial extacy and bliss? O! it is this, it is this, that causes every eye to glisten, and every heart to beat with rapture! It is this that strings every harp, that harmonizes every song, that swells every chorus, that perpetuates every extacy, and that perfects every joy! It is this, it is this, which causes the universal acclaim of heaven's rapture to ring throughout all the mighty and hallowed inspirations of its temple, from all its numberless and yet innumerable regions-" Worthy, worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.' Thus, my brethren, the illumination of heaven gives, beyond the other developments of the wonders of redemption, fulness of joy and pleasures that are for evermore. The tree of knowledge hides no serpent within the shadow of its foliage, and instils no death in the taste of its
fruit. It grows in a paradise open to the intrusion of no spoiler; and it is destined to be the scene of no fall. It is a tree of life, as well as a tree of knowledge. It is fanned by the breezes that are breathed from the scene of the beatific vision; it is cherished by the river that rolls its soft, pellucid, and crystal stream from the throne of God, and of the Lamb: and there is not a leaf that clothes it, there is not a flower that adorns it, there is not a cluster that enriches it, but what is all ambrosial with rapture that cannot be decaying. or cloying, or dull.
My brethren, you must pardon me-if indeed I require pardon-that the high contemplations of heaven and of heavenly illumination, should have carried me somewhat beyond, perhaps, the bounds of ordinary excitement and ordinary feeling. But anxious to have my spirit upward, as in the very midst of that world of which I have been speaking, I am anxious, too, that your spirits should obtain the elevation of mine. And if there has been one who has been cleaving to the earth, I would have him to hear a voice as speaking from that heaven to-night, saying to him, "Come up hither: come up hither." Brethren I ask you whether, in the contemplations which have now been brought before you of providence and of grace, you do not feel yourselves as if put into another atmosphere, surrounded by other objects, and, like the servant of the prophet, when his eyes were opened, beholding chariots of fire and horses of fire? But, my brethren, this must have a limit; and placing before you, as we have done, the statement of our present ignorance while existing in this sublunary life, and the promise of future illumination, shewing how that illumination is associated with your holiness, and with your eternal happiness, let me request you now to observe one or two practical impressions which ought to arise as the conclusion of the whole.
First, cherish Patience. There is much within the present sphere that you cannot understand, in providence and in redemption. Is infidelity right-to use the pointed language of Addison, in one of the best of his addresses to freethinkers in the Guardian-"Is infidelity right, when it concludes that because it does not understand, therefore the thing of which it is ignorant is not to be understood?" Is it right, my brethren, for those who are numbered professedly among the people of God, to rebel against certain arrangements of providence, or to reject certain announced principles of redemption, precisely, be it remembered, for the very reason assigned by infidelity? No, if it be the will of God, in connexion with other circumstances, that but a partial amount of knowledge should be obtained in the present state, and that full developments are to be expected in the state that remains beyond the grave, the right result is humility, patience, and submission of mind. And let me exhort you, especially you who are young, and whose minds, perhaps, are inclined to speculative inquiry, and therefore to enter into the scenes of scepticism and infidelity, rest, implicitly rest, on the testimony of the sure word of prophecy; and although clouds and darkness may now be round about Jehovah, be certain that "justice and judgment are the habitation of his throne:" and stop till that period, when the scales shall fall from your eyes, and when you shall have the developments of immortality. Be patient, submissive, humble in your minds:
"Wait the great teacher, Death, and God adore."