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glory, which renders happy the Being of beings, surely will beatify a worm.
Child of God! there is not one of the divine perfections which, by its lustre, will not cheer thee, when, in heaven, thou shalt see God. Wilt thou behold his self-existence? With what reverential awe wilt thou view the everlasting I AM! who being, and necessarily being, of himself, is the cause of causes, the source of all the springs of nature, the fountain of universal life, the stay and support of all the creation in heaven and on earth: then thou wilt acknowledge that he is properly designated, All in all. Wilt thou contemplate his wisdom? How grateful to look into the very source of truth, and, in God's light, to see light! to see the wisdom which made and governed the world, not merely in its effects, but in itself; to read the records of eternity; to see the darkness which now often covers the procedures of Providence, dissipated; and to behold the profoundest wisdom in every act that related to the universe, to this world, to the church, and to thyself! If Paul was filled with so much rapture at the contemplation of the wisdom of God, when he was upon earth, and was constrained to cry out, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" What was his language when, in heaven, a perfect model of the divine counsels was presented to open view? How delightful to contemplate his power, that essential and self-originated might, which stretched out the heavens, established the earth, and sustained all things! which rolled the mighty wheels of providence through all the successions of time! which showed its "exceeding greatness in redemption and
the new creation of man! With what ecstasy wilt thou then join the song of heaven: "Allelujah, for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth!" Wilt thou contemplate his love? What joy, to see this attribute in its plenitude and perfection, without a veil, unattended by a frown! to feel the full force of that expression, "God is love!" to look into that heart where the thoughts of love were lodged from eternity to see what clothed a Deity with human flesh! what led the Son of God to the cross; and why thou didst not perish in thy sins! why God bore with thee, notwithstanding thy many unkind repulses of a merciful Saviour! why he at last touched and renewed thy heart. Heaven, which shall give thee the feeling, can alone give thee a proper conception of the joy thou wilt feel from this view of love-of love as extensive as thou canst bear or wish to see! Wilt thou contemplate his holiness? Already thou "givest thanks at the remembrance of his holiness;" thou criest, "Who is a God like unto thee, glorious in holiness?" Already every glimpse of this perfection is lovely to thee; thou rejoicest when thou findest it in an ordinance, or meetest it in a Sabbath. With what transport then, when thou contemplatest the infinite holiness of God, and findest thyself formed into its image, wilt thou join the happy spirits, and cry, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty ?" Review in like manner the other divine attributes, and you will perceive that they are all calculated to give the noblest joy.
Especially will it have this effect, since it will be a united and entire glory, which you will behold. We have some glimpses of this glory upon earth; but here we view it in dispersed rays: from the feebleness of our powers we must consider attribute after
attribute; but there they shall beam upon us in their full and combined lustre.
It is an eternal glory. Many objects which delight us on earth are torn from us, or we from them; and to the enjoyment which they afforded us, succeed tears for their loss. But there the source of pleasure is as stable as the divine Being; subject neither to decay in itself, nor to injury from external causes. And as the glory cannot fade, so neither can the believer become weary of viewing it. The sun would sooner be weary of shining, than a soul, in which the love of God is perfected, be weary of beholding him. Thy God shall be thy glory, and the Lord thine everlasting light.”
It is an appropriating vision of this glory. The redeemed look upon it, not as unconcerned spectators, but as persons interested in it. To it they have a real right. It is theirs by the gift of the Father, by the purchase of the Son, by the sealing of the Spirit, and the first fruits of it which he shed in their hearts; by their faith's acceptance of the offer of it made in the gospel, by their forerunner's possession of it in their name. While therefore, the accursed view with agony this glory which they have lost, the redeemed cry," God our own God, shall bless us. This God is our God forever and ever."
"We shall be like him,
It is an assimilating vision. for we shall see him as he is." "As for me I will behold thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness." This divine glory shall not only be revealed to us, but also in us. The likeness of God shall be transfused and wrought in our souls. This is the great work which is begun in regeneration; but, alas! the remains of corruption within us show how imperfect it still is. It is cherish
ed even by the feeble views we have of God upon earth; a sight of God's purity making us more pure, a view of his love melting us into love. "We all, with open face beholding, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the spirit of the Lord." But the likeness will be perfect only in heaven, where we shall be holy as God is holy.
This vision is satisfying. The soul then rests in God. Its vast and enlarged faculties are perfectly filled, for it has the perfect enjoyment of the most perfect good. Solacing itself in these ineffable joys, it can desire no change. Unlike the sullen rest of despair after frustrated hopes, it is the free, rational, chosen rest of the soul that ever cries, "Whom have I in heaven but thee, and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee!" "Heaven and earth have not a single object that can tempt me from thee." It is the active, vigorous rest of a soul that is exercised in, and satisfied by heavenly fruitions and sensations; not that of a soul incapable of these joys, or bound up in stupifying sloth.
Such is the condition of the saints when
"Heaven lifts its everlasting portals high,
And bids the pure in heart behold their God."
1. How excellent and dignified is the soul of man, which is capable of such felicity. Though now wrapt in flesh, and grovelling on the earth, yet so eminent are its powers and faculties, that it may attain this high perfection: the foundations of so glorious a state are laid in its very nature. It is capable, not only of surveying the creation of God, but of ascending to the Being of beings, of contemplating the divine excellences, of beholding the bright and glo
rious face of the blessed God himself, till it have looked itself into his likeness, and have his image impressed upon it. Cultivate then a generous disdain for that servitude to sin and Satan, to which so many subject themselves. Look with heroic scorn upon those objects that would make thee forget thy sublime destination. Consider, my brother, that many myriads of spirits, of no higher original excellence than thine own, are now in the presence of the Eternal, viewing the divine glory, contemplating the perfections of Jehovah, beholding with rapture the unveiled face of God. This state thou also mayest attain; the Sovereign Lord of all things calls thee to it; his goodness invites thee, his authority enjoins thee, to seek it. Oh! remember that thou must render an account to thy Judge, not only for all the spiritual privileges thou enjoyest, but for all that he made thee capable of, and that thou mightest have attained. Deform not then thine own soul. Quench not in everlasting darkness that spark which, if cherished, may blaze with seraphs and the glorified immortals throughout eternity.
2. If such be the nature of the future blessedness, then a change of heart is requisite to enable us to enjoy it. If the Christian heaven were like a Mahometan paradise, the unconverted might there enjoy felicity but since it consists in the vision of God, since its delights are holy, it is evident that those who are destitute of love to God and of holiness, could find no satisfaction, even if they were placed in the midst of the shining host of angels. There would there be found no objects suited to the taste and dispositions of their souls. By the very nature of things, then, as well as by the express and reiterated declarations of God, we know that except we