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will escape our lips, no pang rend our hearts, for any of his dealings with those whom we loved. But,

3. The nature of that love which is required of the . Christian, and which burns with a pure and vehement flame in the bosoms of the blest, affords another answer to this objection. It is required of us that we love God supremely, and that we love nothing else, except in him and for him. This frame of soul is never found in its perfection on earth. Natural affection and spiritual affection are always, in some degree, mingled together. But in heaven, this frame of soul is found in its perfection. The love which the inhabitants of that blessed world feel for each other, is freed from all earthly mixture; and all the bonds of nature are spiritualized. As there will be no marriage, so no matrimonial affections ; the child and the friend are loved, not because they are our child and our friend, but because they are the creatures of God, the receptacles of his mercies, the objects of his affection, the partakers of his image. God, I repeat it, is loved supremely, and nothing else is loved, except in him and for him. Now as this is the temper of the heavenly host, as God is the centre of their love, as it is exclusively from affection to him that affection to other objects emanateg, it is easy to conceive that the blessed may bear, without a diminution of their felicity, a separation from the persons that possessed their hearts ; since their love for these persons will then return to its centre, and be again confounded with the love that they bear to God.

I conclude then, notwithstanding this objection, that the blessed in heaven shall know each other.

My brethren, this is not one of those cold truths to which the mind may assent whilst the heart remains

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VOL. III.

unaffected, and from which no incitements can be derived to a holy, heavenly life and conduct. It is full of the most sublime consolations and the most animating instructions. Let us select some of these for our consideration during the remainder of this exercise.

1. What a delightful idea does this truth give us of the felicity of the heavenly world! Surely nothing, except the vision and enjoyment of God and of the Lamb, can equal the joys of knowing and being known to all the church triumphant above; of living in an eternal brotherhood; of forming an indissoluble connexion with all the pious men that ever have existed, or that ever shall exist, till the trump of the archangel shall shake the earth to its centre. Who can even conceive the raptures of such an intercourse? No ignorance, no unkindly affection, no irregular.passion, no blind zeal, no narrow and selfish views, no divisions in sentiment, no slạnderous tongue, shall impair their bliss; but the most exalted wisdom, the most spotless purity and innocence, the most tender benignity and love, shall be found in their highest perfection in each one of the vast society. Throughout all of them there will be a perfect harmony in judgment, in will, and in practice; all of them will be united in love to that God, in gratitude to that Saviour, whose throne they encircle: all of them will be so completely cemented in affection to each other, that the happiness of each becomes a common felicity. Wicked and censorious world! what have you to compare with this ennobling and rapturous intercourse, where every mind thus shines with light, and every heart thus burns with love?

Oh! how cheering is this prospect to the soul pained by the contemplation of that frivolity, that

contention, that guilt, which is so often to be found in human associations, in earthly societies! Let us examine this idea more closely : the heart rests upon it with so much delight, that it is worthy of more than a casual observation. To have some conception of the joy resulting from this circumstance, I image to myself a believer who has been loosed, by the liberating hand of death, from these fetters of earth, and who, borne on the wings of angels to his home, begins to breathe the air of heaven. Methinks I behold his arrival hailed, first, by those pious friends and relatives to whom his soul was bound, but who entered before him into glory, and left him in tears. He meets again that father, that mother, whose wisdom and tenderness directed him during all the vicissitudes of life, who forgot him not in their last moments, but poured upon him their dying benediction! He sees once more that child who was torn from his reluctant arms; that wife, over 'whose tomb he has wept; that friend, whose loss made the earth a joyless desert for him! There the mothers of Bethlehem find their martyred infants, in a land where Herod does not reign, and where his malice cannot reach! There Jacob sees his Rachel, and, in the transports of re-union, forgets the sorrow with which he raised the monumental pillar on the plains of Bethlehem! There David presses again his friend to his breast, and expresses his joy in accents still more impassioned than those in which he lamented his fall upon Gilboa!

Judge ye, who have felt the power of friendship or affection, and who have also felt the pangs of separation from those who possessed and deserved your attachment; judge of the felicity that is to be derived from such a meeting, when these friends shall

again mingle together their hearts and souls, with a full assurance that death shall never again tear them asunder! Ah! if good old Jacob, in meeting again his son, after a long and painful separation, threw himself into his arms with such delight, and uttered with such rapture, “ Now let me die, since I have seen thy face, my son; because thou art yet alive!" who can even conceive the joy of meeting our friends in that better state, alive, though they have been the victims of the grave, and clothed with dignities and honours, infinitely greater than Pharaoh could bestow?

But those that were immediately connected with him on earth, are not the only personages whom the believer perceives with joy on his entrance into paradise. He finds himself surrounded with a multitude which no man can number, selected from every period of the world, and gathered out of every na: tion, and tribe, and kindred, and people. Here he beholds the patriarchs, whose example had stimulated him to diligence in the service of his Lord, and whose memory he had honoured. There stands Abraham, who so many thousand years ago rejoiced to see this day, though afar off; whose « faith was accounted to him for righteousness: and lo! Isaac, his only son, Isaac, whom he loved, is restored to him, beyond the possibility of another separation : for God had himself provided a Lamb for an offering. There is Noah, sheltered in a better ark than that which saved him from the fury of the deluge. There is Lot, no longer vexed by the sins of Sodom, and fixing his thankful looks on the angel of the covenant, who pulled him from that devoted city. And Joseph, rejoicing in the sight of that God, the sense of whose invisible presence with him rendered him victorious over the severest temptation. And Moses, again singing his sublime song, once more calling upon the heavens to give ear, and ascribing mercy and majesty to God. And Job, delivered from all his pains, changing his expressions of sorrow into accents of praise, and crying, “ Blessed be the day in which I was born, the night in which it was said, there is a man-child conceived: for now God does not hide himself from me: I can come even to his seat!" But are these, and the numberless other patriarchs who lived devoted to God, the only persons whom the believer contemplates on his admission into heaven? No! next them stands the illustrious band of prophets, surrounded by a splendour infinitely brighter than the prophetic ray. There David, satisfied with God's likeness, pours forth diviner strains than those which he raised on earth. There Elijah, led hy the Lamb to the fountain that flows from the throne of God, and feasting on the hidden manna,

has no longer need of the failing brook of Cherith, and of the ministry of ravens, to provide him food.

There the hallowed lips of Isaiah chaunt, with still more heavenly fire than burns in his predictions, the glories of Immanuel, and the peace of his kingdom. There Jeremiah, having every tear wiped from his eyes, no longer needs to weep; no longer wishes for some lodge in the wilderness, whither he might retire from the iniquities of those who surround him. There Daniel needs no angel to tell him that he is greatly beloved; no longer needs to fear a den of lions, or a seven-fold heated furnace.

But see, the glorious band of apostles still succeeds. There John contemplates the First and the Last, in a more effulgent glory than he appeared at Patmos, and yet strengthened by divine power to

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