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behold divine glory, falls not down as dead. Hark! he begins his favourite theme: hark! he cries with still warmer emotions than when on earth, - Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed on us, that we should be called the sons of God. God is love. Beloved, let us love one another!” There Peter sees the new heavens and the new earth for which he looked ; and is more anxious than when upon Tabor, here to build his tabernacle, and make his abode for ever. There Thomas, lost in an ecstasy of wonder, astonishment, and rapture, can find no utterance for his feelings but in his expressive exclamation, My Lord, and my God! There Paul still stands, gazing at the abyss of love, and still exclaiming, O the height, and the depth, and the length, and the breadth, of the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge! And there the rest of the apostles stand; acknowledging their wisdom in not abandoning the Redeemer, and finding that he has indeed the words of eternal life.
And see next to them the glorious company of martyrs and confessors,
“ who lived unknown, Till persecution dragg'd them into fame, And chased them up to heaven :"
who waded through seas of blood, who submitted cheerfully to every torture, upheld by the Spirit of Jesus and the hopes of glory. Behold how they stand, clothed in white, and having palms in their hands, confessing that their afflictions, which were but for a moment, were indeed not worthy to be compared to this exceeding weight of glory! But the blessed company thickens on the view. See all those pious men in the old world or the new who have quickened us by their writings or their examples: see all those whose lives have deservedly been held up as models for us to follow : see those lamented pastors who once addressed you from this sacred desk, but who have now entered into glory: see ten thousand times ten thousand followers of the Lamb, of whom we have never heard, whose names history would have suffered to perish, had they not been inscribed in the Lamb's book of life, a record more durable than brass or marble. See all this vast assemblage hail the believer entering into paradise as a brother, and feel for him the affections of a brother: see they form with him ties more strict and tender than those which connected him to the darling of his soul on earth; ties pure as the eternal mind, and durable as the existence of God: see, they afford him in an intercourse with them, that substance, of which our most delicious earthly intercourses are but the shadow. O my God! dost thou destine such joys as these to sinful, to rebellious man? O Christians ! when such felicity is proposed to you, shall your souls still cleave to earth; will you not more pant and languish for the joys of heaven; will you not be willing to leave this unkind and unsatisfying world for the enjoyment of this intimate fellowship with the church triumphant? You surely ought, since, and this is our
2d. Reflection, this doctrine, that in heaven we shall know each other, and all the pious that have preceded us, affords one of the sweetest consolations to the Christian against our natural fear of death. To a soul that has made its peace with God, death has nothing so terrible as those agonizing adieus which are to be given to those whom we love. But is not the anguish arising from this source removed, when
the dying believer can strain his closing eyes upon those who surround his bed of death, and say to them, • Ah! my friends, my children, and you who were the object of my tenderest love, receive the last proof of an affection, the testimonies of which in these closing moments cannot be suspected. Let
tears, let my tremulous accents, let these prayers in your behalf, which rise from the centre of my soul, testify how much I love you? But yet retain me no longer upon earth. Suffer me to go and meet that friend, who was bound by cords stronger than death; those ancestors, whose memory was dear to me; those children, the loss of whom tore my soul. Suffer me to go and meet the redeemed of every tribe, and kindred, and people, and tongue; the venerable society of the patriarchs, “ the glorious company of the apostles, the goodly fellowship of the prophets, the noble army of martyrs, the holy church triumphant,” who, having fought under the standard of Jesus, now partake in his triumph. Suffer me to go, and join this heavenly company, after having formed one more wish, after having uttered one more prayer. It is that you may shortly be gathered to this heavenly society, that you may shortly participate in this glory'
Oh, my brethren! what powerful consolations are these in our closing hours ! Surely they are sufficient to elevate the soul of a Christian above the fear of death. If Socrates looked at death without terror, merely from the hope that it would introduce him to the society of Homer and Hesiod, of Orpheus and Musæus; if Cicero, though a pagan, could cry out with so much delight, “ O glorious day! when I shall retire from this low and sordid scene to associate with the divine assembly of departed spirits :"
with what holy impatience should the Christian long for that period when he shall be introduced to the church of the first-born in heaven, to mingle his voice with theirs, and to dwell for ever with them!
3. This subject teaches relatives and friends how they should act, in order that the sentiments of affection which they entertain for each other may have their greatest force, and they be saved from the severest pains. Form your attachments for eternity; build them on the basis of religion; strive to cement the ties of blood and affection by the more indissoluble bonds of grace; and then your hearts, while your friends are continued to you, will experience raptures inexpressible; and when they are torn from you, the pang of separation will be mitigated by the most consolatory prospects. Ah! think you not, that the soul of a Christian swells with higher joy than the world can conceive, when, pressing to his heart those who are united to him by grace, as well as by nature or friendship, he exclaims, I shall love this friend not merely for this little span of life, but throughout eternity. When millions of years shall have succeeded to millions of years, my heart shall still beat with tenderness towards him; I shall still enjoy an intercourse with him : even after the universe shall be laid in ruins, our voices and our souls shall mingle together in the kingdom of light.' Speak, Christians! is it not this reflection which gives the chief energy to your friendship? “I must profess from the experience of my soul,” says the excellent Baxter, “ that it is from my belief that I shall love my friends in heaven, that my love to them on earth is principally kindled: and if I thought I should never know them more, and consequently not love them
after death, I should love them comparatively little, as I do other transitory things; but now I converse with them with delight, as believing that I shall converse with them for ever.” And if
And if you should attend to the concerns of piety, to secure these present joys, so also ought you to do it that you may not be overborne with sorrow at that moment when death shall tear these friends from you, or you from them. Death
, will surely dissolve all these dear and intimate relations; the time is certainly coming, when in anguish you shall see all your mutual affection, all your pleasant intercourse ending in ghastly looks, and in dying pangs; when one of you shall see with anguish the other's last struggles : when his final groan shall vibrate in your ear. Oh! in such a situation, what comfort has the surviver, except in the hope that has been presented to you? and if he cannot rationally and scripturally entertain this hope, what can exceed his anguish? Oh! what a sword pierces through the souls of those who weep for wicked, though near relations and friends : and who, instead of the cheering expectation of seeing them again, behold nothing in the future but what is dark, dismal, and afflictive! Since then there must be so great a difference in the feelings of the friends who survive you, according as they are permitted or not, to entertain the hope of a reunion with you, let me exhort you to live together as heirs of eternal life, uniting your prayers, and giving mutual examples of piety, that so you may fit each other for heaven, and leave a testimony in each other's bosom of your preparation for eternity. Then whoever of you die first, the parent or the child, the bro ther or the sister, the husband or the wife, the surviver in imagination can trace you to heaven, and