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to induce any one who has long adopted it, to come to the scriptures alone for tests of a safe condition. Persons adhere to this mode of sustaining their hopes of heaven, with a pertinacity which is almost peculiar to such cases. Expectations of temporal good resting on so slight a basis, if ever cherished, are readily abandoned. The hopes which prompt the untiring enterprises of worldly men in the pursuit of their objects, will rarely be found to proceed merely from a perception that they are imitating others who have like hopes. They derive their hopes from remoter views, from deeper investigation of the case, and from more thorough comparison of the means employed with the end desired. Nor are they, where temporal interests are concerned, easily seduced into the fancy, that others will certainly succeed in the same class of pursuits, in order that by this means they may gain hopes of success also. They deem even their objects, a reality of too much value to be trifled with ; and the expectation of attaining them, a matter of too much consequence to be made to depend on a fleeting fancy of the mind.

Now if we would not fall into mistakes fatally disastrous in a concern of such moment as that of our spiritual interests, by taking up with the notions current among its reputed subjects, as to what constitutes saving religion ; if we would not at last find ourselves the victims of a miserable delusion, by indulging hopes of safety, because others with no better grounds indulge similar hopes, let us form our views of that religion which will carry us safely through life, through death), through the scenes of the final judgment, and through eternity, from the representations of the book of God. We can scarcely open that book without meeting with representations of it sufficiently marked and definite. On almost every page are presented delineations of some of its great, distinctive features. The mistakes in regard to it, are corrected and guarded against, wherever we read. It pictures religion as no earthly,

sensual and selfish thing, but as a child of heaven sojourning awhile on earth, with eyes and heart ever turned to its native home, and constantly deriving, by means of such an intercourse, supporting and purifying energies from that high world, where its toils and its conflicts will end, and its triumphs and consolations be endless. Such a picture of it is given by the apostle in connexion with the text. He begins the chapter with a burst of adoring admiration of the love and condescension of God, in adopting them into his spiritual family. Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God. The character of such as are thus made the children of God, he goes on to say, is misunderstood by worldly minds, just as God's character is misapprehended by them. Therefore, the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Nor does he hesitate to declare, that the prospects which open upon them in the coming world, included a sum of blessedness which surpassed their present powers of comprehension ; though of its general nature and character they had a sufficiently full and satisfactory knowledge. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be ; but we know, that when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. But does he say, that those who have such prospects in view, indolently resign themselves to the joy which the sure and blessed hope creates ? No. He adds_AND EVERY ONE THAT HATH THIS HOPE IN HIM, PURIFIETH

Here we have a full and beautiful portrait of our holy religion—a religion which is intended not merely to inform and instruct the mind, but to influence the heart and life-a religion which is a child of heaven struggling on through this dark and distant world, with an eye beaming with brightening hopes, and a hold nerved with the glowing energies of faith, fixed on the unseen realities of eternity—a religion whose glorious excellency consists in the indissolu

HIMSELF AS HE IS PURE.

ble connexion, and mutual influence between its speculative views and practical aims. To illustrate and present more clearly this delightful peculiarity of the religion of the gospel, will be the object of the present discourse, in some cursory observations on the objects and effects of the hope spoken of in the text. 1. The objects of that hope.

EVERY ONE THAT HATH THIS HOPE IN HIM. No doubt the objects of the hope here mentioned are essentially the same, as are respected by christian hope in general. They include future and eternal spiritual good. From the connexion of this passage, however, it appears that the apostle had in view two or three things which may be regarded as the specific objects of the hope of which he speaks.

1. The final appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ to judge the world. We know that when he shall appear. To none but those whose assurance of endless life is founded on the divine promise, can the appearing of the great God' our Saviour, on this fearfully glorious errand, be properly an object of hope. All others must anticipate it with appalling fears, rather than with any confident persuasion of its being to them the occasion of good. It can never be otherwise than evil to men unreconciled to God, to be called to witness the decisions of the final day. The appearing of Christ will be also the revelation of their sins and of their unalterable doom. He will appear to execute on them the sentence of condemnation, and to add perfection to their misery, by making them see and feel that it is to know no cessation or abatement forever. But the children of God can joyfully hope for the Saviour's appearing. Even the distant views, which at times they are enabled to gain of him by the eye of faith, are exclusively grateful to them. It does them good to witness his image in his followers. It is to them a blessing to behold him in the triumphs of his gospel. If at his last appearing to judgment, no new features of loveliness and glory

were to be revealed to his people, they would look forward to it with eager desire and hail it with delight. But he will come clothed with new attractions for them. He will come to be glorified in all his saints. He will come triumphing over all the powers of darkness. He will come to clear up all the difficulties, and to set at right all the apparent inequalities, in the allotments of his followers here. He will come to let them enter into his joy, to feast on his love, and to drink at the river of his pleasures forever. Well may such an event in prospect be the object of joyful and grateful christian hope.

2. Another object of the hope noticed, is the more perfect knowledge and enjoyment of God our Saviour. They now darkly behold him by the eye of faith-catch some faint glimpses of him in the field of his works, and in the events of his providence and grace. But when he shall at last appear in the end of time, his people shall see him as he is. Not at a distance, but near at hand. Not faintly and by imperfect reflection, but clearly with the rays of his grace, and glory, and majesty pouring directly upon them. They will so see him as to render it impossible any longer to misapprehend his character, or discern any thing but the most perfect and glorious harmony in his attributes. Their inds will be so elevated and their faculties so enlarged, that objects which now we could not see and live, they shall behold with unveiled face, and exult in the delightful privilege. Nor is this all. For those whose wills are conformed to the divine law, and whose affections are corrected and purified, enjoy the divine Being in proportion as they see him as he is. Their enjoyment of his presence is proportionate to their knowledge of his character. They behold in him an all sufficient portion, and an almighty and everlasting friend. And while they contemplate his glory, admire his goodness, and exalt his praise, their satisfaction and delight will surpass the highest expectations which can be entertained

in this world. And certainly, that may now well be the object of a joyful christian hope, which is to outlive and swallow it up in the ocean of eternal pleasures !

3. To be like God, is another object of the hope here mentioned. We shall be like him. But in what respects shall the children of God be like him? Some of the divine perfections admit of no transfer—are incommunicable to glorified spirits, in their most exalted state. The highest angel of light can never be the omnipotent and omniscient Eternal. But yet in some points the children of God are like him in the coming world. They are points in which they must resemble him before they can enjoy him. They will be like him in immortality. Here in their existing state, they are like the insect of a day. They are like the herbage of the fields, which withers, and dies, and vanishes away, beneath the fanning breeze. In their mortal condition nothing is more perishable than they. They go down to the grave after a life of toils and woes; but they go down thither only to pass through its purifying process, and to arise again arrayed in the beauties of immortality. The resurrection is the manifestation of the sons of God. . They who shall be counted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, can die no more, but are equal to the angels, and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection. But the great particular in which they resemble God, consists in the purity of their deathless nature. Unsanctified lost souls live an eternal death beyond the verge of mortal existence. While all who are here born and sanctified by the divine Spirit, drop at the gate of death every remaining vestige of moral impurity, and are presented holy and unblameable, and unreproveable in the sight of God. They enter a world where no moral defilement can ever enter.. Every thing there is perfectly holy. The Eternal upon the throne, the countless hosts that encircle it, the intercourse, the worship, and the affections are all holy. As to prepare and bring sin

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