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any man, who reads, and believes, the Scriptures. Whatever blessings, then, the righteous may obtain in the future world, all these blessings will continue for ever.
IV. It will be an Unchangeable state.
Sin, under the system of dispensations preceding the Judgment, will have had its whole course, and its whole effect upon the universe, so far as a state of trial is concerned ; and will never more exist, except in a state of punishment, and as an awful example to virtuous beings. The Righteous will have passed through the same period of trial; and will have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. They will begin the endless state of reward with a fixed character of holiness, or virtue ; and will never more return to sin. Every day, hour, and moment, as they move on in the progress of endless duration, they will, in the most exact sense, love the Lord their God with all their heart, and with all their soul, and with all their strength, and with all their understanding : and they will love each other, as themselves. Every external duty also, to which this disposition prompts, or which the pleasure of God directs, they will perform without failure, and without defect; and will thus be spirits of men absolutely just, made absolutely perfect.
All the circumstances, and consequences, connected with this character, will possess the same immutable nature. These vir tuous beings will begin the possession of happiness and glory, to continue only happy and glorious for ever. Death, and sorrow, and crying, and pain, will be no more ; and the last tear will have been wiped away by the Divine hand from every eye. The good, found, will be always complete ; the vessel always full ; and the contents free from every mixture. Loss, danger, and fear, will be alike unknown. The immense of duration will be an unclouded, everlasting day.
It is not, however, here intended, that this state will in the absolute sense be uniform. The Scriptures teach us, that it will be perpetually improving. Diminution it will never know. Increase and enhancement it will experience without end.
V. It will be a state in the proper sense New to the universe.
The Heaven of Heavens, particularly, will in many respects become now.
A great part of its inhabitants will be the general assembly and church of the first-born. These are all recovered, and restored, sinners. Originally, no rational beings were subjects of virtue and happiness, beside those, who kept their first estate. No others were objects of the eternal favour of God. Endless woe is the proper desert of sin; and persistency in endless turpitude is probly an essential part of its nature. To see a sinner then, especially to see a multitude of sinners, which no man can number, recovered from their apostasy; restored to holiness ; justified ; accepted; made inhabitants of heaven ; walking in the light of that happy world ; and mingling with angels in their communion, their enjoyments, and their praise ; will, of all events in the providential system, be to the virtuous universe, the most unexpected, surprising, and delightful. There is joy in heaven, saith our Saviour, oder one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, who need no repentance. What then will be the gratulation, the transport, the songs of triumph, when the penitence, not of an individual only, but of innumerable millions, shall be announced to this benevolent world! With what ecstacy will every bosom heave, when, not the tidings of this restoration are rehearsed, but the happy beings themselves, who have experienced it, have actually arrived; are presented before the throne of God; and begin the everlasting song, Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God even his Father, unto him be glory and dominion for ever and ever, Amen.
The Universe, also, for the first time since the apostasy of angels, will be at peace. To this period, rebellion will have existed, and war been carried on in the Kingdom of Jehovah. But after the entrance of the Righteous into Heaven, all these evils will be settled in uninterrupted quiet. Animosity, contention, and confusion, will no more invade the regions of virtue, nor disturb the harmony of their inhabitants. And I saw a new heater and a new earth, says St. John, for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away, and there was no more sea. The Sea is chosen by the prophetical writers as an image of those vioļences, which are so prevalent, and so universal, here, and to which its own restless agitations bear so strong a resemblance. These, it is here asserted, will exist no more. In the future world of enjoyment, no cloud will overcast the sky; no tempest will rage ; no billows will roll. Peace, divine and eternal, will breathe her balmy influence through every bosom, and bush the voice of contention for ever.
At the same time, the Mediatorial Kingdom will be terminated; and all the immediate purposes of this wonderful system accomplished. His chosen ones, will be all gathered. Not one of them, however poor, humble, or despised, will be lost. Not one of them will be prevented from arriving in this glorious Kingdom. Every one will see his infirmities, sins, and dan. gers, vanished for ever.
At this era, God, in a new sense, will be all in all. In other words, his perfections will be manifested with a clearness and splendour, before unknown.
Particularly, the former dispensations of his providence will be unfolded to the contemplation, and comprehension, of virtuous beings. These dispensations, it will be remembered, were merely means, adopted for the promotion of ends, to be accomplished in the future world. The fitness of their adoption for these purposes, as well as the wisdom of their author, cannot, therefore, be thoroughly understood, until the ends, for which they exist, shall take place. At this era, they will begin to be clearly disclosed. All of them will now appear to have been necessary, wise, and good; and will show beyond a doubt, that he, who selected them, was wonderful in counsel, excellent in working, wise in heart, and mighty in strength.
The beauty, glory, and happiness, of virtuous beings will, also, be only a new and illustrious manifestation of the perfections of God. Their bodies and their minds will be his work. manship; archetypes of those infinitely various forms of beauty, glory, and loveliness, which, like the colours of light in the sun, shone, and mingled, with immortal splendour in the Uncreated mind. Their virtues will be only unceasing emanations of his excellence; their enjoyments only perennial streams, flowing from the eternal Fountain of good.
In them all, also, He will live, and breathe, and move. The animating principle, a vernal warmth, an ethereal fire, imper.
ceptible in itself, but gloriously visible in its effects, will spread without intermission through the virtuous universe ; and quicken all things, which it contains. The air, the trees, the streams, the fruits, will all be informed with life. This divine principle in the glorified bodies of the blessed, will warm the heart, kindle the eye, and play around the aspect, with youth and immortality. The soul it will invigorate with energy, which knows no decay; will glow in its affections; and supply it with strength to form vast conceptions, and to model plans and purposes for eternity, All things will be full of life ; and the life in all things will be God.
Finally, a new system of dispensations will here commence, incomparably more glorious than any thing, and every thing, which has before existed. Christ is the light of Heaven, as well as of earth. In this Divine Person, the Godhead will shine without a cloud, and be seen face to face. The splendour will be all intelligence and enjoyment, and the warmth, life and love. The happy millions will bask for ever in the benevolent beams; and, with the eagle's eye fixed on the Divine Luminary, will rise, on eagle's wings, with a perpetually invigorated flight, nearer and nearer to the Sun of righteousness for ever.
THE REMOTER CONSEQUENCES OF DEATH.
THE HAPPINESS OF HEAVEN.
REVELATION xxi. 1-3.
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth : for the first heaven and
the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea, And I John saw the holy City, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of Heaven, prepared as a bride, adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of Heaven, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
In the preceding discourse, I endeavoured to give a summary view of the Neon Creation, or the new heavens and the new earth, mentioned in the beginning of the text. In this, I propose to consider briefly, the particular State of the Redeemed in their future existence, for whom, principally, the Scriptures exhibit the glorious state of the universe, which was the subject of the preceding discourse, as being accomplished. For them, particu. larly, Heaven is formed, and furnished, to be their everlasting residence. In my Father's house, said our Saviour, are many mansions, I go to prepare a place for you. Come ye blessed of my