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THERE are those who, aiming at heaven with the idea of finding a Mohamedan paradise, affording sensual delights and free admission, expect to enter that everlasting kingdom of joy, clad in the gorgeous and frippery trappings of the flesh. It is at once wonderful and grievous to reflect, that such an immense number of rational beings, who are professed candidates for another world, should have their hearts so little set upon their heavenly home :—that the ponips and vanities of this world should have so many charnis for them, that they feel a disinclination to quit them, unless they may be allowed to imagine something similar in the next. Strange perversion of ideas ! to tinge that which is intrinsically divine, and effulgently bright and beautiful, with the gross colouring of mortal conceit. The glory that shall be revealed is so unspeakably great, that it is far, far beyond mortal comprehension. It is a world of light, of purity, and joy. “ There is no night there.” In hell reigns eternal darkness, in heaven eternal light.Nothing can have admission there which retains the defilement of sin. Only “ the pure in heart shall see God,” who will wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying; neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away.
Our Saviour himself gave the Sadducees very explicitly to understand, how vain and futile were the ideas of heaven, possessed by those who have merely worldly notions. Luke xx. 35, 36. they which shall be counted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage: neither can they die any more; for they are equal unto the angels, and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.” The Sadducees were originally the disciples of Sadoc, whose opinions were something on a par with those of some of the sceptics of the present day. Their leading notion was, that there is no resurrection; which doctrine they thought to perplex, by supposing the case of a woman married to several different men, and then enquiring, “ In the resurrection, whose wife of them is she?" Our Saviour answered, by shewing how wide a difference exists between the state of men on earth and in heaven; and how much our vile natures must be changed, ere we can become equal with the angels, and be worthy to be called the children of God.
Solomon, the king of Jerusalem, the mighty monarch of the Jews, abounding in wealth and honor, who had tried all the varied round of worldly pleasures, at length, as though his heart were sick at the idea, emphatically pronounces all to be vanity, vanity and vexation of spirit. And shall those who are still infatuated with these vanities, fancy that they can carry such ideas into heaven with them? Surely, if they take the Scriptures for their guide, they must be possessed of very meagre imaginations, to be able to form no higher estimate of the attributes of God and his angels. There they shall drop the clog of their mortal bodies, and lose the encumbrance of flesh and blood; sensual appetites shall be annihilated, and have no power to allure their affections, from the Divine sources of their bliss ; but with the same aerial spirituality as angels themselves, they shall live in the fulness of everlasting enjoyment.
It is then our duty to cast the trammels of the world behind us, and not to allow ourselves to be impeded in our race for salvation. The lusts of sensuality should be regarded as so many bonds and weights, which must be burst asunder and cast off, before we can attain to the kingdom of rest and glory. We should remember that we have not long to remain here; generation succeeds generation, and all the pomp of man is but like the evanescent glory of a summer day. Where are the former inhabitants of the earth ? they are mingled with the dust. The gorgeous palaces of the mighty emperors of Persia, Babylon, and Rome, are with their masters amalgamated with their mother earth, or tumbled in heaps of ruins, with scarcely a name left on record, to satisfy the curiosity of those who would conteniplate the remnants of their fallen grandeur.
Millions upon millions since the creation, have mouldered in oblivion, and the places which knew them, know them no more: we supply their room ; and, in a short, a very short time, another generation shall succeed us, and so on to the end of time. It behoves us then, as thinking beings, to seek out for something more solid and substantial than the pleasures of this world. We should remember that human enjoyments, however delightful at present, will cease at death, and that eternity is our doom whether that eternity be one of joy or misery, depends upon ourselves. Let us leave the world, the flesh and the devil, and pray for the Holy Spirit to work faith in our hearts, thereby enabling us to
mortify the deeds of the body that we may live.”
AIMING AT HEAVEN, some have their thoughts lifted
up with pride and ostentation. These qualities are sure to debase the man in whom they appear. Humility is essential to the character of those who are candidates for eternal happiness, and is much commended in the Holy Scriptures. “ To this man God will look, that is poor and that trembleth at his word.” On the contrary, the character of the proud man is highly offensive to him ; “He bringeth down the mighty from their seats, while he exalteth those of low degree.” “He that exalteth himself shall be abased, but he that humbleth hiniself shall be exalted.” Nothing becomes a man less than pride and haughtiness: they are the native offspring of ignorance, for no one would ever think highly of himself, were he thoroughly acquainted with his own imperfections. A sensible and clever man, is generally humble; a good man uniformly so. For a sinner to be proud is preposterous: yet how often do. we hear them, like like the hypocritical Pharisee, swelling with pride, recounting their own amiable qualities, as opposed to the hard-heartedness or sinfulness of their fellow mortals. The truly good and sensible man, on the contrary, shrinks when he beholds his numerous infirmities, and takes a survey of the majesty and holiness of his Creator ; this