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of the Redeemer: “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world : for inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
It may animate us to cultivate and exhibit towards all those, with whom we are connected by any natural or social bond, those kindly feelings, the recollection of which on our future re-union will be calculated to enhance our delight; and the cherishing and the exercise of which will be for ever among the occupations and enjoyments of that blissful state. It may
animate us to bear with contented minds a temporary separation from our departed friends to “ sorrow not for them that are asleep in the Lord, even as others which have no hope ;' but to cast our thoughts forward to the time, when we shall meet them again, and be re-united in the presence of the Lord; and so, as the Apostle exhorts, to " comfort one another with these words."
Lastly, it may animate us to bless and praise our gracious God, " the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort,” for this among numberless other topics of consolation under a Christian's worldly afflictions, for this among numberless other anticipated ingredients of heavenly blessedness.
Indeed, whatever may be the sufferings of his faithful servants here, and whatever may be the particulars of their joy hereafter, the former, we know, will altogether cease, and the latter will be fully accomplished : so that even should that future recognition and re-union among the blessed, which we esteem highly probable, nevertheless not be brought to pass, we may be sure that they will be admitted to “ fulness of joy in the presence of God.”
But as the Scripture appears to make this particular event probable, we may properly cherish the anticipation; and the anticipation should lead to a grateful acknowledgment of his goodness, who will probably thus contribute to the felicity of the blessed by their enjoyment in heaven of the society of those, whom they have known and loved upon earth; and who probably by these means, and, if not by these, yet certainly by others, such as He knows to be sufficient for their “ perfect consummation and bliss,” “ will wipe away all tears from their eyes;” and “make them drink of the rivers of his pleasure” in that “continuing city," where " there shall be no more death ; neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain.”
HEAVEN'S JOYS PERFECT.
'Tis naught but bliss in that celestial seat !
Where God essential GOOD, resides, and where
Thron'd with the LAMB He deigns his joy prepare For those that love Him, floods of pleasure meet. The deep delight of that secure retreat
No uncongenial thoughts annoy; nor care,
Nor pain, nor grief, but bliss alone is there Pure, undisturb'd, undimm'd, divinely sweet. Pure as the snow that lies on Lebanon,
Wreath above wreath in virgin brightness piled; Calm as yon lake, when not a breath hath blown
On its clear crystal; cloudless as the mild Moonlight, o'er heav'n a robe of silver thrown;
Sweet as the slumber of a sinless child.
DIFFERENT DEGREES OF HAPPINESS AMONG THE BLESSED,
INTRODUCTION.-STATEMENT OF THE CASE OF THE SONS
OF ZEBEDEE, AND DOCTRINE OF DIFFERENT DEGREES OF
FUTURE HAPPINESS FOUNDED THEREON.
An inquiry into the future happiness of the blessed should seem to be incomplete and defective, if it omitted a notice of the doctrine, which ascribes DIFFERENT DEGREES of happiness to DIFFERENT INDIVIDUALS. An examination of this doctrine, therefore, will naturally follow our previous course of inquiry. The doctrine also is one of no trivial interest and moment in itself; but is calculated, I apprehend, in a high degree, to elevate the affections, and stimulate the exertions, of those Christians, who may be impressed with a well-founded and deep persuasion of its truth.
It is accordingly my purpose in the following chapter to consider the doctrine which teaches that different degrees of happiness will be bestowed on the blessed in a future life; and to state the scriptural ground on which I apprehend that it may be established. And then, supposing the doctrine to be true, it is my purpose to state the qualifications requisite in those who would attain to a superior degree of happiness: and the principles, according to which it will be bestowed by the bounty of God on the disciples of the Redeemer. May God, by his Holy Spirit, dispose the minds both of the writer and the reader to a serious contemplation and a corresponding application of the truth, “ that when Christ who is our life shall appear, then may we also appear with him in glory." .
There are various independent passages in Holy Writ, which, in the progress of our examination, will be found to give support to the doctrine in question. But there is one passage in particular
. which appears to me possessed of special and singular efficacy in deciding the question before us in the affirmative. I propose, therefore, in the first place to state that passage, and to examine it more particularly; and then to confirm the doctrine conveyed in it by other corroborative observations.
The passage to which I allude is contained in the twentieth chapter of the Gospel according to St. Matthew, and, with some unimportant variations, in the tenth chapter of St. Mark's. In the former it runs in this wise. 66 Then came to him the mother of Zebedee's children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may