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elsewhere he says, “ We all with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory." This “likeness to God,” this “ conformity to the image of his Son,” this “ change into the image of the glory of the Lord,” we may presume to consist in the improvement both of the intellectual and of the moral qualities of those, who are admitted to the contemplation of the excellence of the Godhead · according to the observation of St. Paul again, concerning Christians in their state of trial, and the same is surely even more applicable to them in a state of bliss; that they are “ renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created them,” 2 and that “after God they are created anew in righteousness and true holiness." 3 And thus St. John, directing our thoughts and exertions towards the present attainment of that moral excellence, the full acquisition of which may be thence inferred to be a distinction of man's improved and celestial nature, “Every man that hath this hope in him," namely, the hope of ultimately “ seeing God as he is," and of “ being like him," "
being like him,” “purifieth himself even as he is pure.” 4. It may be added, that the
' comparison which our blessed Lord has instituted between the spirits of the blessed and “the angels of God,” to whom he expressly tells us that the
former will bear a resemblance and will be equal,” i distinguished as those excellent beings are for their wisdom and knowledge, their holiness and virtue, is an argument for the existence of the same qualities in those who are the subjects of that comparison.
THE SPIRIT SANCTIFIED.
Most wise meseems it, of that unseen state
Whate'er in bounty God vouchsafes to show,
Moral or intellectual, there to throw
see him as he is," and know
That sonship, that high knowledge to secure,
On earth; acquaint thyself with God; inure Thy thoughts to serve him like the cherubin,
And seek for pureness ev'n as He is pure.
THE SOCIETY AND EMPLOYMENTS OF THE BLESSED.
Thus glorified in their bodies, enlightened in their understandings, and purified and sanctified in their hearts, they, who are made “ meet to be partakers
1 Luke xx. 36.
of the inheritance of the saints in light,” 1 will enjoy a society, and be occupied in EMPLOYMENTS, corresponding to the glory of their residence, and the excellence of their condition, and their own improved state of body and of soul.
There they will associate with their brethren, “the spirits of” other just men,” like themselves “made perfect ;" 2 their “fellow-citizens of the
2 household of God;" 3 " the general assembly and
“ church of the first-born which are written in heaven; "4 with the blessed, with themselves, of their common Father; the good and faithful servants, with themselves, of their common Lord; the sanctified, with themselves, of the Holy Ghost the Comforter: with patriarchs, and prophets, and apostles, and martyrs, and holy men; all those who
are departed hence in the true faith of God's holy name;" 5 all those who from the beginning of the world - have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb;" 6 "a great multitude, whom no man can number, of all kindreds, and nations, and peoples, and tongues."
There shall they be admitted to the society of "an innumerable company of angels ;” of those “ministering spirits," who from the creation of man have been “sent forth to minister for” them who are now become "heirs of salvation:"8 those
11 Cor. i. 12. * Heb. xii. 23. & Rev. vii. 14.
Heb. xii. 23. 3 Eph. ii. 19. 5 Order of the Burial of the Dead. Rev. vii. 9.
8 Heb. i. 14.
who, in their hour of danger upon earth, have “ encamped round about them and delivered them ;” i those who in heaven have" rejoiced over them on their repentance:"2 who “at the
12 coming of the Son of Man in the clouds with power and great glory, have gathered together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven unto the other:”s and to whom they shall themselves thenceforth be likened and equal, partaking of their spiritual nature; rivalling them in power, wisdom, and holiness; and clothed like them with immortality.
There shall they be admitted to the presence of - Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, · whom having not seen they love; in whom, though now they see him not, yet believing, they rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: who is now “gone to prepare a place for them in the many mansions of his Father's house, and who will come again, and receive them unto himself, that where he is there they may be also.” 6 For, as the Apostle teaches us, “When Christ, who is
, our life, shall appear: then shall they also appear with him in glory;"? and so shall they be ever with the Lord.” 8
There shall they be admitted to the presence of “ God the Judge of all,” 9 “ the Father of our Loru
1 Ps. xxxiv, 7.
2 Luke xv. 10.
s Matt. xxiv. 30, 31
Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort;"1" with whom is the fountain of
”? “ in whose presence is fulness of joy, and at his right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”S And “He that sitteth upon the throne shall dwell among them;"4 and “the Lamb which is in the
l midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters.” 5 With this society, and in this presence, shall
, the blessed continually dwell, occupied in such employments as are adapted to their new state of being :-cultivating and exercising that “ charity," which amid the failing of prophecies, and the ceasing of tongues, and the vanishing away of sublunary knowledge, “never faileth ; " 6 the best and “most excellent,”? and “greatest” 8 of the
"7 " gifts of God, love of God himself, and the love of our brethren for his sake :-"equalling” the angels in their undeviating “ fulfilment of the Lord's commandments,” in “ diligently hearkening unto the voice of his words,” 9 in their cheerful and unwearied attendance upon his pleasure :-copying after the pure enjoyments of their celestial nature : -imitating them in the excellency of their knowledge, and the beauty of their holiness :-examining with them his marvellous works of grandeur, power, and providential goodness in the glories of creation;