Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

2

Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel.” 1

Of a future state whatever we know, we know it only by the revelation of divine wisdom. 66 As it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit.” By the revelation of the Spirit of God in old time, while the heathen world was sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death, the patriarchs and the people of God looked forward from this earthly scene to “ a better country, that is an heavenly." 3

For, as our Church authoritatively sets forth the doctrine of holy Scripture, “ The Old Testament is not contrary to the New; for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and man, being both God and man.

Wherefore they are not to be heard, which feign that the old fathers did look only for transitory promises." 4 By the revelation of the same Spirit of God, a brighter and a stronger light has been cast through the Gospel of his Son on the doctrine of “ life and immortality," which, according to the original of St. Paul's affirmation to Timothy, may be less correctly said to have been “ brought to light,” 1 than to have been “enlightened, illustrated, or rendered clear," by the dispersion of any doubts and difficulties in which it may have been previously involved, and by the 'evident proof and manifest demonstration thereby given of its certainty : at the same time many particulars have been detailed for our instruction by this latter disclosure of his truth, whilst darkness still continues to "cover the earth, and gross darkness the people.

1 2 Tim. i. 10. 3 Heb. xi. 16.

: 1 Cor. ii. 9. 4 Article VII.

Of the particulars, or even of the existence, of such a state, it is impossible that any unassisted exercise of the human understanding could have attained to the certain knowledge. The insufficiency of the faculties of man for the discovery has been felt, is known, and cannot be questioned. What less then does it behove us to do, than to accept the revelation of it by God with the most grateful acknowledgment? “Blessed,” said our Redeemer to his disciples, “are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, that many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them." 3 And in contemplation of the knowledge, of which they were made partakers, " in that hour Jesus rejoiced

1 2 Tim. i. 10.

9 Is. lx. 2.

* Matt. xii. 16.

in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight.” i Of the knowledge revealed to the disciples of the Son of God, thus distinguished from those who are memorable for their worldly wisdom and discernment, no inconsiderable article is the knowledge of “ the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” And surely it becomes them to participate in the joy which their Redeemer felt at their being enlightened by his Gospel, and to express such gratitude as he expressed : rendering, with his holy Apostles, blessing to “God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort," 2 " for the hope which is laid up for them in heaven;"s and

rejoicing greatly before him, with joy unspeakable and full of glory." +

PRAISE TO GOD FOR HEAVEN REVEALED.

As God of old his people's promised reign

To Moses show'd afar from Pisgah’s hill,

The vine-clad mountain, and the crystal rill,
City, and goodly field, and palm-tree plain,
And Jordan's flood, and Judah's utmost main :

So to his servant's eyes he proffers still,
As in a map which they may scan who will,

· Matt. xi. 25; Luke x. 21. . Col. i. 5.

2 Cor. i. 3. 4 1 Pet. i. 8.

Their promised lot, their Canaan's rich domain. Praised be our bounteous God! and praised the more,

That we herein are more than Moses blest! He with his eyes beheld, but went not o'er

To tread the land by Israel's sons possest: To us God gives his promise to explore,

To us to enter on his promised rest.

SECTION II.

CONTEMPLATION OF HEAVENLY HAPPINESS. -ITS IMME

DIATE EFFECT.

With a thankful acknowledgment of God's goodness in revealing to us the particulars of heavenly happiness, it behoves us to combine a continued RECOLLECTION of them; to cherish them in our THOUGHTS, and to make them the subjects of our earnest CONTEMPLATION.

And, first, such CONTEMPLATION may be recommended by reason of the immediate effect, which in itself it is calculated to produce.

The subject of a man's thoughts contributes much to the formation of his character. He, whose imagination is wont to dwell on the world and worldly things, will be apt to contract a character of a worldly cast. He will be o of the earth, earthy." 1 But he who is used to lift up his thoughts to high and heavenly things, and delights to feed his mind with the prospect of the glory that shall be revealed "i in the bodies of just men raised incorruptible, and in their spirits made perfect; of the excellency of their abode, and the purity of their joys, and the holiness of their companions, and the unmingled godliness of their pursuits and occupations in the presence of God and of Christ; will hardly fail of deriving thence by God's blessing, and infusing into his own character, some particles of a celestial spirit; and of advancing, by means of these “exceeding great and precious promises,” ? in that improvement of the inner man, which St. Peter terms a “partaking of the divine nature.” As “ the skin of Moses' face shone," when he had been holding converse with the Lord on Mount Sinai, so will the soul that ascends to “ Mount Sion,” and meditates on “ the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem,” 4 with all its appropriate and divine accompaniments, reflect in some degree its loveliness and splendor: according to that beautiful similitude of St. Paul, where he is describing the excellency of the Gospel dispensation, “ We all, with open face, beholding as in a glass,” or mirror, “ the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 5

1 1 Cor. xv. 47.

8 Exod. xxxiv. 29.

1 Rom. viii. 18.

Heb. xii. 22.

2 Pet. i. 4
2 Cor. iii. 18.

8

« ÎnapoiContinuați »