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forsaking of those earthly things, of those desires and works of the flesh, which will render us unfit for the future happiness of the blessed, and which will as surely shut us out of heaven, as that God is there; the same contemplation should also animate us to the cultivation of those affections, and the performance of those works, which are in accordance with the promised blessings, and will be at the same time the means of introducing us to them, and of preparing and qualifying us for their enjoyment.
Thus the Apostle, having called on the Colossians, in anticipation of their promised state of glory, to “mortify their members which are on the earth,” calls on them in addition for the cultivation of heavenly graces. “ Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercy, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; and above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness."1 And in like manner to the Ephesians he combines the two; “ that ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” 2
It is thus that the faithful disciple of Christ will find means of attaining to “ the joy of his Lord.” He must be not slothful, but a follower of them
who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” I “Giving all diligence,” he must “add
1 to his faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge ; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity: for so an entrance will be ministered unto him abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." 2 66 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gate into the city.”
It is thus also that Christ's faithful disciple will become better prepared and qualified for the enjoyment of his Lord's blessing.
Is heaven the abode to which he will be advanced? It has been the object of his desires and his endeavors, whilst, being persuaded that “here he has no continuing city, he has sought one to come.” 4
Will his body be changed, and spiritualised, and “ fashioned after the likeness of Christ's glorious body?” 5 It has been his endeavor, whilst on earth, to “ keep under his body, and to bring it into subjection ; " 6 to “mortify the deeds of it;"? to “be temperate in all things, striving for the mastery over it;" & to be “ conformed to the image of Christ.”
1 Heb. vi. 12.
2 2 Pet. i. 5, &c.
8 Rev. xxii. 14.
Will his “ spirit be made perfect in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, after the image of God who created him?" “ Having the hope of seeing God," and of being made “like him” in heaven, he hath endeavored on earth to “purify himself, even as he is pure;" 1 and in the prospect
» of the promises of God, to “cleanse himself from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." 2
Will his condition be henceforth one of unearthly, of celestial, occupations and delights? “For the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, he has continually pressed toward the mark, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.” S 66 The crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give him in that day,” 4 has been the great object of his ambition; and, in the hope of attaining it, he has “ fought a good fight,” he has “finished his course," he has “ kept the faith.” His « treasure has been laid
in heaven;" and " where his treasure has been, there has his heart been also." 5
Will his future existence be there passed in purity and holiness, in the practice of that " charity" which “ never faileth," and in the worship and service of God? The love of God, and the love of his neighbor, have been the ruling principles of his former life; and herein has he exercised himself, to have always a conscience void of offence towards God and towards man;" 1 and “ denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world ; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.' 2
: Phil. ii. 13.
1 1 John üi. 3. * 2 Tim. iv. 8.
2 Cor. vii. 1. S Matt, vi. 21.
Will he be thenceforth associated with the spirits of just men made perfect, with the general assembly and church of the first-born which are written in heaven, and with an innumerable company of angels,” in the presence of “ Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and of God the Judge of all?" His most cherished society upon earth have been those good men, whom he has found “righteous before God, and walking in the comrnandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless." 3 With those who have finished their earthly course in the true faith and fear of God, and are gone hence to rest in Christ, and with those heavenly and more exalted creatures, who, though unseen, have ministered to him in his progress to the inheritance of salvation, and whose business and delight it ever is to do the will of their Father
1 Acts xxiv. 16.
? Titus ii. 12-14.
8 Luke i. 6.
in heaven, he has continually had fellowship in thought; rejoicing in their happiness, copying their virtues, and emulating the brightness of their crowns: and “ seeing himself compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses,” i he has striven
lay aside every weight, and to run with patience the race that was set before him.” Especially, and above all, he has " looked unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of his faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despised the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." 2 With God himself the Father, as with his Son Jesus Christ, it has always been his delight to hold communion in prayer and meditation, and his appointed ordinances; “ choosing rather," if such be the Divine will, “ to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season ; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures" 3 of this world; “ having respect unto the recompence of the reward;” 4 by the eye of faith “ seeing him who is invisible ;' 5 and submitting himself, his will and his actions, to God's wisdom; and continually " walking with God.” 6
Thus the existence of the faithful Christian here will have been a preparation for his future existence hereafter, at the same time that it will
1 Heb. xii. 1,
2 Heb. xi. 2.
3 Heb. xi. 25.