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have been the means of introducing him to that heavenly state. As “ the wickedness of the wicked” will have altogether disqualified him for the enjoyment of heaven, could he be admitted there, so “ the righteousness of the righteous "I will have
1 trained and disciplined him through the Redeemer's merits for the participation of his joy; and thus the contemplation of the happiness of heaven should animate us to apply our knowledge of the particulars, of which it will consist, to our present improvement, by adapting our thoughts and affections and conduct, as much as possible, to “ the glory that is to be revealed.” “ To be carnally-minded is death ;" 2 such a condition is one of estrangement both from the possession, and from the capability of enjoyment, of everlasting life: but “to be spiritually minded,” with respect to the qualifications for enjoying the heavenly reward, as well as to the acquisition of the reward itself, “ is life and
THE HOLY CITY.
O! 'tis a glorious city! passing ken
Of eye, and stretch of thought! earth's cities glow
With no such lustre, nor such riches show.
pure and holy. There with sainted men,
* Ezek. xviii. 20.
* Rom. viii. 6.
God dwells, and He who once for man was slain,
Therein, by him must thitherward be trod
Defilement enters not. And lo, in broad Letters of light its charter is enrolled,
“ None but the pure in heart shall see their God.”
GRATITUDE DUE TO GOD FOR THE GIFT OF HEAVENLY
But, finally, whilst we speak of the means and qualifications, whereby we must be admitted to and prepared for heavenly happiness, let us at the same time recollect, and never cease to bear in mind, that, after all, the bappiness of heaven is freely bestowed by the divine favor for the alone merits of the Redeemer.
“ The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 However the contemplation of
.” it may operate upon us to the several purposes which have been now considered; however it may contribute to form our characters, and to supply motives for our practice, and to stimulate our desires and our exertions in its pursuit, and to wean us from the good things of this world, and to support us under this world's evils, and to assist us in mortifying the works of the flesh, and in acquiring heavenly qualifications :—and unless it does operate to such purposes as these, the mere contemplation of heavenly happiness " shall be as a dream of a night vision; it shall even be as when a hungry man dreameth, and, behold, he eateth ; but he awaketh, and his soul is empty; or as when a thirsty man dreameth, and, behold, he drinketh; but he awaketh, and behold he is faint, and his soul hath appetite;" —but, I say, to whatever good purposes it may operate upon us, it is impossible that any act or acts of ours can be of value to purchase for us that “ unspeakable gift of
1 Rom. vi. 23.
. God.” 2 “ All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God, being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; so tliat, although at the last day, when “God will render to every man according to his deeds," " to them, who, by patient continuance in well-doing, seek for glory and honor and immortality, will be rendered eternal life,” with “ glory, honor, and peace;" 4 that reward will be bestowed upon them, not for their own sakes, but by the mercy and loving-kindness of God, and for the sake of his only-begotten and well-beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Isa. xxix. 8.
3 2 Cor. ix. 15.
Thus, as our GRATITUDE is due to God for the knowledge which he has vouchsafed us of the future happiness of the blessed, so is it still more due for the gift itself. “Blessed, therefore, be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved for us in heaven!” Blessed be He, who hath by 1
, • his Spirit revealed to us, what he hath prepared for them that love him!” 2 66 Praise our God,
ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. And as we commenced these our meditations with a thankful and affectionate acknowledgment of his goodness, so let us now bring them to a close with the like commemorative tribute of devotion: humbly presenting our thanks and praises to
Almighty God, who through his only-begotten Son Jesus Christ hath overcome death, and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life:" 4 and adding withal our supplications, “ that we, which know
, him now by faith, may after this life have the fruition of his glorious Godhead through the same Jesus Christ our Lord;” 5 where “ with angels and archangels, and all the company of heaven, we may laud and magnify his glorious name, evermore
1 1 Pet. i 3, 4.
Rev. xix. 5.
• Collect for the Epiphany.
praising him and saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts, heaven and earth are full of thy glory; glory be to thee, O Lord most high. Amen.
THANKS TO GOD FOR THE GIFT OF
Who to man's sight unfolds the bliss above ?
Who on lost man bestows that blissful prize ?
Who bids the musing spirit thither rise, The heart desire it, and the mind approve ? Who, when the wayward thoughts to distance rove,
Recalls them home, and points them to the skies ?
Who gives the terms, and strength withal supplies To heed and keep them ? He whose name is Love. He sent, from heaven's adoring hosts among,
His Son to save us : He to heavenly rest Invites his saved. O, be his bounty sung,
To him be glory, thanks, and praise addrest : The loud Hosanna of the tuneful tongue,
The deep still homage of the thoughtful breast !
i Communion Service.