Изображения страниц

lined with Thorns; their distinguished Heads become the Marks against which the Shafts of Envy and Malice are perpetually discharged : Their Administration is rendred uneasy by popular Discontents, and the public Tranquillity destroyed by Schemes of Ambition and Avarice.

But the Kingdom of the Just is at all Times free from these disagreeable Circumstances. There the LORD God omnipotent reigneth: The most consummate Wisdom, impartial Justice, condescending Goodness, are displayed in every Part of the divine, Government. Universal Love reigns in every Breast. The Laws of Peace, Order and Harmony, are invariably observed through all the heavenly Mansions.

Heaven is called the Kingdom of God; because it is the chosen Residence of the supreme Monarch of the Universe. Here he has erected his Throne, and fixed the Seat of his eternal Empire. Here he appears in the Grandeur and Majesty of a God, and displays the awful and amiable Perfections of his Nature. His Smiles perpetu. ally irradiare these Regions. A Sense of his Love diffuses unutterable Joy to all the Subjects of his extensive Dominion. Myriads of adoring Seraphs surround his Throne, and with the Voice of Triumph celebrate the Honours of their KING. Clothed with the Charms of unfading Beauty, poffeffed of angelic. Strength and Vigour, they {tand before Him in fining Ranks, and with quick Obedience perform his sovereign Orders.


The Spirits of departed Saines immediately become Members of this pure and perfect Society, are admitted to the fame Dignity, partake of the same Joys, and with unutterable Transport join in the same Hallelujahs. The Rays which continually proceed from the Sun or RIGHTEOUSNESS, spread Life and Joy through every Part of this holy Community. All that die in the Faith of God's Elect, are appointed to dwell in this Kingdom, and are the Favourites of the King of Kings. They all share in its Honours, Riches. and Delights. They are adorned with the Title of Kings and Priests unto God. In this Character they stand before the Throne of God, and serve him Day and Night. Clothed with the unspotted Robes of the Mediator's Righteousness, they fhine with transcendent Glory. Each wears a Crown upon his Head, to intimate the Honour to which he is advanced : All have Palms in their Hands, as Ensigns of Victory and Triumph. What is the Splendor of an earthly Court, when compared with the dazzling Lustre in which the Sons of God appear in the Kingdom of their Fatber?

I add, the Habitation of the Righteous is not only described as a Place of Dignity, but Pleasure. To guard against the imaginary Dream of a Mahometan Paradise, its Pleasures are represented as pure and spiritual; such as exalt our Natures, and form us to a Resemblance of the Great Eather of our Spirits. ; ' .wine


· In this celestial Paradise, ample Provision is made to supply the Wants, fatisfy the Desires, complete the Happiness of the illustrious Relidents. They are freed from those Disorders of Body, those Distreff:s of Mind, which attend us through every Srage of our Pilgrimage upon Earch. None of the Inhabitants say they are fick : They flourish in immortal Youth and Vigour. The reviving Presence of God banisheth all Sorrow from their Breasts, and his own kind Hand wipes all Tears from their Eyes. The LAMB, which is in the midst of the Throne, feeds them with the heavenly Manna, and leads them to Fountains of living Waters. Then shall be fulfilled in the sublimest Sense that consolatory Promise, Behold, the Tabernacle of God is with Men; He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people; and God binself shall be their God (6). This contains every thing which is requisite to complete and perpetuate our Happiness; an Happiness superior to our largest Delires; an Happiness which surpasses qur highest Imaginations.

APPLICATION. • This Discourse will naturally lead us to many profitable REFLECTIONS: The Time will permit me to mention only two.

First, Hence we see the astonishing Folly of those who attach their Affection to the Vanities

B 2

of (6) Rev. xxi. 3. .

of the present Life, and neglect the Glories of a future World.

Who can behold, without a Mixture of Com, paflion and Grief, inconsiderate Mortals seeking Happiness where it is not to be found, and after a thousand Disappointments, pursuing a deluding Phantom? Caprivared with pleasing Dreams, they despise the only Felicity of a rational and immortal Mind: With unceasing Toil, they ranJack the whole Creation in search of something which will satisfy their Desires, and in every Place they meet with Vanity and Vexation. To use the Language of Inspiration, they spend their Money for that which is not Bread; and their Labour for that which satisfieth not(c). To increase their Unhappiness, they often mistake a fatal Poison for an agreeable Enjoyment: With eager Hafte they take down the intoxicating Draught, which configns thein over to Death and Misery. They vainly expect to be happy, in a World that lies under the Curse of the ALMIGHTY, and stupidly neglect that World, where Blessedness Aows in an uninterrupted Stream, and makes glad the City of God. Happiness is purchased for us by the Son of God, and the Gospel invites us to secure this inestimable Gift. But alas! Men are so in. fatuated, that they choose to 'walk in the prohibited Paths of Vice, though they lead to Hell; · and are unwilling to obferve the appointed road of Duty, though it conducts as safely to the Glo

ries (c) Ifai. lv. 2.

ries of Heaven. They remain the voluntary Slaves of Satan, when they might appear in the Character of the Sons of God. They wallow in those fordid Lufts which they enjoy in common with the Beasts that perish, and despise che Dig. nity and Blessedness of the Angels of Light. · How awfully is human Nature degraded from its primitive Rectitude! How aftonishing is the Madness of Mankind! The Service of God is neglected, that we may follow the Dictates of Appetite and Pallion ; Heaven is undervalued for the transitory Delights of Earth. The Man who lofes a Kingdom, that he may spend his Time in triling Amusements; the Man who for. feits an immense Estate for a momentary Pleasure, is not guilty of that Extremity of Folly, as the Wretch who forfeits the Favour of God that he may enjoy the fmiles of the World, and excludes himself the Joys of Paradise, that he may live without restraint in the Pomps and Delicacies of che present Life. What is the Grandeur of a Monarch! What the Wealth of the Indies! What the Pleasures of the most prosperous Sensualift! when compared with the unfading Honours, the incorruptible Treasures, the tran{porting Delights, which are reserved for the People of God? What Darkness vails the Understanding! What Stupidity possesses the Minds of Men! that they prefer the Things which are foon and temporal, ta the Things which though unseen are eternal ?


« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »