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phire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun neither of the moon, to shine in it; for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day; for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie; but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.”—“And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month : and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse : but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants, shall serve him. And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever."'*
The work of religion, truly commenced, and truly carried on, issues into the happiness of heaven, which I have feebly attempted to describe. Tell me a greater work than that whose end is salvation the happiness of heaven beyond description or conception—the happiness of heaven without alloythe happiness of heaven without termination—the immediate society of that God in whose presence there is fulness of joy, and at whose right hand there are pleasures for evermore-ceaseless progression in a knowledge which shall be capable of satisfying the immense desires of an immortal mind; ceaseless advancement from one state of glory to another, each perfect in its kind; ceaseless accumulations of happiness, flowing from all the resources of an infinite God.
My friends, when I think of the character of heaven, its society, its business, its enjoyments, I am at no loss to discover a very decided reason why the great work of personal religion, which issues in that happiness, is neglected and despised. There is no unconverted man who has the least wish for such a heaven as has been described; and who will be religious for an issue which is not desirable ? I am perfectly willing to admit, my brethren, that there is even in the unconverted heart, a certain undefined desire after an unknown happiness beyond the grave, but it is not the kind of happiness which God has provided. Tell me, ye worldlings, is there any thing in the felicity of heaven as the Scripture un
* Rev. xxi. 10–12. 18—27. Rev. xxii. 1-5.
folds it to your view, which suits the taste and habit of your souls? Is there any thing in the society, the business or the enjoyments of the place which brings itself down to the level of your earthly desires and your grovelling pursuits and pleasures? How strangely would the man of warlike ambition feel, were he ushered into a society where perfect peace and love sincere have their eternal and uninterrupted reign. How strangely would the man, who seeks the honour which cometh from his fellow, feel in that place, where it is among the highest glory of the redeemed, to cast their crowns at the feet of Him who made them kings and priests unto God. How strangely would the man, ambitious of the honours of intellectual worth and scientific attainments feel, were he to enter among those whose highest glory is that they know the Lord as they are known of him. In heaven, the merchant who is here absorbed in his business would find no means of gain; and for the careless child of pleasure there would be, in heaven, no brilliant assemblies of the votaries of folly such as he loves, no soul-ruining theatres, no gaudy decorations of the person to minister to pride and vanity. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, in the Scripture representation of heavenly felicity, to make it in the least degree desirable to one solitary soul among you, who is yet in the slavery of the world, led captive by the devil at his will. Heaven would indeed be a sad, and sorrowful, and solitary place, for every individual of an earthly taste and an unchanged heart. And ought I to expect you to engage in a work of religion for an issue which you cannot possibly desire ? What is heaven? It is essentially the conformity of the mind and heart to God! What is the work of religion? The process of that conformity, beginning with a change of heart.
My dear friends, it is a most solemn and serious business to you, that in your state of unconcern and sin, you have no moral fitness for the enjoyment of God's glorious presence. Small would be the consequence of this, if this earth was destined to be the whole theatre of your display. But you are born for immortality. An undying spirit occupies the tabernacle of clay which is destined to perish, the food of corruption and the worm. In a very short period, every eye in this assembly shall be closed in death; the busy must leave his business; the worldly his pleasures; the gay his gaiety, and the thoughtless his unconcern. I do confess to you, my brethren, that it fills my soul with melancholy beyond expression, to think that of those by whom I am now surrounded, the great majority are living only for time and sense, while they neglect eternity; and that while doing this, you are standing on the narrow isthmus, which, but for a moment, divides the two. In a few short years, not an individual now here, will be seen in these pews. They will be occupied by another generation. But where will you be, when another generation has taken your places in the house of God? Where will you be ? In the heaven which I have described as the issue of the work of religion, or in that dreadful hell which awaits the neglectors and despisers of a Saviour's mercy. This is the record of God! The time is coming, when the dead shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
Beyond this vale of tears,
There is a life above,
And all that life is love.
There is a death, whose pang
Outlasts the flecting breath ;
Around the second death!
To the one or the other you are going; and soon, very soon, will the question be determined. But, by the mercies of God, by the dying love of Jesus Christ, by the worth of your souls, by the untold happiness of heaven, by the unutterable miseries of hell, I beseech you leave not the determination of that question till it must be settled in the bitter tears and the unavailing regrets of the world of eternal
Now is the time of your merciful visitation; now is the time to repent and be converted; to lay hold on Christ, to make him your wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption, to work while it is called to-day, to acquire the qualifications of heaven-a spiritual taste. Then, and only then, can you expect to see the King in his beauty, enjoy the society of heaven, mingle in its hallowed employments, tune your hearts and your voices to its melodies, take your part in its anthems, and become partakers of its inheritance-incorruptible, undefiled, unfading perfection. This is the issue of the work of religion. Earth knows none so great.