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and the principles and affections excited by his influence, were a " seal”-an “ earnest” of their celestial inheritance. Here was that delightful state of assurance described elsewhere by the apostle. “ For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Now he that hath wrought us for the self-same thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord : (for we walk by faith, not by sight:) we are confident, I say, and willing rather

, to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord."* Nor was such certainty confined, as some have affirmed, to apostolic persons and times. The evidence of a right to future glory is a permanent privilege, and is still afforded to the redeemed church; still does the

; Spirit bear his witness with the saints, and bring them to the full assurance of faith and hope; still does he enable them to claim a portion in immortality, and call the joys of heaven their

Men may call it a phantasy, they may deride and reject it as the dream of enthusiasm, or the dogma of presumption, but the fact is not to be shaken. Even now, we are sealed," and have “ the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts ;” and the pledge is strongest, where the diligence is greatest to make the “ calling and



* 2 Cor. v. 1,


election sure.” How honoured is the state“knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance,” and assured that neithercraft norforce, neither the temptations of earth nor the malice of hell, can tear us from our hold! After such a condition as this, who would not diligently and fervently aspire ?

My hearers, I put it to you with solicitude -have

you the hope of eternal life? Have you the prospect of being glorified with Christ and God? Have you reason to conclude, that you have possessions in that region of security, where the Almighty watches with all the energy of his power, and all the tenderness of his love? Amidst the turmoils and agitations now around you, and in a world rife with change and decay, can you look upward to the unalterable glories of the upper state, and deem that their fruition will be yours ?-Or, is there a secret testimony that you have no part in the world to come,—that your hope and portion are only below,—that you have nothing but this dross that must soon be scattered, in this life that must soon be closed, on this globe that must soon be destroyed ? 0, remember what there is to allure on the one side, and what there is to alarm on the other! Be it your first ambition to have your lot with the believing people of God. Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven. This will sanctify your trials, this will bless your prosperity, this will gloriously consummate your being; and the gift of your “ substance” shall be finally ratified, when, amidst the last decisions of the great day, and in the presence of the congregated universe, the King from the throne shall say,—Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world !

We now design to illustrate another general remark : namely,

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In immediate connexion with the text, the apostle alludes to the practical effects produced upon Christian conduct in the present world by their expectation of eternal happiness. We will endeavour distinctly to state what influence should hence uniformly arise, and to produce the impression circumstances justly require.

1. If we know that we have “ in heaven a better and an enduring substance,” we shall not allow inordinate affection for the things of the present world.—“Mortify,” said the apostle Paul to the Colossians, “ inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry.' That such dispositions with their


* Col. iii. 5.

grosser companions should be cherished by man in his natural state, is to be expected ; they are the legitimate and regular offspring of a corrupted heart. But they who are looking for a heavenly country, are called to render secondary all temporal attachments, and to refuse the empire of the soul to aught that is beneath the skies. The maxim of Christ may be repeated —“ Where the treasure is, there will the heart be also ;" and if the treasure be in heaven, the heart cannot be on earth. There is, my Christian brethren, a constant danger lest the spirit of our vocation should be but partially remembered, and lest our communion with this material world should retard the ascent of our desires towards their proper home, and detain them here. Let that danger be resisted ; aim diligently and always, like the fathers of old, to “ confess that you are strangers and pilgrims on the earth, to declare plainly that you seek a country, and to desire a better country, that is, a heavenly. “ It remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; and they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not ; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; and they that use this world, as not abusing

: it.”+ In urging such an exhortation, we argue not for unfeeling and stoical indifference in the connexions which Providence has established : such indifference we condemn and we re


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* xi. 13-16.

+ 1 Cor. vii. 29–31.

nounce. Earth has its interests, and we would attend to them ; earth has its duties, and we would perform them; earth has its pleasures, and we would enjoy them ; earth has its friendships, and we would cherish them : but all that we attend to, all that we perform, all that we enjoy, all that we cherish, must be regulated and hallowed by the influence of anticipated futurity, or they will be snares to seduce us to irretrievable ruin. Otherwise than as that regulating and hallowing power operates, we shall, as consistent Christians, be as though we had nothing in common with beings and objects around; we shall hold no connexions, we shall sever all ties; we shall have around us the mysterious circle within which the profane cannot enter ; we shall be

strangers in this breathing world,” like spirits from a bright eternity, sojourning in meaner and darker haunts, and longing to return to

their glory!

2. If we know that we have in heaven a better and an enduring substance, we shall exercise patience and fortitude under the privations and sufferings of life.You have already heard that the apostle particularly connects this persuasion of future happiness with fortitude amidst present distresses,-as you will at once perceive by reading the preceding verses.

“ Call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions ; partly, whilst ye were made a gaz

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