Obrazy na stronie

virtuous Friendships among the rest, and naturally revive the spirit of union, and the sentiment of preference, which gave them birth?

There likewise we learn in the clearest manner, that the great body of obedient believers who entered into being in the fame region of the univerfe called Earth, who were subjected to the same circumstances of general trial, in order to the subsequent enjoyment of the same common felicity, shall, after being conducted by the same divine Leader and Deliverer through their terrestrial conflict, be raised · together, judged together, acquitted to

gether, and together established in one everlasting community of love, to inha. bit jointly one capacious and undecaying metropolis known by the name of Heaven, or the New Jerusalem, or the City of the living God, the centre of his vast immortal empire, and the eternal abode of his whole blessed family. But, to repeat

a question which has been very properly asked on this subject, by an amiable Divine and Philosopher, “ Is it possible that “ we should be happy hereafter in the “ same feats of joy, under the same perfect 6 government, and as members of the “ same heavenly fociety, and yet remain “ strangers to one another? Being in the “ fame state with our present virtuous " Friends and relations, will they not be “ accessible to us? and, if acceslible, shall " we not fly to them, and mingle hearts “ and souls again?”

It may be farther argued, What christian can doubt, that we shall see and know the glorious body of our Saviour advanced above the sublimest orders of angelic existence? And if one corporeal form may be seen and known, why not more? If our Elder Brother, as he has been sometimes styled, why not others of our sacred fraternity, whose bodies, we are expressly assured, will be fashioned like his ? If the twelve thrones of the Judges of Israel shall be so eminently splendid, as we must conclude from what we are told, how, it has been also asked, shall we not distinguish and acknowledge them? If the three disciples on the mount of transfiguration knew Moses and Elias, how much more shall we know those illustrious Saints in the world of perfect vision? If even the rich sensualist in the prison of despair, is said to have known Lazarus and Abraham at an unapproachable distance, can we believe the inhabitants of Heaven to be endowed with less discernment? Should you object, that it is only a parabolical representation, you will still allow, thac He who delivered it, not only proceeded on the prevailing doctrine of mutual knowledge in a future state, but had too much veracity to affirm that any thing was done which could not be done. It may be added, that when St. Paul admonished such as mourned the death of their Friends, “ not " to sorrow as others who have no hope,” since “ them that sleep in Jesus, God will of bring with him,” the argument would not appear completely satisfactory, unless it included the prospect of recognizing, and of renewing former intimacy with,. those Friends at the resurrection of the just; the heart, without this, being still left to the apprehension of for ever losing one of its purest enjoyments, the known communion of such as it had long loved and cherished from the best motives. The same inspired man, fpeaking elsewhere of those whom he had converted to the faith and practice of Christianity, asks with a kind of friendly exultation, 6 What is « our hope, our joy, our crown of re« joicing? Are not even ye in the pre« sence of our Lord Jesus at his coming ?” But does not this style plainly imply, that St. Paul expected to see, and know, and triumph, with those beloved disciples at the final consummation? And may not such in every age, as have had the peculiar happiness of training others to virtue and glory, derive peculiar delight from inte the same idea?. .

* Having repeatedly mentioned the Red surrection, I would only observe yet farther on this article, that if the internal character is frequently discoverable through the dusky veil of matter with which it is now enveloped, we have surely reason to think it will shine out, with an effulgence impossible to be mistaken or overlooked, when the soul is clothed with her lucid, transparent, ethereal, and incorruptible body, at that last and brightest period. 'n

These are a part of the reflections with which I have comforted my own mind, when it has pleased the Almighty to take away some precious individuals whose fociety was sweeter than the light of day; and I thought myself called upon to lay them before you, my honoured hearers, when I was recommending a connexion, which, without the expectation of meeting again in the mansions of eternity, would, on the disjunction of virtuous Friends at death, be a source of anguish

« PoprzedniaDalej »