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CHRIST, when his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment wag white as the light. It is not then the language of figure but of fact, which Christians will realize, if they are faithful members of Christ's mystical body, when it is said, “The righteousshall shine forth as the sun; they shall shine as the brightness of the firmament and as the stars forever and ever.” The Savior said that the children of the resurrection will be equal to the angels, and therefore will resemble angels in their glory and beauty. Like the angels, they will be endowed with youth and unabated activity ; eternal youth, and perpetual vigor, experiencing neither weariness or decay. Who then would not join the Christian in his joyful exclamation, I would not live alway, since, by dying, he will resemble the sun in splendor, and flourish like angels in immortal youth ?
In Heaven, the faculties of the mind, as well as those of the body, will in a wonderful measure be strengthened and perfected. If this vile body, the subject of infirmity and disease, and which is soon to be mingled with the dust, is to be reanimated and restored to more than pristine dignity and excellence, -is to shine as the light, and to be like the ascended body of the King of Glory,-how much higher improvement and elevation are to be received and attained by the mind ? If the inferior obtains such honor, what must that be which will be conferred upon the superior part of man? Advanced to a world where error is never known, and where truth, eternal and unvarying, is ever presented to the attention, the judgment will never mistake, nor lead astray.
The memory, perfected and made retentive, will preserve whatever is committed to its trust. The understanding, thus aided by the other mental powers, redeemed and invigorated, will be making perpetual advances in knowledge. For not only will the faculties of the mind be improved, but the field of investigation will be proportionably enlarged. The scene of observation and improvement will not be this little earth, and its limited productions, but the wonders and glories of the celestial regions. I would not jive alway, in prospect of such an increase of knowledge and intelligence, the perpetual subject of mental imperfection, of ignorance and weakness. There are mysteries in Providence, in nature and redemption, which will in Heaven be explained. I
would then rather depart thither, where I shall know, even also as I am known.
I WOULD NOT LIVE ALWAY, away from my home. How many pleasing associations, and tender recollections, are awakened by the mention of home. Around what place do the affections linger with such strong attachment, or what spot looks bright and happy, when the rest of the world appears dark and cheerless, but that characterized by the expressive word home? Where do the skies wear a peculiar brightness, and Nature present peculiar cheerfulness and loveliness, but at home?
Home is a place of friendship. There the youthful affections are first called into exercise, and the kindness with which they are reciprocated, awakens attachments that will long be cherished and perpetuated.
It is a place of security. Living in friendship, the inmates of home are secure from the mutual attacks of slander and misrepresentation. It is secure from that false invective, which embitters so much of the intercourse with a censorious and misjudging world.
It is a place of confidence. Bound together by common interests, and secure of each other's friendship, among the inmates of home, what room can there be for distrust?
It is a place of peace. Where Affection presides, Peace is her certain attendant, and will make home,
The place of happiness. That place cannot be miserable, where friendship, security, confidence, and peace are found to dwell.
The mention of home will awaken the recollection of the bonored father, who counselled and supported; of the kind mother, who consoled and cherished; and of the society and sweet converse of brothers and sisters.
But Heaven is the Christian's home. Here, he is a stranger and a sojourner ; but he is travelling to a city which hath foundations, the abode of friendship and peace. Divine love is the sacred principle that animates all hearts in the regions of bliss, from the "rapt seraph” to him who has “washed his robes in the blood of the Lamb.” It unites the inhabitants of Heaven in an indissoluble bond of harmony, and attaches them to God himself. Security also is there. Security from the influence of unholy Vol. II.-3
affections. Into Heaven, sinful passions, which here make the human bosom the abode of wretchedness, can never intrude. There will be security from the temptations and hostility of wicked men, and from the enmity and malice of the great spiritual foe. With the Prince of Peace, peace shall ever reign, and from the right hand of God shall flow the river of his pleasures forevermore.
I would not live alway separated from my pious friends, in whose sacred society, and holy friendship, I found such delight and profit, but who have preceded me in their entrance into glory. For in Heaven the pious friendships of this world shall be renewed and perpetuated. Children will be restored to their parents, and parents will again rejoice in the presence and esteem of their children. Ah, how fully will the pious mother be rewarded for all her prayerful watchings, and kind assiduities, and untiring solicitude, when, in the world of light and glory, she shall find that, of the children God has given her, not one is lost, but each one is there, with the crown of life upon his head, the palm of victory in his hand, and in his mouth the new song of salvation !
In Heaven will be enjoyed the society of the pious and holy of all ages-of Adam, the first and great father of the human family ; of Noah, the progenitor of a new world; of Abraham, the founder of the Jewish people, and the father of the faithful of all nations; of Moses, who talked with God, face to face; of David, the sweet singer of Israel ; of a host of prophets and apostles, of whom were we to speak, time would fail us; of Paul, who labored in the cause of his Master, more abundantly than all others, and who now wears a richer crown; of those holy martyrs of the primitive Church; of that multitude of Christian worthies, of whom the world was not worthy; of the heroic reformers from the corruptions of popery, who counted not their lives dear to themselves; of the devoted modern missionaries of the Cross, who have given an example of apostolic zeal and heroism; of Brainard, the early apostle to the neglected and abused aborigines of this country; and of Martyn and Heber, names which will long be embalmed in the endeared recollection of Christians. And could the Heavens be spread, and our faith be lost in sight, we should see them clothed in robes of light, and hear them, with hearts of love, and tongues of fire, singing hallelujah, hallelujah to the Lamb,
I would not live alway, for in the midst of that holy brotherhood is Jesus CHRIST, their elder brother, the faithful and true witness; that Jesus, the desire and Savior of all nations; and whom I desire to see; my Savior ! to whom, I have so often prayed, and in whom I have so long trusted ; Him who has for years been my invisible teacher and defence, and whom, though not seeing, yet have I loved !
With what profit and pleasure do I read the words of CHRIST, as recorded by his apostles ; much greater would have been my satisfaction to have heard, like his personal followers, his instructive conversation, and to have sat at his sacred feet, like the attentive and commended Mary. What then will be the enraptured delight, and holy ecstacy, conferred by his presence and fellowship in Heaven?
Is there a glorious company of apostles now praising God, and would I live alway, in this state of misery, and be excluded from their society? Is there a noble army of martyrs now surrounding the Father of Spirits, and would I live alway, and be prevented from joining their song of adoration? Is there a goodly fellowship of prophets, arrayed in white, and now praising God, and would I live alway, and exclude myself from their blissful employment ? Are there the redeemed of every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, around the throne of God, enjoying the felicity of his immediate presence, and increasing in knowledge and happiness --and would I live alway in ignorance and wretchedness? And could those redeemed ones answer us from the thrones of their glory, would they say, "We would have lived alway?" Can children desire to remain away from their home,--or pilgrims from their own country,-or travellers from the end of their journey,or citizens from their citizenship, or beirs from their heritage ? No !--I would not live alwayj, since to die is such gain; and in prospect of the glory to be so soon revealed, my heart exclaims, Come quickly, even so come, LORD JESUS!
CHRISTIANS,—you, who are renewed in heart and life, who are made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and who are now led by the Spirit,---ye shall not live alway. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord shall deliver him out of them all. Ye shall not live alway, groaning in this earthly tabernacle, but ye shall soon be clothed upon, with your house from Heaven. Look at the sun, as he goes forth in his strength-thus shall ye soon shine forth in glory and immortality. Look at the stars, as at night they beautify the heavens—thus shall ye soon shine forever and ever. Ye shall not alway be the subject of mental weakness and error, for ye shall soon be like the angels. Ye shall not alway be the servants of sin, since ye shall soon enter into rest, and cease from sin. Ye shall not alway be the witnesses, as well as the subjects of human wretchedness, for ye shall arrive at those regions, where there is neither pain, nor crying, nor death. Ye shall not alway be absent from your home, but shall go to Jesus CHRIST, and to his Father, and your Father; to his God, and your God. Instead of the thorny path of this life, your feet shall soon tread the golden streets of the Holy City; and instead of lamentation and complaint, your mouths shall soon be filled with the song of Moses and the Lamb.
My BRETHREN: You cannot live alway; though the impenitent and worldly will say, "We would live alway. Give us enough of this world, and we wish for none better. Give us the riches and honors and pleasures of the world, and we should never wish to die.” But what would you be profited, should you gain the whole world, and lose your own souls? It is appointed unto men to die. What do the vacant seat at the fireside, and the added stone at the burial place, teach, but that death is in every family? It is appointed unto men to die. You may banish the thought from your minds, and yet you must die. You may live in impenitence and opposition to God, and yet you must die. You may live in the neglect of prayer, and the word of God, and make no preparation for the awful reality, and yet you must die. It is appointed unto men to die. But after death the judgment. As death leaves you, so will the judgment find you. There is no repentance, nor faith, nor hope, in the grave to which you are hastening. Death, judgment-eternity--heaven-hell—happiness, ---misery of a soul that can never die,-are tremendous realities. May God write the important lesson they should teach, upon the hearts of us all, and prepare us for our great change, through his infinite mercy in CHRIST JESUS our Lord. Amen.