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nal; things heavenly, in opposition to earthly things; they are things eternal, as opposed to what is only temporal. Thus much is in general meant by "the things above." They refer to the kingdom of grace here, and of glory hereafter. But it will be proper to narrow this wide view of the subject, and to consider that part of it to which the words of the text seem more immediately to refer; I mean, the joys and employments of those who are admitted into the kingdom above. "Set your affections on things above;" set your affections on heaven, on its happiness, and its services. Would we rightly know (though it be through a glass darkly) what these are, we must with heart and mind thither ascend where Christ' has gone before, and there continually have our conversation. They are the pleasures which are at his right hand for evermore; the joyful adoration which is constantly paid to God and to the Lamb; the palms, the harps, the songs of the blessed, whose robes are washed white in the blood of the Lamb; the society of angels and of the spirits of the just; the absence of all pain and grief, temptation and sin; the sight of God as he is; entire conformity to his image; and unerring obedience to his will. These things, productive as they are of the highest happiness, and such as eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor man's heart hath conceived, are but a faint representation of the things above," on which we are commanded to " set our affections."

II. But what is it "to set our affections" on these things? To set our affections upon them implies, first, that we view them as realities. We must believe that things exist, that they are real and substantial, before we shall be induced to seek after them. It is the child, not the man, who chases the rainbow. It is the certainty that he has a home which makes the traveller in distant lauds sigh to return to it. We must have the evidence," a

conviction of the real existence, "o things not seen," in order that we may be induced to set our hearts upon them, and toil through every difficulty to obtain them. Who would sail with a daring adventurer in search of new islands or new continents, and encounter the storms and perils of the ocean, with his life and all his property embarked in the enterprize, if he did not believe the reality of the object of his search? It is the same with us. Unless by faith we behold things invisible; unless we can believe that there are things above worthy of our pursuit, our desires must necessarily be cold, and our endeavours devoid of earnestness and sincerity.

2. But what hope could any man who knows himself, his weakness and sinfulness, have of entering into heaven; and what inducement, therefore, could he have for setting his affections upon it, and labouring to attain it, if it were not represented in Scripture as a free gift, purchased by the death, and bestowed by the grace, of his Redeemer and Intercessor? But for this, the obstacles to his reaching that pure and holy place would appear to be such as could not be overcome. His state would be hopeless, and he would see it to be so.

For how could he make that the object of his affectionate desire and pursuit which he was persuaded could not be attained ? Hope is the very spur of all exertion. We may indeed suppose a selfish man to desire heaven as a place of deliverance from sorrow and anguish, though not as a place of deliverance from sin, and a scene of holy employment. A heaven of holy obedience and grateful adoration can be desired only by humble and holy men. And yet such persons would give up the pursuit of it in despair, were they not told of their gracious Advocate in the courts above, who, after having obtained eternal redemption for his people, had gone before to prepare a place for them, and by his Spirit was now conducting them thither, that where

be is, there they might be also. The throne of a holy and heart-searching God, who cannot look on sin without abhorrence, and who has declared that he will by no means clear the guilty, would be too awful an object for such to think of approaching it, did they not know that Jesus Christ, their atonement, and their intercessor with God, is also exalted to the throne in heaven, and " is able to save them to the utmost that come unto God by him."

3. To set our affections on any thing must imply preference and esteem. This is the condition of our nature. We cannot, then, set our affections on heaven, unless we prefer it to earth. The man whose heart is fixed on " things above," must have a lively view of the comparative emptiness and vanity of things below. He must have entered into the spirit of our Lord's solemn question, "What shall it profit a man if he should gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" In how many different lights does our Saviour place the excellency of the kingdom of heaven, in order to increase our esteem of it, and our desires after it. It is "a pearl of great price;" "treasure hid in a field;" a place of perfect security, "where no thief approacheth, neither rust corrupteth;" a place of transcendant glory, where we shall be "as the angels." He warns us also deliberately to count the cost, declaring that the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence; and that it is the violent, those who so prize it as to be willing to make the most strenuous efforts for that end, who at length reach it. Is not all this intended to shew us, that unless we value heaven so much as to be willing to submit to any sacrifices, however painful, and to make any exertions, however difficult, rather than come short of it, we cannot consider our hearts as properly set upon it, nor ourselves as likely to

attain it ?

III. We proceed to consider the motives and encouragements we have thus to act. It ought to be a

great inducement with us to set our affections on things in heaven, to consider that, by our calling and profession as Christians, we are bound to renounce those on earth. The apostle Paul frequently insists on this. "Ye are dead," dead by your very profession, to this world; "buried with Christ by baptism unto death." We have also each of us contracted an express and solemn obligation to this effect. We have promised to renounce the pomps and vanities of this wicked world. As many as have been baptized have thereby confessed themselves to be strangers and pilgrims upon earth, and have declared their determination to seek a better country, even a heavenly. There are, indeed, many hindrances to this course. The world, the flesh, and the devil stand opposed to it. But then our everlasting all depends upon it; and though our difficulties are great, our means of overcoming those difficulties are more than sufficient, if we will but avail ourselves of them. The Throne of Grace is open to us: we are invited to come to it boldly, there to obtain grace to help us in the time of need. Christ, our forerunner, has already entered within the veil; and we are allowed to fix our hope on him as an anchor to our souls, to keep us stedfast in our heavenly course. Jesus, who is the Saviour of his people, who has shed his blood to redeem them, who is their Head and Representative, the Author and Finisher, the Captain of their salvation, rules over all things in heaven and in earth. All powers and principalities submit to his authority. The hosts of heaven fall prostrate at his feet. All the powers of darkness tremble before him. Though we are weak, he is strong; though we are unworthy of the Divine regards, yet he pleads for us, and his merit is infinite.

And here let us faithfully ask ourselves, on what our affections are placed. Are we living to God, or to ourselves? Do we seek our own

things, or the things of Jesus Christ?

These are momentous questions. Time is hastening on; and we are dying, accountable creatures. Let us not flatter ourselves that God will condemn us only for gross and notorious sins. If we do not supremely love Him, and endeavour to advance His glory, we shall in the end be numbered with those who have forgotten God. "The wicked shall be turned into hell, with all the nations that forget God;" that neglect to pay him the homage of hearts filled with his love, and devoted to his service. The rich man who lifted up his eyes in torment, and his companion in misery, who comforted his soul with the thoughts of his goods laid up for many years, may have led, for any thing we know to the contrary, what the bulk of mankind would call harmless and innocent lives. Their crime seems to have been, that, instead of being spiritually minded, they were selfish and sensual. They set their affections on the things below, not on those above; and thus they perished for ever. And thus will it be with all those who tread in their steps, who choose this world for their portion. They have chosen a hard service, and a most unsatisfying portion. They are preparing for themselves the bitterness of disappointed hope. It shall even be as when a hungry man dreameth, and behold he eateth; but he awaketh, and his soul is empty and when a thirsty man dreameth, and behold he drinketh; and he waketh and behold he is faint, and his soul hath appetite." Let us awake, then, from our dream of fancied security, to contemplate the awful realities of a death and judgment to come; and let us lift up our hearts unto the Lord. Heaven is surely worth our seeking. "One day in those courts is better than a thousand days of worldly joy;" and it is to an eternity of such blessedness that we are called to raise our hearts. In the view of it, let us adopt the language and cherish the feelings of David, when he thought on the house of

his God, and on the delights of com munion with him. "How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of Hosts! My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God."

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I am anxious to enforce the necessity of thus setting our affections on things above. It will not avail us that we are merely free from gross sins, that we are regular in the outward duties of religion, unless our whole lives are regulated by the word of God, and the temper of our minds is holy, heavenly, spiritual; unless we are anxiously praying and labouring to be delivered from the bondage of a corrupt nature, and to be admitted into the glorious liberty of the children of God; unless our desire and strenuous aim be, that Christ may dwell in our hearts by faith here, and that we may dwell with him hereafter. We may not be vain, or slothful, or dissipated; we may be friendly and humane in our disposition; we may be mindful of many social and relative duties; we may attend with regularity the public worship of God; we may establish the worship of God in our families; we may instruct our children and our servants; we may join in many good and charitable and even pious works; we may be the professed admirers of pure and evangelical religion; we may be all this: and, indeed, we must be all this, if we have any claim to be regarded as Christians: but, I repeat it, we may be all this, and yet come short of the kingdom of God. All is unavailing without that spiritual mind which is life and peace, without that faith which worketh by love, without that deadness to the world and the things of it, and that holy elevation of soul, which are especially implied in the words of the text. affections on things above, not on things on the earth; for ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." And then when Christ, who is your life, shall appear, ye shall also appear with him in glory."

Set your

How inconceivable must be the misery of that man, who has been flattering himself with the hope of heaven, until he arrives at heaven's gate, and finds it barred against him. The conviction that he has been deceived, at once bursts upon him in its full blaze. "Lord, Lord, open unto us!" "I know you not whence ye are; depart from me into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels."

But let us turn to contemplations of a more cheering kind; to the view of those who, having set their affections on things above, at length ar rive on the borders of that world on which their hearts have been fixed. Behold holy Simeon, on the eve of his departure from this life: "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation." Consider the faith, the hope, and the love of the martyred Stephen: "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge; Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. Behold I see the heavens opened, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God." Hear St. Paul in the view of his dissolution: "I have fought a good fight; I have finished my course; I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the righteous Judge will give me in that day, and not to me only, but to all them that love his appearing." Nor have there been wanting those in every age of the church who have manifested, in the hour of death, the unspeakable advantage there is in having set their affections during life on things above. And even if this were not the case, even if they should have no opportunity of leaving their dying testimony to this truth, it is not on that account the less certain. To those who have really set their af fections on things above, however clouded their departure hence may be, an abundant entrance will assuredly be administered into the ever Jasting kingdom of their God and Saviour. This is true, as God himself is true. He has pledged his own

faithfulness and truth, that those who are thus wise shall shine for ever as the brightness of the firmament.

And, finally, let us bear it in mind, that we must not only desire and wish for heaven, but we must pursue it with earnestness and constancy, in the way which God hath appointed, and with clear apprehensions of its real nature. Let us seek it as the free gift of God through Jesus Christ; as a temple where God, and also the Lamb, are served and worshipped for ever; as a place where nothing enters that defileth; as a complete deliverance from sin as well as sorrow. Let us gladly forsake every thing, however sanctioned by custom, however dear to us by habit, which would retard us in this pursuit; and let us follow Christ. Let us act, in regard to heaven, as we do in the case of those things below which engross our affections; renouncing whatever might prevent our attaining them; despis ing reproach; submitting to labour and toil; exercising forethought, care, vigilance, perseverance. If we would get to heaven, let our employments now be heavenly; let us act with heaven in our eye; let us meditate upon it; let us talk of it; let us not only pray, "Thy kingdom come," but let our efforts also be directed to this end. If we thus

labour to enter into that rest," we may be confident that He, whose only gift it is that our hearts are thus far set on things above, will carry on his work in us, until we are made meet to partake of the glorious inheritance of his saints.-Now unto him who alone is able to keep sus from falling, and to present us faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy; to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

To the Editor of the Christian Observer. IN reading the tenth volume of South's Works, which I lately borrowed of a friend, I was very much

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"Original Sin. It may seem strange, perhaps, that sin bears date with our very being; and indeed, in some respect, prevents it;-that we were sinners before we were born; and seem to have been held in the womb, not only as infants for the birth, but as malefactors in a prison ;—and that, if we look upon our interests in this world, our forfeit was much earlier than our possession. We are' (says the Apostle) by nature children of wrath,' Ephes. ii. 3. Not only by depravation, or custom, and ill-contracted habits, but by nature; the first principle and source of action. And nature, we know, is as entire, though not as strong, in an infant as in a grown man. Indeed, the strength of man's natural corruption is so great, that every man is born an adult sinner. Sin is the only thing in the world which never had an infancy, that knew no minority. Tantillus puer, tantus peccator,' says St. Austin. Could we view things in semine,' and look through principles, what a nest of impurities might we see in the heart of the least infant! like a knot of little snakes wrapt up in a dunghill! What a radical, productive force of sin might we behold in all his faculties, ready upon occasion and the maturity of age, to display itself with a cursed fertility! There are some, I know, who deny that, which we here call original sin, to be indeed properly any sin at all; and will have it, at the most, not to be our fault, but our infelicity. And their reason is, because nothing can be

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truly and properly sin which is not voluntary; but original corruption in infants cannot be voluntary, since it precedes all exercise of their rational powers, their understanding, and their will. But to this 1 answer, that original corruption, in every infant, is voluntary, not in-. deed in his own person, but in Adam his representative; whose actions, while he stood in that capacity, were virtually, and by way of imputation, the acts of all his posterity: as amongst us, when a person serves in parliament, all that he votes, in that public capacity or condition, is truly and politically to be esteemed the vote of all those persons, for whom he stands and serves as representative. Now, inasmuch as Adam's sin was free and voluntary, and also imputed to all his posterity, it fol lows that their original corruption, the direct and proper effect of this sin, must be equally voluntary; and being withal irregular, must needs be sinful, Age, and ripeness of years does not give being, but only opportunity to sin. That principle, which lay dormant and inactive before, is then drawn forth into sinful acts and commissions. When a man is grown up, his corruption does not begin to exist, but to appear; and to spend upon that stock which it had long before. Pelagius, indeed, tells us, that the sons of Adam came to be sinners only by imitation, But, then, I would know of him, what those first inclinations are which dispose us to such bad imitations? Certainly that cannot but be sinful which so powerfully and almost forcibly inclines us to sin. We may conclude, therefore, that even this original, native corruption renders the persons who have it obnoxious and liable to death. evil heart will condemn us, though Providence should prevent its running forth into an evil life. Sin is sin, whether it rests in the inclinations, or shoots out into the practice: and a toad is full of poison, though he never spits it."-South's Works, vol. x. pp. 315-317.


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