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it be not meant figuratively, it is spoken of Jesus Christ, who is ascended up into the heavens with his glorified body. When it is said that God shall be` seen face to face, it is to be understood of a clearer perception of his nature and attributes than we now possess; but we are not to suppose that he can ever be wholly known in his perfections and deerees. This is beyond the ken of angels. Such a fulness of knowledge and perception of the Deity shall, however, we may be assured, accompany the beatific vision of the Creator, as is essential to the perfect happiness of the creature and of more than this we need not be informed.
The dispositions and affections must also necessarily acquire an entire conformity to the divine will, and Love to God be perfected in holiness. With such love the most comprehensive charity must be united, -—a fervent charity towards every created being.
Then shall we be made happy in the recognition and society of the saints who have died in all ages of the Church; especially of those relatives and friends who have been dear to us on earth, if they, like ourselves, have attained to the end of their faith—the salvation of their souls. No ties shall be dissolved in the realms of bliss, but those which have had reference only to the body and earthly things. As in this mortal life the pure and holy can only find pleasure in that which they account pure and holy, so in a future life, the objects of their regard shall be made perfect and holy, even as their heavenly Father is perfect and holy and then our faculties shall be rendered capable of perceiving and enjoying whatever is truly estimable. Then all alloy of mutual happiness must be excluded; and that which diminishes all temporal delight-the fear of losing it-can have no place. But if here we
have, unconsciously, or through the frailty of our nature, set our affections on unworthy objects,when the veil is withdrawn, which now hides defor. mity, and we can love only that which is intrinsically amiable, these objects shall cease to interest us; and we shall see ample reason to bless the Omniscient for his just separation of the righteous from the unrighteous.
In the glorified state of the body, after the Resurrection, will unquestionably be found a source of unfading Joy. Delivered from all the necessary infirmities of animal life, as well as from the effects of sin, and endued with whatever is essential to its integrity and beauty, the body in heaven can only give completion to that joy which is unspeakable and full of glory-which the Scriptures represent under various images, all calculated to afford the best idea of felicity, that we can at present entertain-which, like all the other constituents in blessedness, is crowned by security,-by the absence of all dread of deprivation, or even of diminution,
§ 5. That there will be a disparity in the rewards of heaven, and different degrees of glory, appears to be as certain, as that there are various kinds and gradations of improvement of gifts and graces in the present life, which are probably intended to be matured, and to produce their respective fruits in a more perfect state than this. Notwithstanding this disparity, all shall possess whatever they are capable of enjoying; and their desires shall be satisfied :-for no jealousy or envy can be mingled with the joys of heaven.
This diversity of future retribution is generally af
firmed in Scripture, which teaches, that according to the quality of the seed we now sow, shall be the harvest which we shall reap hereafter. In some passages it is very expressly declared. We cannot doubt that the great and pious founders and defenders of the Church of God in all ages,-the Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, and Martyrs, shall be pre-eminently distinguished in the eternal and glorious kingdom of their Lord. So may we well conclude, that different degrees of glory shall be awarded to different degrees of attainment in the Christian character-nay-that every thought we cherish and every word we utter action we perevery form, which is conducive to the honour of God, and the welfare of his creatures, in obedience to his commands, and in the faith of Christ, shall also augment and elevate our own share of glory in the realms of peace and joy.
6. To eternal life is to be opposed-eternal Death!
This dreadful doom will consist, we are apprized, in a grievous expulsion from the presence of Godthe one source of happiness. Of the horror attending this rejection, there is a foretaste given here, in the conviction of sin, and apprehension of the Divine wrath ;—but it is only to be sustained, both in body and soul, in a future state. The punishment denounced is not only negative, but positive; it consists not only in loss, but in infliction: not only shall there be a tormenting sense of deprivation, but also an endurance of the penal anger of the Almighty; and of the stings of conscience, added to a jealous and devouring hatred of holiness and God.
All the descriptive language of Scripture on this
subject, presents an awful picture of the condition of the condemned, and of the torments to which both soul and body shall be exposed in Hell-Gehenna— the abyss-the prison, in which the society of the devil and his angels, of malignant and despairing spirits, deeply aggravates the horror.
A still further aggravation of misery-and that 'most dreadful in its nature-is to be expected from the presence and reproaches of those who have been the instigators, the companions, and the victims of our crimes on earth; from the impossibility of being extricated from the tyranny of evil passions which can never be satiated; and from the confederacy of the wicked, whose chief occupation may be the infliction of mutual torment.
The very inequality of punishment, which may be assigned to different degrees of crime, can only tend to give rise to fresh and unalleviated torments. No man hath seen or comprehended the punishments of the impenitent in another state :—a thick veil is mercifully cast over the mouth of the bottomless abyssbut enough of its terrors are made known, to serve as a sufficient warning, that we neglect not the great salvation which has rescued us from inevitable consignment to its dreadful darkness.
§ 7. It is enough to know, that the promise of sal. vation, though conditional, is universal;-that we,each of us,-have life and death-Eternal LifeEternal Death-this day set before us ;-that God gives us grace and power freely to choose the good, and to refuse the evil; that the invitations and promises, and the denunciations and threatenings of the Word of God, are all designed as means of grace,
together with many other powerful motives, to draw us to Jesus Christ, the Author and Finisher of our Faith, who is both able and willing to save, to the uttermost, all who come to him in sincere reliance on the efficacy of his atonement, and who desire to manifest their love towards him by keeping his commandments.
Who then shall inherit ETernal Life? Even they-to recapitulate all that has gone before,-even they, who have given evidence, in fruits of holiness and charity, that they have with the heart believed unto righteousness, and with the mouth made confession unto salvation-that they have practically believed in, and sincerely confessed, THE ONE True GOD, subsisting in a Trinity of Persons, co-essential, and co-eternal;-in God the Father, that He is the infinitely great, perfect, and everlasting Creator of the universe; that he is not only our Father, as having called us into existence by his Word, and preserved us by his Power, in the life which he hath given, but especially the Father of us Christians, whom he hath chosen and accepted in his beloved Son, adopted as his children, and made heirs of immortality :-in God the Son, in all respects very and eternal God, being in the bosom of the Father before all worlds;-that to redeem the human race from sin and death, he descended from the right hand of the Majesty on High, became incarnate by the power of the Holy Ghost, was miraculously boru of the Virgin Mary, of the family of David,-assumed together with our flesh all its infirmities, and was in all things, except sin, like unto his brethren,-took a lowly station,— led a humble and suffering life,-preached the glad tidings of salvation,-proved himself to be the Re