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sense of sinfulness and ill-desert, as an offender against God, a you long to be delivered from this burden upon your spirit; there nothing which you can realize in the negative assuranc that only be faithful a little longer in striving against sin, and y shall be forever freed from this burden? Or it is your lot to poor and friendless on earth; does it afford you no positive reli to know that your poverty and friendlessness here, are soon to exchanged for the presence of Christ within the vail, and for the fullness of his love? These negatives, then, have a positive, most delightful positive meaning. And the information whic they contain is of the very kind that we want. We live in world of sin and suffering. Liabilities to evil, and actual evils, su round us on every hand. What we want is something to me the exigencies of such a condition. And of this kind, precisely, ar the scripture representations of the “rest that remaineth to th people of God;" a world without sin ; a refuge from suffering; rest for the weary and heavy-laden spirit.

3. What then, it is proper to inquire, are the true reasons why the things of the future world are, to so little extent, realized and made the governing motives of action by the children of God These things, we have seen, can be realized, and ought to be realized. The christian's own interest demands it. The cause of religion at large requires it. Why then should “the glory to be revealed shortly” to the saints, be so seldom contemplated and so slightly felt by them? Some reasons for this fact there must be ; what are they?

First. Many christians live so far from God, that distinct and habitual views of the eternal world would be painful to them. Hence these views, though felt to be a duty, are instinctively avoided. Such christians are afraid to look steadily upon the things of eternity, for by it they would be reminded how unworthily of such things they are living. This thought, whenever it occurs, brings reproof along with it, and thus unfits the mind for dwelling in fixed and joyful contemplation on the blessedness of heaven. We feel disposed rather, in this state of mind, to dwell on our sinfulness and our need of pardon, to be looking to the atonement, and cultivating feelings of penitence for our sins, and reliance on the Savior for hope towards God. The glories of heaven we scarcely dare think of as ours; and although we continue to cherish the hope of final happiness, yet it is only under some vague and general apprehension of that happiness, and not with any distinct sense of the delightful reality. It seems rather as a pleasant vision of the imagination, obscure, distant and doubtful, than as a plain and certain matter of fact.

Secondly. Most christians, from the ordinary habits of their minds on religious subjects, are compelled to see at a glance, that

a fixed and thorough sense of eternal things, would impose and compel more self-denial than, in the present state of their feelings, they are willing to practice. Hence the mind shrinks back from free and frequent contemplations of the future, and feels as if there was some incompatibility between its cares and duties here, and a realizing and joyful apprehension of heavenly things. Strange as it may seem at first view, it is a welcome thought, in the state of feeling here referred to, that the present life is a season of discipline; that here we are to be proved and tried, not rewarded; that the virtues most needed here are penitence, acquiescence in our lot, and submission to the will of God; that our reward is future

e; that here we must mourn, and walk in darkness, and dwell in a region of doubts and fears; by and by we may rejoice, emerge from our darkness into light, and get rid of our doubts and fears; that when eternity comes, it will be soon enough to realize and enjoy its blessedness. Now, that there is some mixture of truth in this view of the subject, we do not deny. The present life is a season of trial, and here we must walk by faith, not by sight. We are pilgrims bere; our home is in eternity. But may we not; with the way-faring stranger, weary with our journey, be looking towards our home, and anticipating along the road its delights, to refresh us for further trial ? Yet this we manifestly cannot do, so long as the looking onward to eternity only seems to remind us of duties which we are unwilling to perform, and sacrifices of present ease which we are unwilling to make.

Thirdly. Another reason why christians do not contemplate the future with a more joyful sense of the realities of that world, is the want of the “ full assurance of hope.” They have prevailing doubts whether they can look forward to the glory and blessedness of heaven, and call it theirs ; and whether they can look upon the retributions of the finally lost in hell, as a doom from which they have escaped. On this subject we have dwelt in a former paper, and have pointed out some of the causes why the full assurance of faith is gained by so sew. On that point it is not our purpose to dwell here. We would only say, that without an assured hope, eternal things will be liable to wear an aspect of gloom, and the contemplation of them will be apt to be a painful exercise, felt to be occasionally necessary, perhaps, but not cordially relished. But why should eternity be a gloomy subject to the christian ? Christians of old always connected the idea of eternity with their assurance of its glories. They dwelt upon the former as the means of giving life and vigor to the latter. Why should it not be so with us? Why should the following description of Mr. Philip be true ?

• Silence is, however, so common on this subject, and so characterisVOL. VI.


tic of those who are most warranted to speak out, that it seems almost a virtue. We are so accustomed to entire silence, or to vague expressions, about personal expectations of heaven, that we should be almost startled to hear even the best of our pious friends, who are neither old nor infirm, avow their pleasure or hope. There must be very eminent piety indeed, in the person to whom we could listen, with common patience, whilst he was speaking of his own crown or mansion of glory. Free and firm statements of this kind, we should be ready to set down as ominous symptoms of a speedy death, whatever were the health, or the age, or the holiness of the person who made them. And, in our own case,

and that of christians in general, we should consider it a want both of humility and prudence, to utter our hopes of heaven, even when they are strongest. We act thus towards our nearest friends : and in the case of the world, we are induced to say, that it would be casting “ pearls before swine,” to tell worldly men that we had found a title to heaven in the atonement of Christ. We almost give our “ consent,” that he who says so to others, before he is upon his death-bed, should be laughed at by the world, and suspected by the church.'

pp. 19–21.

Are we wiser or humbler than the early christians ? But while our hopes are low, it is certain eternity never will be realized with pleasure, nor studied with much profit. And on the other hand, (for the action is reciprocal, we can never have much religious joy or assurance, while we keep out of view the end of our faith, the salvation of our souls." The faith of the early christians was belief unto eternal life.It was that life on which they fixed intently in the reception of the gospel, and their faith had its origin and its support in vivid views of eternity. Christians at the present day are not entire strangers to their joy ; but how low in degree is it compared with theirs, because we have lost our hold on the great animating principle,-eternity!

• What, then, was the real secret of that copious, calm, and holy enjoyment, which the first believers so habitually possessed? They had no foundation of hope, that we have not : no warrant or welcome to build on the Rock of Ages, that we have not: no promises nor prospects, that we have not. Jesus Christ is the same in our “day,” as He was in their “yesterday.” The Tree of Life bends its loaded and luxuriant branches, as fully down to our hands, as it did to their hands. Why is it, then, that whilst we see those who came first around that tree, healed by its leaves, and cheered by its fruit, many of us are afraid to taste, and more of us but half healed and half refreshed ? Now, the fact is, they “eat” for the express and immediate purpose that they might “ LIVE FOR EVER.” Their faith was, from the beginning to the end, a direct " looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” ' p. 105.

In perfect correspondence with these views it will be found, that when the christian set out for heaven, when he began to fix his ad

miring contemplations on the Savior, and to feel his soul going forth to him in faith and love, the animating consideration was— eternity. At least, this consideration had great influence; and when he saw the evil and the danger of sin, it was still the thought of eternity that threw around that subject its chief solemnity. And so, also, when the christian's spiritual joys decline, and the life of religion in his soul waxes feeble, it will be found that the cause of this lies in the loss of a realizing sense of eternity. You cannot feel the power of any religious truth, or enter into the spirit of any religious duty, except as you connect with it the future world, and see and feel how it takes directly hold on the joys of salvation or the woes of perdition. We beg leave here to refer our readers to the whole of Mr. Philip's fifth chapter, without quotation. The thought, as there expanded and applied, is exceedingly interesting and impressive.

4. It is now due to our subject to suggest some things as to the manner in which realizing views of heaven are to be obtained. Although the author of the work before us has justly treated with severity the excuses of those who say, that they know not how to realize eternal life, from the indefiniteness of the statements concerning it in the scriptures; yet we think it a defect in his work, as a guide to devotion, that he has not aided the weak believer, by placing distinctly before him those views of heaven which we are justified in entertaining, and which are calculated to animate our hope and wean us from the world. Although we have incidentally touched upon this point already, under the head of “excuses, we beg leave to dwell upon it farther, for the sake of showing how beavenly things may be realized.

1. To the christian after death, an end will be put to all suffering of body and of mind. Here, suffering is necessary, as a part of our moral discipline. It weans us from the world. It tries and confirms our virtue, and thus prepares us for the good in reserve beyond the grave. When, therefore, our virtue has been proved enough, and the great purposes of the probation have been answered, then suffering, as a means of good to us, will have done its office, and be forever set aside. Now, to look only at the body, how grateful the thought, to have no more pain, no more weakness, no more death! How welcome the discharge, especially a final discharge, from sufferings of this kind; and how desirable, how happy, must that world be, where these evils can never come ! But the sufferings of the mind are still greater ;-the inroads of evil thoughts; the imperfection of our best tempers ; the prevalence of vice around us; God's name dishonored ; a Savior rejected; religion sometimes losing ground in the hearts of christians, md the enemy triumphing. How trying are these things now! How grateful to know, that they will soon be over! Then, to serve

God without weariness ; to be instinct with immortal life; to hai done with sin; to see God honored according to his true characte the Savior an object of the heart's fullest confidence and love ; vi tue in all its forms cherished and cultivated, and no enemy to me lest or make afraid ;-what welcome realities are these!

2. Perfection of knowledge, as far it extends. Knowledge the food of the soul. But here in this world, our minds are neces sarily subjected to much doubt and uncertainty. Here we see i part and know in part. Of very few things have we a perfec knowledge. Between opposing systems of doctrine, religious and philosophical, how often do our minds remain in a state of painfu perplexity and suspense, because we cannot see clearly on which side the truth lies. There are good men on both sides. The subject in its relations is of immense consequence. Who will tell us where the truth lies? Why must we grope in so much darkness? Why did not God make every thing, respecting which we have any knowledge, mathematically certain to us? Such are the questions which we are ready to ask. But we forget that this is a state of trial, in which our hearts are to be tested. There would be no virtue in believing, if we could not err or misapprehend. Our Savior's answer to Thomas, “ Blessed is he that hath not seen and yet hath believed,” points us to the great principle of a state of trial. This trial brings to the test our candor and love of truth, our patience in examining where the truth lies, and our cordiality in embracing it when it is found. Now there is necessarily much that is painful in the process of such a trial. But this trial shall soon have an end. And then truth, as far as we see it at all, will be seen exactly as it is. We shall not be any more the dupes of error, nor have our peace of mind disturbed by perplexity and doubt. And such truth, too! Divine truth! the noblest aliment of the soul! Reason, the distinction and glory of an immortal mind, will there find its congenial element, and act with unwonted vigor. And what a field for its operations will there be presented ! Here let us pause a moment over that mighty stretch of its powers which will then be put forth, and notice some things about which it will be employed. The causes of God's past dispensations towards us while on earth, will probably constitute one great theme of future contemplation. In this world, the dispensations of Providence were often involved in mystery. In the world to come, these dispensations may all be cleared

see their

specific design, and be filled with admiration at the wisdom and goodness which marked out our path through life, and led us in a way that we knew not. The progress of the system of redemption will present another and a most delightful argument for the soul to dwell upon, in the future world. There the fruits of redemption will be seen, will be felt, in the holiness and the bliss of the re


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