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not direct declarations of the fact of recognition, but we cannot read them without supposing that the fact was in the writer's mind; and that indeed he had no other thought on the subject, but that he should certainly know, after the resurrection, those whom he had known before.

The Scriptural evidence in favor of future reunion and recognition, with which the deductions of probability, the inferences of reason, and the dictates of the affections well coincide, amounts to this. Heaven is a social state. If we and our friends are found worthy of an entrance into that state, we shall form a part of its society, and consequently remember and know each other. They who were near to us here, if they are also near unto God, will be near to us there; and, other things being equal, they will be nearer to us than others, simply because we have known them more and longer, and loved them better, than others, and have associations with them so interwoven with our earthly or former life, that they can scarcely be destroyed or disturbed except with our consciousness

and memory

Nor can we see that the restoration of friends to each other's society in a future state, is inconsistent with that universal and heavenly love which will animate the bosoms of all the blessed. Particular affection for those with whom we have been particularly connected, is not inconsistent with a kind and generous affection for many friends, for all the good from all ages and all countries of the world, to whom the better country will be the great and final meeting-place. The ground of this particular affection is, the relation which individuals have held toward each other in this life; and this life, though short in duration, and poor and unimportant when compared with the next, is yet the introduction to the next, the scene of probation for the next, the life in which our affections and virtues have been formed and educated, and have acquired their private associations; and it is therefore not to be supposed that all this is to be made a blank hereafter, as if it had never been. 6 And when we reflect,” says Bishop Mant,“ on the pleasure which is imparted to our minds by being admitted, after long separation, to the society of those whom we have known and loved from early years, but from whom we have been constrained to endure a temporary separation; and on the special delight which we experience from renewing, in communion with them, old but dormant affections, retracing in conversation the events of scenes gone by, and dwelling upon affairs of mutual personal interest ; a delight which the formation of no new acquaintance, however virtuous, however intelligent, however amiable, is for the most part found capable of conferring; it may be thought probable, that among their future associates, considered as constituents of the happiness of the blessed, those whom they have formerly known and loved and cherished, will be comprehended ; and that the company of the spirits of other just men made perfect, will not preclude a readmission to the fellowship of their former connexions and friends.” In short, let it only be premised that friends are worthy of each other's love in heaven, and it is no more than rational to suppose, that they will derive a peculiar satisfaction in each other's society there, from the circumstances with which Providence had bound them together during their sojourn on earth.

But here an objection has been made, founded on the question of worthiness. If some with whom the good have been connected here below, should, from their unworthiness, be excluded from the delights and the society of heaven, the good, it has been said, will, on the supposition of their knowing this, suffer pain, and pain cannot be suffered in heaven.

A few considerations may remove this objection. In the first place, though pain will not be suffered in heaven, there is no reason to believe that a certain degree of regret may not, and that this regret will be so consonant with our sense of justice, that happiness will not thereby be essentially disturbed. Heaven is represented as a place where there will be “no more pain.” This is in order to give an idea of its exemption from the accidents and deaths, the sorrows and alarms, to which we are subject here. But such a representation of future bliss, by · no means excludes the idea of imperfection. And if the soul is to make progress hereafter, and rise from glory to glory, and from one step of happiness to another, the idea of imperfection must be necessarily attached to such a state, because a state of improvement must needs be a state of imperfection. God himself is the only and absolutely perfect. If we are continually advancing nearer to him, we may be satisfied, grateful, and happy, whether on earth or in heaven, and infinitely more happy, doubtless, in heaven than on earth, on account of the many glorious circumstances which will attend our great change. But if we remember our former selves, we must remember our former sins of transgression and omission, and this remembrance

will produce regret, and this regret, without preventing our enjoyment of heaven's felicities, will, together with other causes, maintain within us a constant humility, a virtue which will not lose its lustre and value amidst the brightest glories of the New Jerusalem. If, therefore, we may remember with regret our own past offences, without losing the privilege of heavenly happiness, we may likewise view with regret the banishment of some of those with whom we were connected on earth by the ties of nature or habit, and yet be so enlightened with regard to the justice and beneficial ends of that banishment, as not to experience therefrom any suffering which would embitter or be inconsistent with celestial blessedness.

Secondly, it must be considered, that vile conduct does alienate brother from brother, and impair affection here on earth. May it not, therefore, be presumed that the good will not take with them into a future state any strong affection, or any other than compassion, for those whose vices have estranged affection, and weakened, if not broken, the bonds of nature and of love. “ And it may be,” again observes Bishop Mant, "since God's rational creatures are dear to him according to their moral excellence, and since the blessed in the future state will be like God'; it may be, that their affection toward those, who, in their earthly relation, were naturally the objects of it, will be regulated by this likeness to the Divine nature; and that, whilst it will be ratified, confirmed, and strengthened with respect to such as partake of their Father's blessing, and are objects of his love, it will be annihilated with respect to those who are banished from his presence, and pronounced aliens from his affectionate regard.” In one sense, God loves and must for ever love all his creatures, — but the love which he bears toward those who have remembered and kept his commandments, must be of a different character from that which he bears toward those who have forgotten and disobeyed him. And so in a similar manner will the love which the beatified feel for those with whom they walk in heaven as they have walked on earth, be different from the love which they feel for those who wandered from them on earth and meet them not in heaven. God's love for the latter demands their punishment, and the love of his servants toward them will not question its infliction. They will bow before the Supreme Wisdom and Goodness. They cannot regard as their friends those who are not the friends of God. And in this view, it may be said, that

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the righteous in the future world will have all their friends with them. They who are not with them cannot be their friends.

And yet memory will be faithful, and love may plead. And here we come to a consideration which may obviate the difficulty advanced better than any other, and on which better than on any other we like to dwell. Though we fully believe that the wicked will be punished hereafter, and will not undertake to deny that they may not retain their wicked dispositions, and thus bring on themselves perpetual punishment, we do not believe that their wickedness or their punishment is necessarily and inevitably eternal. We believe that God's punishments hereafter, as his chastisements here, are designed to be corrective, and that on many, if not on all, they will have a correcting, reforming, and consequently restoring influence. We also believe, according to Apostolic teaching, that “ charity never faileth,” no, not in heaven. And so we believe that it may extend its pitying and saving regards to those who most need them, to those who have made themselves outcasts from the heavenly country, the city of our God. In what errand, in wbat duty can the blessed be more celestially employed, than in bringing back, or endeavouring to bring back, into the family of the redeemed, those erring and lost ones, to whom nature had formerly bound and endeared them? May it not be one of the employments, one of the most glorious employments and crowning pleasures, of those who have been saved themselves, to be made instrumental in restoring others, who once were dear, to that peace of spirit which they have madly destroyed, to that heaven which they have justly forfeited? O who that has been found worthy to be a partaker “of the inheritance of the saints in light," would hesitate to forego for a time, and time after time, the society and the joys of his blissful abode, that he might work upon the heart of one whom he had numbered among his family on earth, and place him once more in the same mansion with himself? Who would not pray before the mercy-seat to be sent on such a mission of mercy? “Let me go,” he might say, “let me go to the exile, and persuade him to return.

He has suffered long. Long has he been wailing in outer darkness. Remorse must have visited his burning heart. Solitude and anguish must have broken down his perverseness. He was not always perverse and wicked. Through the long vista of ages I can see him as he once was. He once was a happy child, an inno

cent child, affectionate and ingenuous, and pure as the light which beamed from his eyes or played on his clustering hair. I have held him in my arms. I have watched his smiles, and dried his tears.

I loved him once. O that I might cherish him again! that I might bear to him thy forgiveness ! that I might bring him back to happiness, to heaven, and to Thee !" Would not the Universal Father grant the prayer? Can it be proved to us, that the saints and angels are not and will not be occupied in fulfilling his restoring purposes ? Are we told, that between the saved and the lost there is a great gulf fixed, so that they who would pass and repass cannot do so? We will not insist that this argument is drawn from merely the illustrative part of a parable, which is not intended to convey either doctrine or fact ; but will grant, that there must needs be a profound separation between the happy and the wretched, the acquitted and the condemned, in the future state; a separation which neither party can pass over at will. And yet

, by the permission of the Almighty, and on messages of his own grace and compassion, that gulf may be passed; and what gulf can there be too wide for the wings of love, too deep or broad for the passage of charity?

The considerations which have been mentioned, are abundantly sufficient, to our mind, to obviate the difficulty which they have been brought forward to answer. But if they were less convincing, if the difficulty remained in its full force, yet the doctrine of future recognition would not be disproved. No objection drawn from a probable state of painful feeling for the wicked, could overthrow the fact that heaven is a social condition of being, on which fact the doctrine of the mutual recognition of friends in heaven still would rest unmoved. This fact should be sufficient to content and console us. Heaven is a social state, a city, a kingdom, a church, in which there is a great assembly, an innumerable company, and in which the innocent and good, the servants of the King Eternal, the spiritual and true worshippers of the Father, will meet together, and know each other, and never be separated any

There the parent will see the child, improved by heavenly culture, and listen to the voice, now made more musical, which in days gone by was the sweetest music he ever heard. There the child will find the parent, and hear from him those words of love and wisdom which were early lost to him on earth. There brother and sister will meet again, and N. S. VOL. XIII. NO. II.




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