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same spirit pervades the whole. The unnumbered hosts of the unfallen, whatever be their diversity of rank and condition, together with the countless multitudes of the redeemed, wherever their residence may be determined in this endless empire, possess the same sacred and elevated character. Though augmented from generation to generation to a multitude which no man can number, yet is there. no jar in their society, and no discord in
Within the vast compass of this immense population-throughout all these unexplored regions-amid the whole of this vast assemblage of existencies, from the highest to the lowest, there is not one whose bosom does not glow with holy ardor to do the will of God. One base and selfish mind would poison these sources of joy. But there is “nothing there that defileth.". Over all that sublime and magnificent system, lighted up with stars and orbs differing from one another in glory, there is no lawless planet-no unsubjugated province-no land of darkness- no págan island—no habitation of cruelty—no revolting heart: nothing to destroy the moral harmony of the sphere, or to introduce confusion and anarchy among its inhabitants.
In heaven, the will of God is likewise obeyed with unfeigned sincerity and cheerfulness. Obedience is not a yoke at which those pure and holy spirits reluctate, but a service in every view pleasant and agreeable. The divine will is there obeyed from the heart. The law which governs them, governs their outward conduct by first governing their “willing and warm affections." No formal sacrifice is offered on that altar. There
are no pensiveness and gloom there, but every thing that is buoyant 'and cheerful. It is not the cold and cheerless sense of duty—the heavy bond of obligation—the solemn sanction of law merely, that constrains their acquiescence; it is the sweeter, stronger cord of love, irresistibly fascinating them with its charms, and drawing their willing, gratified minds as “with the bands of a man.” In this lower world, religion is like an exotic plant-confined, stinted, and depressed. Nay, it is often a meagre, ungainly, haggard thing. It partakes' of the cold and cheerless soil on which it grows. It never arrives at maturity, and not unfrequently blooms to fade. But in heaven, it possesses a purity of transparent splendor, a beauty of transcendent brightness, such as no pencil can paint, and no poetry describe. It is no depressed and drooping floweret, but a scion from the Tree of Life, luxuriant and fair, fragrant with blossoms, and yielding its fruit every month. I had almost said, it is the mirth of heaven to obey the statutes of its King. The employment nourishes and draws toward it all their ardor and sensibility. Even the imagination, that wandering faculty, which contributes so much to the happiness and misery of men on the earth, which is the sport of temptation, and the plaything of the arch deceiver, there exerts its magic and hallowed influence, ever supplying the materials for some new work of benevolence, some new purpose of devotement to God, some new scene of still more gratified holiness and exquisite joy. Their obedience is indeed the obedience of intelligence, thought, and purpose; but it is also the winged obedience of emo
tion and desire. , It is the obedience of love. Love is the clement in which celestial spirits breathe. Love is the soul of heaven,-strong and urgent, 'swift to do his will, hearkening to the voice of his word." I
In heaven the will of God is done perfectly and for ever. “We shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” Heaven is full of God. The wonders of creation, providence, and grace, replete „with exhibitions of the Deity, there arrest, and elevate, and transform the soul. The reasons and motives of the divine conduct are there disclosed,
clearly discerned by their enlightened understandsings, and delightfully enjoyed by their holy hearts.
There the method of redemption by Jesus Christ, throwing its light upward from this lower world, becomes the mirror which reflects the loveliest and most radiant of the divine glories. If holy minds advance in holiness as they dwell in light, and if their holiness is perfect in proportion to their knowledge, then is there in that luminous world a constant and resistless flow of holy affecțion, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and the Lamb." There are no seasons of spiritual langor and declension there. No wandering thought, no vain desire, no sinful emotion, there creeps into the soul. There is no backwardness nor unfruitfulness there; but all the activity and fervor which the souls of its exalted inhabitants are capable of exercising. There is no weariness vor satiety; but the ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, cease not, day nor night, saying one to another, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty;" and
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never rest from their everlasting anthems of praise. Eternity rolls on, and "he that is holy, is holy
Thus is the will of God done in heaven; in all its parts, by every individual, sincerely and cheerfully, perfectly and for ever. We proceed to the
Second object of our discourse, which is to show why it is desirable that it should be thus obeyed on earth.
For this Jesus Christ has taught his disciples in evérj age of the done on earth, as it is in heaven"). If there is any meaning in this petition, it involves the idea that it is" greatly desirable that the will of God should be thus obeyed on earth. In illustrating this part of our subject, we begin by remarking,
That the divine law is no less binding on earth than it is in heaven. - Its obligations are real, and binding every where, throughout the whole range of God's dominions. Wherever thinking beings exist, whatever may be their condition and the gradations of their intellectual capacity, they are all bound by the same rule of action. Nor can it be otherwise, if we consider whence the rule emanàtes, or what it, enjoins. Whatever demands obedience to its requisitions from one individual, demands it from another; whatever demands it from angels demands it from men; and whatever demands it from one world of intelligent agents, demands it from all worlds. The same natural, moral, and legal obligations exist on earth which exist in heaven. Nor is there any more excuse for
disobedience on earth than for disobedience in heaven. When the first sin was committed in heaven, the vile perpetrators were sunk instantly to the lake of fire; so when the first sin was committed on the earth, scarcely was the foul deed perpetrated, than the ashamed transgressors, conscious of their guilt, would fain have fled from the face of their Maker. Every man feels that, should iniquity again invade the celestial. Paradise, it could not be palliated in the least degree. It alters not the nature of transgression that it is committed on the eastern or western hemisphere of this terraqueous globe; nor that it is committed in the celestial or terrestrial sphere; in time or in eternity; it is the same sinful thing in both; in both criminal, and equally without excuse. Not until the inhabitants of earth can destroy the divine ex-". istence, or their own, can they dissolve, suspend, or at all impair their obligations to do the will of God, as sincerely, fully, and perfectly as it is done in heaven. Besides,
It is as reasonable that the will of God should be done on earth, as that it should be done in heaven. The considerations which show that it is reasonable in one, show that it is reasonable in the other. In neither does it transcend the rights and prerogatives of the righteous and sovereign Lawgiver; and in both it is itself "holy, just, and good.”
Whatever dispositions of heart toward God and man are in themselves right and reasonable, and commend themselves to an enlightened conscience, and to the inspecting eye of infinite purity, the word of God requires; and it forbids nothing but absolute, detestable wickedness,