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might have hope.” To draw from them patience, and comfort, and hope, is therefore the duty and the privilege of a Christian. But of all the passages which inspiration has penned, none are so well calculated to inspire us with patience in running our Christian course, to impart comfort to us under all its afflictions and trials, and to fill us with hope unto the last, as the occasional glimpses which are given us of the unseen world, and which are held up as the reward of those who are “ faithful unto death.” Of the precise nature of the happiness of the blessed, what are their pursuits and employments, we know very little ; nor is it probable that with our present limited faculties we should be capable of comprehending them; for “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things that God hath prepared for them that love him.”+ Still there are some particulars of the heavenly bliss which our
* Rom. xv. 4.
f 1 Cor. ii. 9.
faculties can comprehend; there are some of the joys and glories which we are permitted, even here, to “know in part," and to “ see,” though it be “through a glass darkly.” And such revelations were undoubtedly intended to cheer us onward to the goal, to encourage us to press forward with the more earnestness “ towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God.”*
Without venturing to speculate on subjects which Scripture has carefully concealed, or presuming to go any farther than she will lead us by the hand, we shall notice some of those general representations of the blessedness of the dead, who die in the Lord, as a necessary introduction to the subject now under consideration. That which seems to be the clearest and most satisfactory account of the happiness of the redeemed, is our Saviour's answer to the Sadducees :—“They which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: neither can they die any more; for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection."* This testimony is the more valuable, because coming from the lips of the blessed Jesus himself, who is to dispense this happiness. Whatever he tells us respecting the state of the righteous after death, we may be well assured is indeed so; for he can neither deceive, nor be deceived. He says that the dead in Christ can die no more, that they are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection, and that they are equal unto the angels. This last expression must imply thus much, that the saints in heaven are equal unto the angels in immortality, in freedom from sin, and in the society which they will be permitted to enjoy. These are ingredients of the heavenly bliss which we can all understand, and which are calculated “ to inspire us with
* Phil. iii. 14.
an earnest desire of living for the world to come.”
The children of the resurrection are equal unto the angels in immortality ; they can die no more. By this we understand, that they shall no longer be subject to any of the vicissitudes of this mortal state ; but, like the angels of God, they shall be unchangeable and immortal. They are for ever exempted from the afflictions and ills of life, and from the power of the king of terrors ;
66 death hath no more dominion over them.” They have passed the fearful stream of Jordan, and are now safely landed on Canaan's side, never to return. Sickness and sorrow shall no more invade them, nor pain and anguish take hold upon them. The burning fever, the beating pulse, the throbbing head, the aching limbs, the quenchless thirst, wakeful nights and wearisome days—these have all passed away and for ever. The agonies of dissolving nature are no more to be endured; never again will they be called upon to take a final leave of weeping friends,
who hung over their couch, and strove in vain to ease their anguish, or to prolong their fleeting breath ;—this scene once passed, is passed for ever; for they can die no more.
This exemption from pain, sickness and death, is one source of happiness to the righteous, of which we can form a distinct conception. We feel that theirs must be a blissful state indeed, who are conscious that they can never be separated from those they love, for “ death is swallowed up in victory.”
The saints in heaven are also equal unto the angels, in freedom from sin; for they “ have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” This, too, will be great happiness, as all must admit, who have ever felt-and what Christian has not felt—the burthen of sin. Here our corrupt natures are the source of our severest trials, but there they will be purified from the corruption in which we were born, and “the flesh will no longer lust against the spirit, nor the spirit against the flesh.” Those who are now striving