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church, to express their everlasting union. The bride must dwell with her bridegroom, enjoy his presence, and share his glory. He is about to enter into his Father's kingdom, and to sit down on his. throne ; and his spouse must reign with him. When he was about to leave this world, he said to his disconsolate followers, “I will come again, and receive myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” Now he fulfils his faithful word, and gratifies the utmost wishes of his friends. The happiest moments which they spent on earth, were those in which he favoured them with his presence in the means of grace. How delightful, then, must that world be where they shall be with him perpetually!
2. They are invited to inherit a kingdom. A Kingdom implies three things; a King who governs, Subjects who are governed, and Laws by which they are governed.
The King of heaven is the Lord God omnipotent. The beloved John informs us, in the book of Revelations, that he “ heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia : for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.” Earthly monarchs have reigned with disputed titles; but who will be
found to dispute the title of the omnipotent Ruler of heaven? The enemies of his government will be put under his feet, and his friends will be exalted to his righthand. · Monarchs have reigned on earth, whose abilities were not sufficient to wield the sceptre; but heaven will be governed by unerring wisdom, almighty power, and boundless goodness." The King of heaven is perfect, and his government will be perfect; he is immortal, and his kingdom will be everlasting
3. The subjects of the heavenly kingdom are saints and angels. The pious of all ages and nations will reside with the angels of God, as their fellow-subjects. But there will be no unpleasant distinction of nations, no unintelligible variety of languages, and no jarring sects. God is one, and all his subjects will be one.
There may be various orders of angels, and various ranks of glorified human spirits. Some may be exalted far above others, on account of superior holiness, and as a reward of superior labours; but every one will be completely happy in his proper place, and every one will rejoice in the happiness of all
, the rest. The lowest will not view the highest with envy, nor will the highest look down upon the lowest with contempt. God, who is love, will be an everlasting centre of union
to all his subjects; every one of whom will be holy and happy, glorious and immortal. Every one will be full of joy; and
every one will taste the most refined pleasures. “ In thy presence is fulness of joy, at thy right-hand there are pleasures for ever.
4. The only law of that glorious kingdom, is, THE WILL OF GOD. He is absolutely perfect, and his will is a perfect law. Heaven will be an absolute monarchy, full of perfection and glory. It is fit that earth, ly monarchs should be limited, because they are imperfect; but the eternal God should be under no control. He can will nothing but what is wise and good. Happy would it be for mortals if they would now obey his will · All the subjects of God in heaven obey the divine will cheerfully, constantly, and universally. One spirit inspires the whole. This being the case, heaven will be, a place of perfect order, harmony, and love. How unlike the disorderly kingdoms of this world, where ten thousand various and contradictory principles cause perpetual confusion !
The saints are heirs of this kingdom, and Christ will put them into full possession. It is a possession which was purchased by his blood, and which is given to all who overcome the world, the flesh, and the
devil. “ He that overcometh shall inherit all things: and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
5. The kingdom was prepared for them from the foundation of the world. Hence it appears evident, that God designed man for heavenly glory, when he created him at first; and had Adam proved faithful when God placed him in a state of probation, it is probable he would have been translated to heaven, without seeing death. His descendants might have been upon the same plan; each one might have been raised from earth to heaven, without passing through the vale of death.
It is said to the saints, The kingdom prepared for you. Are we, therefore, to infer that a certain number was elected to glory from the foundation of the world, and that the rest were reprobáted to damnation? Some wise and good men have thought so; but we cannot receive their opinion. Predestination sets aside the necessity of a general judgment, and totally destroys every idea of rewards and punishments. For how can God judge men for what he fore-ordained ? How can he either reward or punish those who acted in all things by irresistable necessity? Heaven, no doubt, was prepared for the saints on the right-hand; but it does not follow that
it was not prepared for sinners on the left: If there be any truth in the word of God, it was prepared for all; and had all used the appointed means, not one of the human race would have been banished into hell. Hell was not prepared for man; but for the devil and his angels. We should often meditate
that glorious kingdom. Every thing that a good man desires will be found there in
perfection. Let us set our affections upon things alowe, and, amidst all our other necessary Säres, let us be most careful to find our way to heaven. Many of our friends are gone before, and are now with Christ and God. They wait to welcomė us to those happy regions. Let us not trifle in the way; båtpress forward with all our might. Our sufferings will soon end; and glory will soon begin.
Now unto the king eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever." Amen.