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2dly. He was miserable.
All the preceding circumstances exhibit this as an additional ingredient in his sufferings. His want, his wretchedness, his loathsomeness, the incurable and odious disease with which he was affected, the place where he was laid, and his desertion by mankind; are all so many striking proofs of the contempt, in which he was holden.
Equally are they evidences of the constant misery which he suffered. The pains of his disease must have been continual, intense, and dreadful. His total want of friends, of relief, of compassion, of hope ; the contempt and loathing, which he was obliged to sustain ; and the hardness of heart, which he saw daily proved by the conduct of all around him; must have pressed equally upon his body and mind, and overwhelmed him with anguish and despair.
Thus he was without good in possession or in reversion, in the present world.
After suffering for a time these numerous evils, this singular complication of woes, his frame sunk under them ; and nature, wearied out with enduring, gave way. He died, and gave up the ghost. That he was buried, does not appear. It is scarcely probable, that those, who had entirely neglected him through life, were mindful of him after he was dead. What was now his condition ?
In the future world, he was
Poor as he was in this world, destitute as he was of earthly property, friends, and hope; he had, with an industrious and careful hand, laid up treasures in the heavens. Durable riches and righteousness constituted his property, and of these he had an abundance. The wealth of the mind, the hidden treasure, the wealth which makes rich beyond the grave and which passes with an eternal currency among immortal and glorified beings; he had stored up with an eager diligence. With these treasures he entered that world, and immediately found himself to be amply provided for his future and eternal subsistence. Vol. II.
2dly. He was honourable.
In that world, as well as in this, all the rich are respected and honoured. The treasures, which exist there, are the means of certain and universal reputation and regard. These he was seen and acknowledged to possess in a superior degree, and was therefore regarded as justly claiming the respect of all its inhabitants.
What a contrast was this to bis former situation! With what emotions must he have been agitated, when he entered that world! So poor, despised, and humble a man could hardly have failed to expect some share at least of that lowliness of condition and character, which on earth he had known from bitter experience. To be lowly, and despised, and poor, was to him a habit; and the only habit, which, with respect to these things, he could be supposed to have formed here below. How then must he have been surprised and astonished, when he opened his eyes in eternity; and beheld angels waiting to receive him, and to conduct him to the house of his heavenly Father. In what manner must he have been lost in wonder, who knew not what respect or kindness was from his fellow men, to see these immortal beings meet him with smiles of friendship and complacency, hail him as their friend and companion, salute him as one of those sinners whose repentance had diffused an universal joy over the heavenly world, and proffering themselves to him as his conductors to heaven.
Think of the glorious character of his attendants; the change of his circumstances; the novelty of the treatment which he received ; and the wonders of the prospect, opened before him. To the great and splendid in this world he had only bowed with awe. From them, he had never received even a look of tenderness and compassion ; much less the acts of beneficence and relief. Above him they were lifted too high, to cast their eyes down on so lowly and insignificant a being. Of but little more consequence than a worm, all, that he expected, or could expect, was, not to be crushed by the foot of insolence and power.
But now these illustrious inhabitants of heaven, who stand before the throne of God, in comparison with whom all the princes and nobles of the earth are as insects, presented themselves be
fore him as his friends, companions, and guides; welcomed him to their affection and esteem; and proffered voluntarily to him every kind office. The eye of contempt could now no more glance at him; the finger of scorn no more mark him as its butt; the heart of unkindness no more harden itself against his sufferings; nor the door of pride be insolently shut against his petitions. Now he was changed from the beggar, the leper, the child of suffering and despair, into a son, and king, and priest, of God; and he was destined to reign with him forever and ever.
3dly. He was happy.
He was happy in external things, in which he was before miserable. All such things now became supremely delightful and desirable to him. His habitation, now, was the house of his heavenly Father; one of the mansions of which was henceforth allotted to him as his everlasting residence. In this glorious place he was united to companions and friends, who knew, and acknowledged, and rejoiced, in his worth ; who possessed the same character, delighted in the same objects, and were occupied in the same pursuits, with himself. To minister to his enjoyments, and to receive from him with pleasure and gratitude his kind offices; was one of the employments which they coveted, and to which they were to be forever devoted. The Master, whom both he and they served and were forever to serve, was their infinite and eternal Friend; who forgave, redeemed, and sanctified them all; and who removed them from this miserable world to his own immediate residence, only to bestow on them a never ending series of blessings. Here he was a son, an heir, a joint heir with Christ, the First-born, “to an inheritance undefiled and that fadeth not away." His prospects were, therefore, all bright and ravishing. On carth all the evil, that he was ever to suffer, had been received. Throughout the ages of the eternal future nothing remained for him but good, overflowing and eter
His conduct, during his probation on earth, was approved. He had “been faithful over the few things," entrusted to his charge; and being pronounced to have well done, he was admit
ted forever into "the joy of his Lord.” His sins were all forgiren, and washed away in the blood of the Redeemer. His soul was purified from every stain,; and delivered from every error, and from every fear. His former hopes were now terminated in fruition immensely superior to all that eye had seen, or ear heard, or heart conceived. His faculties were ennobled and perfected. To know, to love, and to enjoy, was henceforth his only business; the proper destination of a rational, virtuous, and immortal mind.
To the Resurrection he looked forward without impatience, but with a delightful assurance of hope. Then his vile body, committed to the grave in weakness, corruption and dishonour, he knew would be raised in power, incorruption, and glory; and changed, and resashioned like unto Christ's glorious body, according to the working, whereby he is able to subdue all things unto himself. He knew, from the promises of God, that, at that period, his body and mind would be re-united; and would constitute one perfect and glorious man, formed for none but exalted purposes and enjoyments. He also knew, that, at that period, all his companions in the faith and patience of the saints would be united with him; and that, thus united, all would commence the divine system of virtuous existence and virtuous conduct, destined to adorn the new heavens and the new earth, wherein righteousness shall dwell forever.
THE COMING OF CHRIST.
LUKE xii. 40.
Be ye therefore ready, also ; for the Son of Man cometh at an
hour, when ye think not.
In the preceding part of this Chapter oứr Saviour gives us a series of most solemn and important instructions concerning our conduct in the present life, and our preparation for that which is to come. In the 35th verse he enjoins the duty of watchfulness as eminently interesting to man, especially to Christians; and in the succeeding verses, enforces it by several solemn considerations. To this injunction he returns, immediately, in the text; and annexes to it a reason, of the highest moment : "Be ye, therefore, ready, also ; for the Son of Man cometh at an hour, when ye think not."
In discoursing upon this passage I propose to consider briefly
I. The persons, to whom the command was addressed, were originally, the audience, to which our Saviour was speaking. These, as St. Luke informs us, were “an innumerable multitude of people,” gathered as it would seem, to hear him preach the Gospel. A part of them were his disciples: a part of them were his enemies : and a part, probably including the greatest number, could scarcely have known any thing of him, unless by report. To all these classes of men the command is addressed in the written Gospel. To him, who reads it, and to him, who