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THAT the soul survives the body, we have seen to be a fact admitted by reason, shining in minds, most highly distinguished for the possession of that faculty, and extensively confirmed by revelation. We have seen, moreover, that revelation authorizes the good to expect, what reason (however refined and pure) could only hope for,-namely, progressive attainments in degrees of happiness after death : first, immediately, on the soul's emancipation from its earthly prison; when, in the paradise or place of rest for departed spirits (whatever that be) it will enjoy greater happiness than we can at present conceive, though not consummate happiness; and that it will continue in such enjoyment, till a more blessed era shall arrive, predicted to last a thousand years. Its happiness will then be increased, by

a re-union with the body that body, which had participated in its pleasures and in its cares, during the present probationary life: that body, which, having in pious trust, been "committed unto Christ," who redeemed it, will, after rising in hope, through the power of his resurrection, be exalted to newness of life,-purified, we may presume, not only from all the defilements of the grave, but from every speck of former corruption, and suited, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, for the beatific presence of the Redeemer.

At the termination of that millenary period, and the sublimely grand proceedings of Divine judgment upon all mankind being over, a state still more blessed will commence: indeed one so transcendently blessed, that "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the human heart to conceive" any thing comparable to its exquisite glory and perfection. "God having prepared it for them that love him," none can deprive them of it: it will be their blessed heritage for ever and ever.

As, in the two antecedent states, the soul's felicity will be progressive, increasing like a river in its course towards the ocean; so we may presume, when it has attained even its celestial destination,— "the prize of its high calling in Christ Jesus," that even then, throughout eternity, it will continue to increase in blessedness, with all the fulness of God; rising in the greatness of divine strength, from perfection to perfection, from glory to glory, from joy to joy, in a manner of which the most pure and fervid mind can now form no idea.

This alone must be called the state of consummate, of supreme, of transcendent bliss. As to conceive it is impossible, to describe it must be equally so: for "who can paint a sun-beam to perfection ?” That the body of a real Christian will be a sharer with the soul in this blissful state, we are taught to believe from the ascension of Christ in a human body, as an ernest or significant Type; and from his language, in these words: "Father, I will that they, whom thou hast given me, be

with me where I am; that they may behold my glory." Yet Saint Paul says, "flesh and blood cannot enter into the kingdom of God; neither can corruption inherit incorruption." True-but he also says, "that which was sown a natural body, will be raised a spiritual body:" evidently meaning, that whatever corruption might attach to "flesh and blood,” would be left in the grave. And though “it doth not yet appear what we shall be;" yet we are told, that, "as we have borne the image of the earthly Adam, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Adam, Jesus Christ:" nay, that "we shall be like him, and see him as he is: that he will change our vile body into a resemblance of his glorious body, according to the mighty working, whereby he is able to subdue all things unto himself."*

Therefore, without doubt, we may conclude, that as, "when he had overcome the sharpness of death, he opened the kingdom of Heaven to all believers;" so,

*Burial service.

when our bodies, raised from the pit of corruption, "shall be fashioned like unto his glorious body," they shall ascend after him to that kingdom of glory.—Indeed these words of his Apostle will bear no other construction; words, which are declared to have been spoken by divine authority, by express command of "the Lord Jesus" "I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope: for, if ye believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, them also which sleep in Jesus, will God bring with him."

It cannot be doubted, therefore, that Christian relatives and friends, who have maintained their faith and obeyed God's commandments in this life, will, in that which is to come, be restored to each others' affectionate and endearing intercourse, with natures and capacities exquisitely sublimed, as St. Paul here teaches; and elsewhere likewise, when he speaks of the blessed and glorious communion of just men made perfect; the just and good

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