Page images

he shall be so for ever. O ages! O millions of ages! O thousands of millions of ages! O duration, the longest that can be imagined by an intelligence, composed (if I may speak so) of all intelligences, how short must ye appear to so happy a Being! There is no time with him; there is no measure of time. One thousand years, ten thousand years, one quarter of an hour, one instant, is almost the same. "A thousand years are with him as one day, and one day as a thousand years."


"Dost thou believe in the Son of God," Then, whatever may be the vicissitudes of thy earthly course, which is rapidly hastening towards its close, and whatever may be the sufferings of this transitory state, "The Eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: happy art thou, saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help, and the sword of thy excellency; and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee, and thou shalt tread upon their high places! This God is thy God for ever and ever, he will be thy guide even unto death!-Thy flesh and thy heart must fail, but God will be the strength of thy heart, and thy portion for ever!" The termination of thy life on earth must shortly arrive, but it will not prove the extinction of thy being, nor even the suspension of thy consciousness. In this world thou art only in the infancy of thy existence; thy future life shall be commensurate with the eternity of Jehovah. How different from our present conceptions will be our future ideas of duration and of permanence. How long a period, when viewed in anticipation, appears the term of threescore years and ten. How remarkable appears the longevity of a man who has lived a century. With what astonishment we

reflect on the protracted lives of the antediluvian patriarchs, of whom some, at the age of five hundred years, had but just passed the meridian of life! But in the future state of being, the longest life, which the history of mortals will record, will seem in the retrospect but "as a vapour which appeareth for a very little time, and then vanisheth away." The time will come when we shall have passed through as many centuries of existence, as in the history of this globe there shall have been days, and hours, and moments, and still there shall be before us a boundless and undiminished duration, and then shall we better comprehend what is meant by Eternity!

And where, and in what circumstances, and in what society, shall the Christian eternally be placed? He "shall be for ever with the Lord!" The dwellingplace of him who is the Architect and the Proprietor of the universe, must doubtless be fixed in a region of surpassing glory. The place prepared to be the inheritance of the saints in light will be worthy of the glorious riches of him by whom it is bestowed. In that world, what an assembly will there be of perfected spirits, in glorified bodies-in their number countless

in their character Godlike-their intellect all light -their souls all love-their language all praise! Worthy will they be to find admission to the society of the angels of God. But this comprehends not all their bliss; no, nor even the ingredient of highest value in the cup of salvation.-"Where I am," said Jesus, "there also shall my servant be." It is his presence which constitutes heaven. The best description of heaven is, the place where Jesus reigns. It is his own description:-" Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me. The prayer was heard, and shall be answered to


its full extent. Into his joy shall they be introduced, and his presence they shall never quit. He is the Sun of the world which shall be their joyous abode, and amidst the irradiations of his favour they shall for ́ever dwell. Who can tell what communications of blessedness he shall perpetually convey into their redeemed and purified spirits, or with what rich and boundless stores of knowledge he shall fill their expanded and ever-expanding capacities! Who can tell how he will unfold the glory of his attributes, or employ, in the promotion of that glory, the activities of their vigorous minds, and of their spiritual and immortal bodies! For such a prospect as is opening before us, what do we not owe to him who brought life and immortality to light, who loved us and gave himself for us; who pitied us in our low estate, when exposed to endless perdition, and redeemed us by that precious blood which cleanseth from all sin! Under the impulse of that love, which delightfully constrains to every act of grateful obedience, let us live no longer to ourselves. Let us "seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God. us set our affections on things above, not on things on the earth. Let us look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal."


H. F. Burder.


GOD is every where, and knows all persons, and all


Of the truth of this fact we have a consciousness,

which no art, no reasoning, can expel. We feel conscious, that there is no place in heaven above, or on earth beneath, from whence GOD is excluded :-we feel conscious, that in the deepest vale, as well as on the mountain top; in subterraneous caverns, as well as open plains; when surrounded by the darkness of midnight, as well as the splendour of noon-day, he is around us, and knows us:-we feel conscious, that if we could transport ourselves with the rapidity of lightning from our present local habitation, to the extreme verge of the habitable globe, that we should not be able to light on a single spot, and take our stand and say, Here, His eye shall not see us; here, His ear shall not hear us; here, His justice cannot overtake us; here, His grace cannot save us. And if we could leave this diurnal sphere, and ascend up to heaven, we are conscious that we should see him in all the uncreated majesty of his being;-and could we descend to hell, we should behold him in all the terrors of his vengeance. But while his presence is diffused through every part of the visible and invisible creation, it is sometimes more expressly manifested in particular places, and at appointed seasons. In heaven he draws aside the veil of concealment, and exhibits before its inhabitants all the uncreated beauties of his nature. They see GOD;-they see him as he is, with his unveiled face. What a sight! What tongue can describe it? What hand can sketch it? What imagination conceive it! What sublime and awful impressions must it produce! What an ecstacy of bliss! What a fulness of delight! And has he not, my Christian brethren, said, "Wheresoever my name is recorded, there I will come to you?" Yes; his name is recorded here, and here his honour dwelleth. Here he comes in the ministry of reconciliation; slays he enmity of the human heart; roots up the deep

struck prejudices against the simplicity and spirituality of his truth; disperses the fears and terrors of guilt; soothes the agitated breast; heals the wounded spirit, and lifts upon his people, in the radiance of brightness, the light of his countenance, and shines upon them according to the riches of his glory by CHRIST JESUS. We want, brethren, no fresh evidence to convince us of the fact; it is attested by our own experience; for we have seen the goings of our God in his sanctuary, and often enjoyed the expressions of his loving-kindness and sovereign grace. Infidelity would exclude him from our world; but are there not many local spots, which he has often animated and enlivened by his presence? Have you not, Christian brethren, in the retirements of solitude, often enjoyed sweet and unbroken communion with him? Have you not, when engaged in the holy exercise of meditation and prayer, felt a tranquillity of mind, which no cares could ruffle; an elevation of feeling, which no guilt could repress; a moral sublimity of sentiment, which has already identified you with the spirits of the just made perfect, though on this side the waters of separation? And though the enemies of religion would deprecate the sentiments we have now uttered, as the rhapsodies of fanaticism, you, my Christian brethren, dare not. Shall we admit the universality of the divine presence, and yet deprive him of the power of manifesting it to his creatures? or, shall we say that the special manifestation of his favour will create no sublime emotions in the human heart? "Whither shall I go from thy Spirit, or whither shall I flee from thy presence ?"


THE Divine Omnipresence stands, in natural Theology, upon this foundation. In every part and place of the universe we perceive the exertion of a

« PreviousContinue »