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and of Chaldea, and some of them in the country of Mesopotamia, which lay at a considerable distance from the land of Canaan. The true meaning must therefore be, that he was “gathere!" to the assembly of the righteous, to the blessed society of those congenial spirits, eminent for their piety, who had passed before him into the invisible world. Hence, says the Psalmist, “Gather not my soul with sinners.”— Hence, says Job, when describing the miseries of the wicked, “The rich man shall lie down” in the grave, “but he shall not be gathered;” and the prophet, when personating the Messiah, declares, “Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of Jehovah.” These remarks may suffice to show, that the doctrine of a future state was known, and generally recognised, by the venerable patriarchs and other illustrious characters that flourished under the Jewish dispensation. That this doctrine is exhibited in the clearest light in the Christian Revelation, has never been disputed, by any class of religionists, nor even by infidels themselves. In this revelation, however, the doctrine of immortality is not attempted to be proved by any laboured arguments or supernatural evidences, nor is it brought forward as a new discovery. It is evidently taken for granted, and incidentally interwoven through all the discourses of our Saviour and his apos“les, as a truth which lies at the foundation of religion, and which never ought for a moment to be called in question. In elucidating this topic, it will be quite sufficient simply to quote a few passages from the New-Testament writers. Paul, when looking forward to the dissolution of his mortal frame, declares, in his own name, and in the name of all Christians—“Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we aim not at things which are visible, but at those which are invisible; for the things which are visible are temporary, but those which are invisible are eternal. For we know, that, if this earthly house of our tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” When the time of his departure from the body was at hand, he declared, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the righteous Judge shall give me at that day ; and not to me only, but to all them that love his appearing.” The apostle Peter declares, that believers “are regenerated to the lively hope of an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for them.” “When the chief Shepherd shall appear, we shall receive a crown of glory, which fadeth not away.” Our Saviour declares, in reference to his servants, “I give anto them eternal life, and they shall never per

ish.” “In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And I will come again, and receive you to myself, that where I am there you may be also.” And again, “Many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the king iom of heaven.” “ Then shall the righteous shine forth as the su" in the kingdom of their Father.”

While these and similar passages clearly demonstrate the certainty of an eternal world, and the future happiness of the righteous—the apostles and evangelists are equally explicit in asserting the future misery of the wicked. “The unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God,” but “shall go away into everlasting punishment.” “The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven, with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them them that know not God, and who obey not the Gospel: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” “At the end of the world, the angels shall come forth and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire, where sht", be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” “The searful and unbelieving, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone. There shall in nowise enter into the heavenly Jerusalem any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh aboumination, or maketh a lie.”

The way by which happiness in the future world may be obtained is also clearly exhibited. “Etol nal life is the gift of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” “This is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his son.” “The God of all grace hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus.”—The dispositions of those on whom this happiness will be conferred, and the train of action which prepares us for the enjoyment of eternal bliss, are likewise distinctly described. “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. He that soweth to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption, but he that soweth to the spirit, shall co the spirit reap life everlasting.” “To them who, by patient continuance in well-doing, seek for glory, honour, and immortality, God will recompense eternal life.” “The pure in heart shall see God.” “He that doeth the unll of God abideth for ever.” “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out.” “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have a right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.”

The nature of the heavenly felicity, and the employments of the future world, are likewise incidentally stated and illustrated. The foundation of happiness in that state is declared to consist in perfect freedoin from moral impurity, and in the attainment of moral perfection. “No one who worketh abomination can enter the gates of he New Jerusalein.” “Christ Jesus gave himself for the church, that he might sanctify and cleanse it, and that he might present it to himself a glorious church, holy, and without blemish.” The honour which awaits the faithful, in the heavenly world, is designated “a crown of righteousness.” The inheritance to which they are destined is declared to be “undefiled with moral pollution; and it is “an inheritance among them that are sanctified.” “When Christ, who is our list, shall appear,” says the Apostle John, “we shall be like him,” adorned with all the beauties of holiness which he displayed on earth as our pattern and exemplar. The employments of that world are represented as consisting in adoration of the Creator of the universe, in the celebration of his praises, in the contemplation of his works, and in those active services, flowing from the purest love, which have a tendency to promote the harmony and felicity of the intelligent creation. “I beheld,” said John, when a vision of the future world was presented to his view, “and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, clothed in white robes, crying with a loud voice, Salvation to our God that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, be ascribed to our God for ever and ever.” That the contemplation of the works of God is one leading part of the exercises of the heavenly inhabitants, appears, from the scene presented to the same apostle, in another vision, where the same celestial choir are represented as falling down before Him that sat on the throne, and saying, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power; for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are, and were created.” Such sublime adorations and ascriptions of praise, are the natural results of their profound investigations of the wondersul works of God. In accordance with the exercises of these holy intelSigences, another chorus of the celestial inhabitants is exhibited as singing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty, just and true are thy ways, Jhou King of saints.”

The resurrection of the body to an immortal life, is also declared, in the plainest and most decisive language. This is one of the peculiar discoveries of Revelation; for, although the ancient sages of the heathen world generally admitted the immortality of the soul, they seem

never to have formed the most distant conception, that the bodies of men, after putrefying in the grave, would ever be reanimated ; and hence, when Paul declared this doctrine to the Atmenian philosophers, he was pronounced to be a babbler. This sublime and consoling truth, however, is put beyond all doubt by our Saviour and his apostles.—“The hour is coming,” says Jesus, “when all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and shall come forth: they that have done good, to the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.” “I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” “Why should it be thought a thing incredible that God should raise the dead?” “We look for the Saviour, who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the energy by which he is able even to subdue all things to himself.” “We shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”—The nature of this change, and the qualities of the resurrection

body, are likewise particularly described by Paul

in the fifteenth chapter of the first epistle to the Corinthians. “It is sown,” or committed to the grave “in corruption; it is raised in incorruption,”—liable no more to decay, disease and death, but immortal as its Creator. “It is raised in Power,”—endued with strength and vigour incapable of being weakened or exhausted, and fitted to accompany the mind in its most vigorous activities.—“It is raised in glory”—destined to flourish in immortal youth and beauty, and arrayed in a splendour similar to that which appeared on the body of Christ when “his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment became white and glittering.”—“It is raised a spiritual body”—refined to the highest pitch of which matter is susceptible, capable of the most vigorous exertions and of the swifest movements, endued with organs of perception of a more exquisite and sublime nature than those with which it is now furnished, and fitted to act as a suitable vehicle for the soul in all its celestial services and sublime investigations. Such is a brief summary of the disclosures which the Christian Revelation has made respecting the eternal destiny of mankind—a subject of infinite importance to every rational being—a subject of ineffable sublimity and grandeur, which throws into the shade the most important transactions, and the most splendid pageantry of this sublunary scene—a subject which should be interwoven with all our plans, pursuits and social intercourses, and which ought never for a moment to be banished from our thoughts.-I shall, there’re, conclude this department of my subject with a remark or twc *

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When we look around us on the busy scene of numan life, and especially when we contemplate the bustle and pageantry which appear in a populous city, we can scarcely help concluding, that the great majority of human beings that pass in review before us, are acting as if the present world were their everlasting abode, and as if they had no relation to an invisible state of existence. To indulge in sensual gratifications, to acquire power, wealth and fame, to gratisy vanity, ambition and pride, to amuse themselves with pictures of fancy, with fantastic exhibitions, theatrical scenes and vain shows, and to endeavour to banish every thought of death and eternity from the mind, appear to be in their view the great and ultimate ends of existence. This is the case, not merely of those who openly avow themselves “men of the world,” and call in question the reality of a future existence; but also of thousands who regularly frequent our worshipping assemblies, and profess their belief in the realities of an eternal state. They listen to the doctrines of eternal life, and of future punishment, without attempting to question either their reality or their importance, but as soon as they retire from “the place of the holy,” and mingle in the social circle, and the bustle of business, every impression of invisible realities evanishes from their minds, as if it had been merely a dream or a vision of the night. To cultivate the intellectual faculties, to aspire after moral excellence, to devote the active powers to the glory of the Creator, and the benefit of mankind; to live as strangers and pilgrims upon earth, to consider the glories of this world as a transient scene that will soon pass away, and to keep the eye constantly fixed on the realities of an immortal life—are characteristics of only a comparatively small number of individuals scattered amidst the swarming population around us, who are frequently regarded by their fellows as a mean-spirited and ignoble race of beings. Though death is making daily havoc around them, though their friends and relatives are, year after year, dropping into the grave, though poets and orators, princes and philosophers, satesmen and stage-players, are continually disappearing from the living world; though sickness and disease are raging around and laying their victims of every age prostrate in the dust, and though they frequently walk over the solemn recesses of the burying ground, and tread upon the ashes of “the mighty man, and the man of war, the judge and the ancient, the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator,”—yet they prosecute the path of dissipation and vanity with as much Keene's and resolution, as if

every thing around them were unchangeable, and as if their present enjoyments were to last for ever. If this representation be founded on fact, we may assuredly conclude, that the great bulk of mankind have no fixed belief of the reality of a future world, and that more than the one half of those who profess an attachment to religion, are as little influenced in their general conduct by this solemn consideration, as if it were a matter of mere fancy, or of “doubtful disputation.” It is somewhat strange, and even paradoxical, that, amidst the never-ceasing changes which are taking place among the living beings around us, men should so seldom look beyond the grave to which they are all advancing, and so seldom make inquiries into the certainty and the nature of that state into which the tide of time has carried all the former generations of mankind. If a young man were made fully assured that, at the end of two years, he should obtain the sovereignty of a fertile island in the Indian ocean, where he should enjoy every earthly pleasure his heart could desire, his soul would naturally bound at the prospect, he would search his maps to ascertain the precise position of his future residence, he would make inquiries respecting it at those travellers who had either visited the spot or passed near its contines; he would peruse with avidity the descriptions which geographers have given of its natural scenery, its soil and climate, its productions and inhabitants; and, before his departure, he would be careful to provide every thing that inight be requisite for his future enjoyment. If a person, when setting out on a journey which he was obliged to undertake, were informed that his road lay through a dangerous territory, where he should be exposed, on the one hand, to the risk of falling headlong into unfathomable gulfs, and, on the other, to the attacks of merciless savages, he would walk with caution, he would look around him at every step, and he would welcome with gratitude any friendly guide that would direct his steps to the place of his destination. But, in relation to a future and invisible world, there exist, in the minds of the bulk of mankind, a most unaccountable apathy and indifference; and not only an indis. serence, but, in many instances, a determined resolution not to listen to any thing that may be said respecting it. To broach the subject of immortality, in certain convivial circles, would be considered as approaching to an insult; and the person who had the hardihood to do so, would be regarded as a rude, sanctimonious intruder How unaccountably foolish and preposterous is such a conduct! especially when we consider. that those very persons who seem to be entirely regardless whether they shall sink into the gulf of annihilation, or into the regions of endless . perdition, will pass whole days and nights in chagrin and despair for the loss of some employ

ment, for a slight offront, or for some imaginary reflection on their reputation and honour! Were it necessary to bring forward additional proofs that the greater part of mankind have no belief in a future state, or, which amounts nearly to the same thing, that it has no influence whatever on the general tenor of their thoughts and actions—the prominent features of their conduct afford abundant evidence of this melancholy truth. Would a man, who firmly believes that he is destined to an everlasting state, pass fify or sixty years of his life without spending one serious thought about that unknown futurity into which he is soon to enter, or making the least inquiry respecting its nature and employments 7 Would he toil fron, morning to night, with incessant care, to lay up a sew fleeting treasures, and never spend a single hour in considering what preparations are requisite for an endless existence 7 Would he spurn at that book which has unveiled the glories and the terrors of eternity, and “brought life and immortality to light 7” Would he sneer at the person who is inquiring the way to a blessed immortality, and count him as an enemy when he wished to direct his attention to the concerns of an unseen world? Can that man be supposed to believe that a crowa of glory awaits him in the heavens, whose whole soul is absorbed in the pursuits of ambition, and who tramples on every principle of truth and justice, in order to gain possession of a post of opulence and honour 7 Can those parents believe that in heaven there is “a treasure that fadeth not,” while they teach their children to conclude, that the acquisition of a Jortune, and the favor of the great, are the grand objects to which they should aspire 7 Can that old hoary-headed votary of pleasure consider himself as standing on the verge of an eternal world, who still indulges himself in all the fashionable follies and frivolities of the age, and never casts an eye beyond the precincts of the grave 7 Can that hard-hearted worldling, who shuts his ears at the cry of the poor and needy, and who grasps his treasures with eagerness even amidst the agonies of dissolution—believe that “a recompense of reward” awaits the benevolent “at the resurrection of the just 7” Can that man be impressed with the solemnities of the eternal world, who, the monent after he has committed the remains of a relative to the grave, violates every humane ond friendly feeling, and for the sake of a few paltry pounds or shillings, deprives the widow and the orphan of every earthly enjoyment 7 Can that courly sycophant, who is continually hunting afer places and pensions, fawning upon his superiors, and whose whole life is a continued course of treachery, adulation and falsehood—believe that “all liars shall have their portion ir the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone 7” Can that thoughtless devauchee believe that future punishment awaits the

workers of iniquity, who runs from one scene of dissipation to another, who wastes his time in folly and extravagance, and whose life is but one continued crime 3 Or can we even suppose that that clergyman, who is unremittingly aspiring after preferment, who is mercilessly fleecing his flock, yet neglecting their instruction, and engaged in incessant litigations about some paltry tythes, seriously believes, that the treasures of this world are unworthy to be compared with that “exceeding great and eternal weight of glory which is about to be revealed in the life to come 2'Such conduct plainly indicates, whatever professions certain descriptions of these characters may make, that the solemn realities of the eternal world have no more practical influence on their minds than if they regarded them as unsubstantial phantoms, or as idle dreams. The doctrine of a future state is not a mere speculative proposition, to serve as a subject of metaphysical investigation, or to be admitted merely to complete a system of philosophical or theological belief. It is a truth of the highest practical importance, which ought to be interwoven with the whole train of our thoughts and actions. Yet how many are there, even of those who bear the Christian name, who are incessantly engaged in boisterous disputes respecting the nature of faith, who have never felt the influence of that faith which is “ the confident expectation of things hoped for, and the conviction of things which are not seen,” and which realizes to the mind, as if actually present, the glories of the invisible world ! If we really believe the doctrine of immortality, it will manisost itself in our thoughts, affections and pursuits. . It will lead us to form a just estimate of the value of all earthly enjoyments. For, in the light of eternity, all the secular pursuits in which men now engage, appear but as vanity, and all the dazzling objects which fascinate their eyes, as fleeting shadows. A realizing view of an eternal state dissipates the illusion which the eye of sense throws over the pageantry and the splendours of this world, and teaches us that all is transitory and fading, and that our most exquisite earthly enjoyments will ere long be snatched from our embrace. For, not a single mark of our sublunary honours, not a single farthing of our boasted treasures, not a single trace of our splendid possessions, nor a single line of the beauty of our persons, can be carried along with us to the regions beyond the grave. It will stimulate us to set our affections on things above, and to indulge in heavenly contemptations “Where our treasure is, there will our hearts be also.” Rising superior to the delights of sense, and to the narrow boundaries of time, we will expatiate at large in those boundless regions which eye hath not seen, and contemplate, in the light of reason and of revelation. those scenes of felicity and grandeur, which will

burst upon the disembodied spirit, when it has dropped its earthly tabernacle in the dust. Like Seneca, when he contemplated, in imagination, the magnitude and beauty of the orbs of heaven, we will look down, with a noble indifference, on the earth as a scarcely distinguishable atom, and say, “Is it to this little spot that the great designs and vast desires of men are confined 4 Is it for this there is such disturbance of nations, so tauch carnage, and so mauv ruinous wars? O folly of deceived men' to imagine great kingdoms in the compass of an atom, to raise armues to divide a point of earth with their swords! It is just as if the ants should divide their molehills into provinces, and conceive a field to be several kingdoms, and fiercely contend to enlarge their borders, and celebrate a triumph in gaining a foot of earth, as a new province to their empire.” In the light of heaven all sublunary glories fade away, and the mind is refined and ennobled, when, with the eye of faith, it penetrates within the veil, and describes the splendours of the heaven of heavens. Again, if we believe the doctrine of immor

tality, we will be careful to avoid those sins which would expose us to misery in the future world, and to cultivate those dispositions and virtues which will prepare us for the enjoyment of eternal felicity. Between virtue and vice, sin and holiness, there is an essential and eternal distinction; and this distinction will be fully and visibly displayed in the eternal world. He whose life is a continued scene of vicious indulgence, and who has devoted himself to “work all manner of uncleanness with greediness,” becomes, by such habits, “a vessel of wrath fitted for destruction;” and, from the very constitution of things, there is no possibility of escaping misery in the future state, if his existence be prolonged. Whereas, he who is devoted to the practice of holiness, who loves his Creator with supreme affection, and his neighbour as himself, who adds to his faith “virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherlykindness, and charity,” is, by such graces, rendered fit for everlasting communion with the Father of spirits, and for delightful association with all the holy intelligences that people his im.nense enspire. Again, the belief of a suture

world should excite us to the exercise of contentment, and reconcile our minds to whatever privations or afflictions Providence may allot to us in the present world. “For the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which is to be revealed.” If we believe that the whole train of circumstances connected with our present lot, is arranged by Infinite Wisdom and Benevolence, every thing that befalls us here must have a certain bearing on the future world, and have a tendency to prepare us for engaging in its exercises and for relishing its enjoyments. In short, if we recognise the idea of an immortal life, we will endeavour to acquire clear and comprehensive views of its nature, its pleasures, and its employinents. We will not rest satisfied with vague and consused conceptions of celestial bliss: but will endeavour to form as precise and definite ideas on this subject as the circumstances of our sublunary station will permit. We will search the Oracles of Divine Revelation, and the discoveries of science, and endeavour to deduce from both the sublimest conceptions we can form of the glories of that “inheritance which is incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, which is reserved in heaven for the faithful.” In a word, if our minds are as deeply impressed with this subject as its importance demands, we shall experience feelings similar to those which affected the mind of Hyeronymus when he contemplated the dissolution of the world, and the soleranities of the last judgment. —“Whether I eat or drink, or in whatever other action or employment I am engaged, that solemn voice always seems to sound in my ears, “Arise ye dead and come to judgment!’—As often as I think of the day of judgment, my heart quakes, and my whole frame trembles. If I am to indulge in any of the pleasures of the present life, I am resolved to do it in such a way, that the solemn realities of the future judgment may never be banished from my recollection.”

* Sive comedam, sive bibam, sive aliquid allud faciam, semper vox illa in auribus meus sonarg violetur: Surgite Mortus, et venite ad judicium. Quotius diem judicii cogito, totus corde et corport contremisco, Si qua enim praesentis vita est lae. titiae, ita agenda est, ut nunquain aumaritudo suturi judicii recedat a memoria.

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