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they are, yet will not this diminish their affection for us; for, clearly perceiving, that though but babes, we yet possess the fair features and precious qualities of godlike fouls, they will cordially love and tenderly embrace us, as their younger brethren, and as infant angels. While meeting with no cruel obstructions to our love, as in this world, but on the contrary, finding ourselves beloved and caressed by each faint and angel, we shall daily become more grateful and affectionate, and consequently more lovely in the eyes, and more dear to the hearts, of those blessed people. And now, what words can express, what fancy can conceive the various and exquisite pleasures, that we may expect to meet with, in so wise, so all-accomplished and endearing a society? If the conversation of great and good natured wits, be so highly entertaining, that men of taste would give any thing to spend an even
ing with a party of such; how much more desireable must it be to spend an eternity in the company of angels? For, as in point of knowledge, wit, and eloquence, they must be far superior to the brightest geniuses of our world, and incomparably more affectionate, they cannot but make the most delightful company. From the vast stores of their wisdom and experience, they can easily draw an almost infinite variety of the most entertaining topics, on which such good and gentle spirits, will not fail to converse in the most free and endearing manner. Then, what a heavenly conversation must theirs be, whose scope is the most glorious knowledge, and its law the most perfect friendship?
Who would not willingly leave a childish, forward and ill natured world, for the blessed society of those wise friends and perfect lovers? And what a felicity must it be to spend an eternity, in such
a noble a noble conversation? Where we shall hear the deep philosophy of heaven communicated with mutual freedom, in the wise and amiable discourses of angels, and of glorified spirits, who, without any reserve or affectation of mystery, without passion or peevish contention for victory, do freely philosophize and impart the treasures of each others knowledge? For since all saints there are great philosophers, and all philosophers perfectly saints, we may conclude, that knowledge and goodness, wisdom and love, will-be most charmingly intermixed throughout all their conversation, and render it delightful in the highest degree. When therefore we shall leave this vain and unsociable world, and on our landing on the shores of eternity, shall be met by all our good old friends, who are gone to heaven before us, and who now with infinite joy for our safe arrival, receive and conduct us into the
splendid society of all the good and generous fouls, who ever lived in the world: when we shall be familiar friends with angels and archangels; and all the shining courtiers of heaven shall call us bretheren, and welcome us into their glorious society, with all the tender endearments and caresses, of those heavenly lovers, O how will all these mighty honors and joys, swell our bosoms with tides of transport almost too big to bear! But love not only renders us thus happy, by adorning us with such graces as give us a hearty welcome to the society, and joys of angels; but, O godlike power of charity! it even enables us to make all their joys our own.
It is a natural property of love, when sincere, to unite so closely the hearts o lovers, as to make their interests common, and thus to render the joys of the one, the joys of the other. Every man carries in his own bosom a proof of this delightful truth. Do not the virtues of a dear brother, give us as exqui* site joy, as if "we ourselves were adorn-" ed with them? Have not the high commendations bestowed on a beloved sister^ thrilled through our hearts, in as pure streams of pleasure as if we ourselves had been the honored subject of them? Now, if love, which is a native of heaven, produces, even in the cold foil of the human heart, such delicious fruits of joy at the sight of our neighbour's happiness, how much more copious and exquisite must be its growth and flavour, when restored to heaven, it enjoys all the energies of its native foil and climate? If therefore, while here on earth, we make such progress in brotherly love, as to relish our neighbour's happiness as our own, "heartily rejoicing with him when he rejoices;" we may rest assured, that on going to heaven, and entering into the society of blessed