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excellent Majesty, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and whose dominion endureth through all ages? What was the feast of the great Ahasuerus, or its expensive preparations, to what is known above? Yet what astonishing proofs of greatness, elegance, and liberality were there ! We read that in the garden-court of the king's palace all the people of Shushan were feasted for seven days together: where were white, blue, and green hangings, fastened with cords of fine linen and purple to silver rings and pillars of marble; the beds or sofas were of gold or silver, upon a pavement of red, blue, white, and black marble; they gave them drink in vessels of gold, the vessels being diverse one from another, and royal wine in abundance, according to the state of the king.' What is all this compared with the astonishing description of the heavenly Jerusalem given in the Revelation ? And even admitting that it is figurative, does it therefore mean nothing? Yes, it certainly means much more than can be expressed, whether we speak of it as belonging to the glory of the church in the latter days, or to the eternal state when time shall be no more. were permitted to take this literally, all the cities built by human means appear mere trifles; and, supposing it to express the glories of the city above by way of condescension to our understandings, it may help us to conceive something of the superior architecture, and unrivalled excellencies of the Zion above. That great city, the holy Jerusalem, has God for its founder and furnisher; and the excellency and perfection of the work discover his hand. This city, which is a perfect square, is represented as being situated upon a great and high mountain, surrounded with a wall fifteen hundred miles in breadth and height, and about two hundred feet in thickness, built of jasper, or the colour of white marble, with a light shade of green and red. The wall has twelve gates, three on each side, each gate made of one entire pearl, and the names of the twelve tribes of Israel writ. ten upon the gates, with twelve angels attending upon them. These gates ever stand open to admit the saints, who are the
glory and honour of the nations; büt ever exclude the una holy. “There shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth; neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie : but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.” The foundations of this wall are twelve in num. ber, and astonishingly grand. They are built with most beautiful precious stones of various kinds, and in them, per haps, engraved the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper, the colour of white marble, with a light shade of green and red, and which was the coiour of the wall ; the second, sapphire, of a sky blue colour, speckled with gold; the third, a chalcedony, the colour of red hot iron ; the fourth, an emerald, of a grass green colour ; the fifth, sardonyx, red, streaked with white; the sixth, sardius, of a deep red; the seventh, chrysolite, of a deep yellow; the eighth, beryl, of a sea green; the ninth, a topaz, a pale yellow; the tenth, a chrysoprasus, greenish and transparent, with gold specks; the eleventh, a jacinth, of a red purple; and the twelfth, an amethyst, of a violate purple colour.
The city itself is pure gold, like unto clear glass: and the street is also of gold, of the same transparency. It has no temple, the continual presence of God and his beloved Son rendering that unnecessary. The sun and moon never rise there to give them light, for they need not their feeble beams, being continually enlightened by the glorious refulgence of God and the Lamb. A pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, issuing from the eternal throne, gladdens that happy place, while on its delightful banks the eververdant and ever-fruitful groves of the tree of life produce their healing virtue-their varied and never-decaying fruit. No curse is there. The acts of religious worship are never interrupted. The blest inhabitants behold the face of their beloved Lord continually, and his name, in luminous characters, shines upon their illustrious foreheads, without the smallest diminution. They never stand in need of any artificial light whatever, for night never spreads its gloomy curtains over the heads of these happy citizens. The Lamb of God, in whose blood they washed their robes and made them white, is their continual light. They hunger and thirst no more, neither shall they be incommoded by any circumstance whatever. The Lamb that is in the midst of the throne shall feed them with the rich, varied, and abundant repasts of heaven ; to living fountains of pure, unmingled pleasures shall he lead them, and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. There shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, nor pain : for the former things are passed away; and they shall reign for ever. Rev. xxi.
Let us then by faith, “walk about Zion; go round about her, and tell the towers thereof-let us mark well her bul. warks, and consider these palaces of our God-on the mountain of his holiness.” Let us contemplate its beautiful situation, the joy of the whole earth--of all who long to have their eternal residence where God is known as a sure re. fuge. All its citizens meet in one common bond of friendship. Here envy never comes, for every cup overflows; here is no discord, for all agree; no jealousies or suspicions, for all are wise and upright; no animosities, for all is harmony and love. Penalties, there are none; for there is no transgressor. The sacred empire of grace extends its influence through all hearts, and the will of God is invariably, gratefully, and joyfully done. Who then would not desire to partake of that heavenly inheritance? Who would not wish to be invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb ? Who would not be enrolled in that register of fame, where the names of those called chosen and faithful soldiers of the Son of God are recorded ? Who would not join the anthems of the heaven of heavens, and cause the name of the great Lord of all to resound through all the realms of light, in ceaseless 'songs of gratitude and love ?
Oh how foolish it is to be so blindly attached to the vain things of this lower world, when such happiness is set before us! Some may say, “Surely we are not so senseless as
not to desire this great good, so desirable and glorious in itself.' Perhaps it is desired by many, and by many who will never enjoy it ; and the reason is, they will not seek by sound conversion the disposition of mind which this state requires. It is altogether holy, and it requires holiness in every one that is admitted there. God is holy, and opposed to all iniquity; the Great Mediator is holy, who died to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself; his angels are holy, and at the end of time, he will cast the wicked into hell; the redeemed there are just spirits made perfect; the place is holy, excluding all sin ; the employments and pleasures of it are altogether pure, and are not mixed with the smallest trait of moral evil. Therefore, as two cannot walk together, except they are agreed; so none can possibly enter heaven but by conversion, through which alone we become one spirit with the Lord; and hence we see from the nature of the heavenly state the absolute necessity of conversion.
THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED.
The horrors of hell.
HELL, As it is natural for us to fly from pain and anguish, and to desire ease and happiness, we have in this a strong proof of the great unbelief that dwells in the hearts of men; for did they believe the awful threatenings which abound in the sacred scriptures, they would not dare to proceed in those ways which will ultimately bring them upon their guilty souls. If a man believed as he ought that the punishments of hell will assuredly come upon the impenftent, would he persevere in his sinful courses ? Men are in love and league with sin; and, lest they should be constrained to give up that which has taken such hold of their hearts, they seek to paliate it, and to soften its punishments, as implying something
merely figurative or of short duration, or as not existing at all. Thus fools make a mock of sin, and of punishment also, by disbelieving God, till they feel the dreadful consequences of sin, by the fulfilment of his threatenings. Oh what necessity there is for us fully to believe these, as well as the promises! God is faithful in both. He cannot lie, and he will as surely fulfil his threatenings in the wicked, as he will perform his promises to the righteous. Let us then take up this solemn subject as a matter of the highest importance; and learn from it the necessity of being truly converted to God, that we may escape the place of torment, and have our portion with the ransomed of the Lord.
Immediately on our dismission from the body, we shall be introduced into a state congenial with the dispositions of our souls, as has been already hinted; that is, if impenitent, to what belongs to impenitency; and if holy, into a state suited to holiness. As, however, the scriptures, when speaking of the state of the damned, generally speak of them as sustering both in body and mind, it is requisite that we should carry our views beyond death, to that period when the re-union of the body and soul has taken place at the resurrection. Then will commence a state which may properly be called a state of punishment, for the various afflictions of the present life are so light when compared with the pangs of hell, and are so often productive of good to those who are exercised thereby, that they scarcely deserve the name of punishment; many having been constrained to say,
Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now have I kept thy law.”
What part of the universe Almighty Justice has appointed as the residence of reprobated spirits is not determinable by us, because not revealed. Many indeed have ventured to conjecture ; but, after all they have said, bave left us in as much doubt as ever. Wherever it is, it is most dreadful in itself, and the descriptions which are given of it are such as to induce us, if we have any love for our own souls, to shun