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one can scarely fail to admire and appreciate, and there is something in it which is at once speculatively sublime and plausible. But it is inconsistent with the evident intentions of the Creator, and with the scriptural accounts of the future life ; and it is directly at variance with the economy under which we are placed—an economy which has, in innumerable instances, laid open to us inferior sources of pleasure, of which it would be sinful not to avail ourselves. The same authority which enjoins us to love God with all our heart, has commanded every one to love his neighbour as himself; and on the ground of analogy we may safely infer, that the principle which harmonizes these two cardinal precepts, comprehending, as they do, all conceivable excellence, must extend itself to the heavenly world, and regulate the feelings and conduct of all its inhabitants. If heaven consist in a sublime abstraction of the soul, occasioned by the beatific vision of God, some of the obvious ends would be frustrated, for which the fabric of the universe was reared and peopled with myriads of holy and happy creatures. He who is bimself invisible has chosen the works of his hands-amongst which the spirits which he has fashioned, and redeemed, surely occupy no unimportant place,-as so many channels of beneficent communication, and mediums through which he reveals the transcendent beauty, of his character. While these are viewed, as they ought to be, in relation to the chief good, and in reference to the ultimate purpose of their existence, the love and enjoyment of them must consist with the most perfect rectitude. When the soul becomes in any degree estranged from its Creator, through the instrumentality of his works, its apostasy from that moment commences. But piety enjoys and sees God in every emanation of his love, from the most exalted creature that shines in the brightness of his glory, to the meanest insect that floats in the air. Nothing, in short, to a perfectly holy being can ever be regarded as an insulated object, with respect to the first and uncreated cause: but, by virtue of a hallowed association, God " is all and in all.” The gift reminds him of the donor the streams conduct him to the fountainthe parent is perceived in the person and character of the child. This is happiness; and it will be fully enjoyed in heaven, where all will love and be loved by each other with pure, intense, and holy affection. Were it otherwise, what would be the consequence? One of the chief purposes of God, in the creation of social and intelligent beings, would be frustrated, and the entire body of the heavenly inhabitants, instead of presenting the aspect of a united family, would be a company of strangers, and continue throughout all eternity as unknown and useless to each other as though

they were severally separated by the most distant regions of space.

As the sun exerts a primary influence over all the planetary bodies, acting upon them with a force proportioned to their distances and magnitudes, without destroying those lesser attractions towards each other which vary with their relative positions ; so may we presume it will be in regard to the moral system, under which the righteous will be placed in the future world. God—the uncreated sun, will be the centre, around which their thoughts and feelings will revolve—the source whence will flow an incessant stream of light and genial warmth-the ruling power, in short, which will shape their courses, retaining each spirit in its proper orbit of benevolent feeling and action, and thus imparting life, joy, and undisturbed harmony to the whole scene. But it is unreasonable and visionary to suppose that their love to God will annihilate the social tendencies of their nature, and estrange them from all inferior objects. The law, which draws them towards God, must be the source of subordinate and reciprocal influences; it will attract them towards one another.

CHAPTER VIII.

THOUGHTS ON THE FINAL INTERVIEW OF THE WICKED,

AND THE

ULTIMATE CONSEQUENCE OF UNHOLY FEL

LOWSHIP.

There is in human nature a strange disposition to compromise the majesty of truth, by softening down, or hiding altogether from view, those parts of revelation which contain the denunciations of divine wrath against the impenitent, or which relate to the doom which threatens them in a future life. In the attempt, on the other hand, to be faithful to the spiritual interests of men, and to maintain a strict adherence to the authority of scripture, there is a danger of presenting these solemn subjects in a distorted light, or of descend ing, in the exhibition of them, into a manner and tone of feeling which would little correspond with the compassionate genius of a religion which brings glory to God, peace on earth, and good will to man. · In either case the effect can hardly

fail to be a pernicious one, and it might, perhaps, admit of a question which is likely to produce the greatest mischief. For, in the one instance, the mind is armed against the salutary influence of fear, and in the other it is likely to be overborne by terror, or inspired with feelings of disgust. The flaming sword of divine justice, however, presented together with the olive branch of peace, and wielded by the arm of christian charity and discrimination, is one of the most efficacious of the weapons which are to be used in the spiritual warfare, and which are mighty, through the Spirit, in bringing down “ imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God." It is a false benevolence which would disguise the denunciations of his offended justice against impenitent men, or which would abate one iota of the penal sanctions with which he has thought fit 'to surround the authority of his law and holy institutions. Its tender mercies are cruelty, and its wisdom is foolishness with God.

It is indeed the glory of our religion that it appeals principally to all the more generous and noble affections of the renewed nature, and that it recommends the practice of virtue, by motives drawn from the love of Christ and the intrinsic beauty of the divine character. But since the passion of fear is an original element in our constitution, it must have been planted in the human

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