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still ; with its plumes of immortality, shall never soar; and, with the liberty which “is as the spirit of life,” shall stay its course, and reject the means and the felicity of perpetually advancing towards the throne of that ineffable Being to whom every approach must be an augmentation of light, of wisdom, of beatitude, and of glory?

There is one farther declaration in Scripture which may afford grounds for still more sublime persuasions on the subject which we are here discussing. “Thou “ shalt not behold my face,” said God to Moses, “ for none can behold and live *.” Even he, the inspired missionary of God, who had heard the thunderings and the voices of the mount, and was wrapt in the lightnings of the divine presence, was yet unworthy and incapacitated to behold, save in the imperfect mirror of types and figures, the countenance of the Almighty. His highest and noblest faculties would have shrunk from the slightest beam of that radiance which encircles the majesty of God; and, if the veil had been lifted up, for a moment, which concealed from his view the eternal and ineffable glories of the divine nature, he would have ceased to live. But that which the favoured legislator of Israel could not have endured, shall be disclosed, in clear and blessed revelation, to the least of the children of heaven. Not only shall the just be “ heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ,” but they shall be given to behold their Maker “face to face," and shall see him as he is, in the full and unveiled plenitude of his being. It is not the reflection of the glory which shall descend upon them in illumination, but the glory itself. They may bow down in awe,

Exodus xxxiij. 14.

and veil themselves in humility, before the omnipotence of the Godhead, but the graces and mercies by which that omnipotence is softened, may equally inspire them with the holy and purifying emotions of gratitude and love; and, in the language of Tillotson, they shall be replenished by the vision with a higher and more satisfying beatitude, and “ shall “ take in all that light, and joy, and happiness, which “ flow perpetually from the presence of God.”

That we may better appreciate the nature of this promise, let us recollect that God is the fountain of light, of life, and of felicity. Of all created and sentient beings the happiness is, at best, but a feeble and dependent stream, and often embittered and darkened by misery. But God, whose beatitude can be impaired by no external cause, must necessarily possess in himself all the principles of eternal and imperturbable blessedness. In his presence, as it has been said, " is the fulness of joy, and at his

right hand are pleasures for evermore.” Whatever of real and satisfying good is participated by men or angels, is derived from his will; and, as he closes or opens his hand, all things living suffer or rejoice. To him, therefore, we cannot be permitted to approach in holiness and in purity, without approaching proportionally to the fountain of felicity, and tasting the stream. And, if this be true, what shall be the happiness of the spirit which shall be given to rejoice beneath the full influence of divine glory, to partake the fruition of the divine presence, and to be “made glad with the light of the divine countenance for ever!”

Even in this world the most stable and perfect happiness we can enjoy is derived from the faith and hope that God is with us, overshadowing us by his Providence, and secretly and invisibly controlling events for our good. By this trust, piety and virtue are strengthened for the contest they have to endure, and it is this trust which has so often sustained the perseverance of the saint, and the heroism of the martyr. But, whatever be the confidence which is thus inspired, it must be proportioned to the imperfection of that vision which we here enjoy, through faith, of the ways and mercies of the Almighty. He to whom we elevate our views is a God who hideth himself, as in a pavillion, in the very brightness of his glory, and whose designs and ways are past finding out by the children of men. We, therefore, look up to him with astonishment and awe; and, while we wonder and admire, we are embarrassed and disturbed. “ We go forward, but he is not “ there; and backward, but we cannot perceive " him; and where he worketh, but we cannot “ behold him *;" and we sometimes permit ourselves, in the perplexities and darkness which encompass us, to join in the exclamation".O that “ I knew where I might find him, that I might come

even unto his seat.'

But when the feebler light, which here permits us but to see as through a glass darkly, shall hereafter advance to the brightness of full: day, we shall no longer be subject to the frailty of imperfect, and sometimes, perhaps, of hesitating persuasion. Mystery shall cease to rest upon the ways of God. A more perfect revelation shall diffuse the brightness of its beams over the wonders which had been hitherto concealed in impenetrable obscurity; and “ the face of God,” the so long unapproachable

| Job xxiji. 8, 9.

glories of the Father, shall be disclosed unveiled to our eyes. The happiness and the exaltation which may be thus conferred upon us, we can here but imperfectly comprehend. But if faith and hope even in their less certain anticipations be blest, what, we may ask, shall be the blessing of certainty itself! How shall we rejoice when trust shall terminate in conviction, and “that which is in part,” that which affords occasion to the hesitations of doubt and fear,“ shall be done away!” How shall we exult, when we shall be permitted to contemplate that God who arrays himself in the manifold mercies of protecting omnipotence, unbounded love, and paternal majesty!

They who are thus to behold “ Him who sitteth on the throne,” cannot but receive a proportional augmentation of wisdom, and, consequently, of happiness. Ignorance and error, the abundant source of crime and misery, to them shall be no more. They shall behold all that is good, and great, and holy, and pure, in Him to whose footstool they are invited to approach. All that can kindle the highest emotions of gratitude and love, all that can elevate and edify the heart, shall be revealed to their view, Shall they raise their eyes to such a vision unmoved or unblest? Shall no refreshing streams of knowledge and of joy flow in upon their spirit, when they shall thus approach the eternal fountain of all joy and of all knowledge? Or, while they participate the illumination which descends upon, and brightens, and glorifies, the angels of heaven, shall they not also participate the felicity and the exaltation in which the angels rejoice?

To sum up all at once; the spirits of the just shall hereafter rest in the love, as in the light, of God. “ They shall be changed into the same image" with him whom they adore. The emanation of divine beneficence shall descend upon them, and they shall come like unto Him from whom it flowed. Then shall be perfected that sabbath of peace which shall never be disturbed by a jarring voice. Then shall be consummated the harmonious brotherhood of saints and angels; and heaven itself, irradiated by the immediate glory of the divine Presence, shall be but one mighty temple in which the uncounted number of the elect, animated by the holy spirit of concordand of love, shall enjoy the felicity of celestial association, and exult and triumph in the consciousness of Almighty favour.

If we now review this very imperfect and inadequate detail, we may more clearly discern the nature of that recompence which is reserved for the just in beaven. Here, every thing reminds us of the fallen and degraded state of our nature. The soul looks abroad through the medium of senses at once fallacious and frail, and inhabits a mansion which is every moment crumbling into dust. It is restricted and oppressed by infirmities not its own; it languishes and droops with the perishable form to which it is attached; it is perpetually beset with the evils which result from corporeal appetites and wants. Such a state admits of no satisfying and abiding happiness. Every where the tear is shed, the lamentation-uttered, the disappointment endured; and, of all the pilgrims and sojourners on earth, there is not one who can boast exemption, for a moment, from the ills, and frailties, and chances, which perpetually beset and disturb the condition of man.

To these evils, the common inheritance of all, are

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