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and steal. There are incorruptible crowns, and never-fading glories. There, too, are the spirits of just men made perfect, of those who have. done the will of God, and therefore abide with God for ever.
But some will say, perhaps, what certainty have we, that we shall enjoy this happiness? What proofs are there of this immutable duration and felicity of good men?
In answer to this question, I might produce innumerable topics of argument, but I shall not now insist upon the common proofs of a state of reward and punishment hereafter, which I'have, upon many other occasions, laid before
I shall confine myself to that assurance we have of it, from the immutability of God, the veracity of his promises, the certainty of his word, and the fellowship we have with him, and his Son, Jesus Christ.
If, then, there be a just, immutable God, faithful in his promises, I affirm, it necessarily follows, that he that doeth his will, abideth for ever. For, to what purpose does the scripture make such frequent mention of the immutability of God? Why is he called the God " which is, “ which was, and which is to come,” but to,
confirm our faith, and teach us that our hopes are built on a solid foundation? For this reason, the Psalmist, after he had said, “Thou art the
same, and thy years shall not fail,” immediately adds also, “ the children of thy servants “ shall continue, and their seed shall stand fast “ before theé;” thus making the immutability of God the foundation of the immutable state of his servants. In the same manner the prophet Habakkuk, from the eternity of God concludes the immortality of the righteous: “ Art not «thou froin everlasting, O Lord my God? we " shall not die.” And, by a like kind of reasoning, our Saviour concludes, that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were still alive, and that their bodies will rise again ; “ because God,” says he, " is their God: now he is not the God of the " dead, but the God of the living; for all live "to him.” And the same conclusion we may draw from the unlimited promises of God. For, when he is called the God and rewarder of the faithful, since he is eternal, he must always be their God, and, consequently, they must abide for ever.
So true, then, is that, which is declared in the Book of Wisdom; “God created " man to be immortal, and made him an image " of his own eternity.” And again, we may draw the same conclusion from what the scripture says of the word of God; that it is an in
corruptible seed, and abideth for ever: which serves to assure us, that the righteous will abide
For the word is the seed by which they are regenerated and quickened. If, therefore, the seed be immortal, they who are quickened by it, will be immortal too: for such as the seed is, such is the plant; and such as the principle of existence is, such is the life: from corruptible principles, such as flesh and blood, can proceed only a corruptible life; but from immortal and incorruptible principles, such as the word and the spirit, proceeds immortal life: Now the Gospel is such a principle of life: for it expressly tells us, that “God so loved the world that he
gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever “ believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” These are the
These are the express terms of the new covenant, which cannot be broken or disannulled : for Christ hath sealed them with his blood, and God himself has ratified them to us, by three most undoubted miracles, the resurrection of Christ, his ascension into heaven, and the descent of the Holy Spirit from heaven. These are the great earnests of our own resurrection.
If, therefore, the spirit of him, that raised up Jesus from the dead, dwell in us, we can have no douilt, but that he, who ra:sed u Jesus from
the dead, will also quicken our mortal bodies, and make them like unto his glorious body, and that, if we do the will of God, we shall abide
You see then, my brethren, that the present life is no more than the passage to a better, to an eternal and more enduring one. What then remains, but that we learn, from this great and important truth, the just value we ought to assign to each. We are placed for a short space of time, in this vale of affliction, by the hands of a wise and just God. Let us, therefore, do our several duties in it chearfully, and agreeably to the gracious designs of his providence: Let us endeavour, by an honest industry, to provide for ourselves, and those who look up to us for support, the comforts and conveniencies of life: and let us enjoy them, too, with a chearful and contented heart; knowing, that every creature of God is good, if it be received with thankfulness. But, amidst all our comforts and best enjoyments, let us remember withal, that we have, here, no abiding city: A few short momients, and not one stone shall be left upon another, of all that we possess or admire. Let us not, therefore, make them the final objects of our happiness. Our bodies must remain upon earth, till our appointed time come, but our hearts and nobler faculties should be in heaven. Thither, therefore, let all our thoughts and affections ultimately tend. The
of life bears but a small proportion to the great circle of eternity: the pleasures of vice are utterly inadequate to the rewards of virtue. The one may give us a few short and transient glimpses of joy, but the other will give us unchangeable and eternal happiness: "For he that doeth the will “ of God, abideth for ever.”
May we, therefore, do his vill on earth, as it is done in heaven! May all the nations of the world hear and obey his awful voice; that when the trumpet of God shall summon the quick and the dead, they may give up their accounts with joy, and having done his blessed will on earth, may abide with him, for ever, in heaven!