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There is an interchange of blessings, derived from the source of all grace and goodness, and of love and gratitude and praise, ascending from us to the Author of all our mercies. In heaven this union exists in a more perfect manner, but the word of truth assures us that it is not unknown upon earth; and wherever it is found it indicates a heart warmed and cheered and delighted with the love which passeth knowledge.

We cannot indeed deny, that in many important particulars the condition of the most eminent Christian upon earth, is widely different from the condition of the just, in the world above. Here he has to pass through many great vicissitudes, and to encounter much tribulation : this is at best a probationary state. But he is not left without support and protection : God is his Rock, and the high God his Redeemer.* Hear the declaration of the psalmist: In the time of wrath God shall hide me in his pavilion, and compass me about with songs of deliverance.t I will pray the Father, saith Christ, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever. I We are not to conclude that, because God is in His holy

* Ps. Ixxviii. 35.

+ Ps. xxxii. 7.

| John xiv. 16.

temple, and manifests His visible glory in the heavens, therefore He is there only: it is His declaration that he will dwell and walk with His people.* Hence the psalmist declares that even the closing scenes of life, sad and awful as they are to the men of this world, would be attended with no terror to him. When the flesh and the heart were failing, he could still triumph in the hope of immortality, and rejoice in the conviction that God was the strength of his heart and his portion for ever.+ Such is the power of faith, such the efficacy of christian hope, that at the very moment when all earthly things seem to be against him, the child of God can rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory;£ he can anticipate the blessedness of that world to which he is looking, and congratulate himself that, through the grace of his Redeemer, he is an heir of God, and a joint-heir with Christ.Ş

So distinguished are the privileges of him who has his conversation in heaven; and we shall not, I am persuaded, mistake the views of the apostle, if we understand him to say, affected, in some measure, as if we were already there. To the eye of faith, the gates of that

we are

* 2 Cor. vi. 16.

+ Ps. lxxiii. 26.
S Rom. viii. 17.

I 1 Pet. i 8.

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heavenly Jerusalem seem to be already thrown open: we walk as seeing Him that is invisible, * and as mingling with the inhabitants of that eternal world. We are here in a tabernacle of clay; but we look onward, and behold, there is a building of God! We are travelling through a dark and tempestuous land; but we have a view of a better country, even an heavenly,t and in these holy contemplations we are almost ready to imagine that we have arrived at regions where night is unknown; that we have come not to the courts of the church below, but to that church which it typifies ; even to Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the Mcdiator of the new covenant. $ Soon shall these earthly shadows be chased away, and the beatific vision be revealed; we shall soon be admitted into the city of God, and with the nations of them that are saved shall walk in the light of it."'S

Let us in conclusion address a few words

Heb. xi. 27.

+ Heb. xi. 16.

Rev. xxi. 23.

1 Heb. xii. 22-24.

first to those whose attention is exclusively given to earthly things.

We would not detract from the value which they really possess; but how mean are such objects of pursuit, if contrasted with those which are in heaven! The fashion of this world passeth away,* and all things which it can give us must perish in the using. They may please for a time; but at the period when we stand most in need of consolation, they awfully fail us.

How different is the condition of the child of God! As a citizen of heaven, he possesses a dignity of character which places him at once above all the greatness of this world : his society is more noble, his pursuits more elevated, his prospects more animating, and he has an everlasting habitation. It is the peculiar excellence of his lot, that as all earthly consolations are vanishing, his hope is becoming more ardent, and his views more enlarged. He considers himself not as leaving all which was pleasant and attractive, but as now advancing to his home. He looks for happiness which instead of deceiving and disappointing him, shall satisfy his utmost desires: in thy presence is fulness of

* 1 Cor. vii. 31.

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joy: he looks for happiness which shall have no end : at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.*

Where is the man who would not gladly have the Christian's lot? Where is the man who does not in his conscience acknowledge the folly of all other pursuits, which lead to the abandonment of this ? Let, then, your affections be set on things above, not on things on the earth.f Seek for that grace of God, in Christ Jesus, which can alone effectually open your eyes, and change your hearts; that your transgressions may be forgiven; that the love of sin may be eradicated, and that you may be habitually led and guided by the Spirit of God. If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live; for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. I

Secondly, to those who have reason to believe themselves to be true members of the church of Christ.

The apostle exhorts you to be followers together of him; and we have seen, in some measure, the meaning of this exhortation, as it

* Ps. xvi. 11.

+ Col. iii. 1.

Rom. viii. 13, 14.

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