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Thou knowest all the future-gleams of gladness,
By stormy clouds too quickly overcast,--
And the dark river to be crossed at last!
PURIFICATION OF THE VIRGIN MARY.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
MATTHEW v. 8.
Blest are the pure in heart,
Their soul is Christ's abode.
To guess an angel's lay,
The courts of heaven to-day.
On Sion's Prince that wait,
Towards His temple gate.
The temple gates are set,
The holy Child have met.
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God
in Christ Jesus.--PHILIPPIANS iii. 14.
Is not heaven more truly and properly our home, where we must take up our everlasting abode, than this earth? We are heirs, and that is our inheritance, even an “inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away.” We are here in continual distress and want, and there lies our substance; we are here fain to be beholden to others, and there lies our perpetual treasure; yea, the very hope of our souls is there: all our hope of relief from our distresses; all our hope of happiness when we are here miserable ; all this hope is laid up for us in heaven. Why, beloved Christians, have we so much interest, and so little affection ; so much interest, and so seldom thoughts? Are we not ashamed of this ? Doth it become us to be delighted in the company of strangers, so as to forget our Father and our Lord, our best and dearest friends; or to be so besotted with borrowed trifles, as to forget our own profession and treasure ? Men use in other things to overlove and overvalue their own, and too much to mind their interests. Oh that we would mind our own inheritance, and value it but half as it doth deserve!-BAXTER.
Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the
heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.—1 CORINTHIANS ii. 9.
Think, then, in thy meditations, if these things, which are but servants to sinful men, are yet so full of mysterious worth, what then is that place, where God Himself doth dwell, and is prepared for the just who are perfected with Christ? When thou walkest forth in the evening, look upon the stars how they glisten, and in what number they bespangle the firmament. If in the day-time, look up at the glorious sun. But all this is nothing to the glory of heaven. Yonder sun must then be laid aside as useless, for it would not be seen, for the brightness of God. So think of the rest of the creatures. This whole earth is but My Father's footstool. So much wisdom and power as appeareth in these earthly things, so much, and far much more greatness and goodness and loving delights shall I enjoy in the actual fruition of God. Surely, if the rain which rains, and the sun which shines on the just and unjust, be so wonderful; the sun then, which must shine on none but saints and angels, must needs be wonderful and ravishing in glory.BAXTER.
FEBRUARY 5. And to the spirits of just men made perfect.—HEBREWS xii. 23.
What a blessed company of glorious saints are there! How cheerful do they look; how happily do they live; how pleasant are they in their conversation one with another; how free are they from care; how full of love and joy, of grace and goodness, and of every thing that can ever be desired to make men happy! By faith we may behold them as St. John did, all clothed in white, with palms in their hands and crowns on their heads, sometimes falling down and worshipping, and then praising and magnifying, the most high God, and singing hallelujah to Him that sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb for evermore. Yea, by faith we may behold Almighty God Himself, the chiefest, the only good, smiling upon them, rejoicing over them, and manifesting Himself as reconciled to them, well pleased with them; the sight and apprehensions whereof cannot but ravish and transport their hearts into the highest raptures and extasies of joy and praise and thankfulness for so great, so infinite a favour as that is. All this, and infinitely more than I am able to express, my faith represents to me whensoever it fixes itself on heaven, which inay justly make us every one cry out with the Psalmist, “Oh that I had wings like a dove, for then would I flee away and be at rest!"--BEVERIDGE.
Love not the world, nor the things of the world.-1 John ü. 15.
We dote upon it, nevertheless. We have love enough if the world require it, and thoughts enough to pursue our profits. How delightfully and unweariedly can we think of vanity, and day after day employ our mind about the creature; and have we no thought of this our rest? How freely and how frequently can we think of our pleasures, our friends, our wants, our flesh, our lusts, our common labours, our news; yea, our very miseries, our wrongs, our sufferings, our fears ! But where is the Christian whose heart is on bis rest? Why sirs, what is the matter? Why are we not taken up with the views of glory, and our souls more accustomed to these delightful meditations ? Are we so full of joy that we need no more ? or is there no matter in heaven for our joyous thoughts? or rather, are not our hearts carnal and blockish ? Earth will to earth. Had we more spirit, it would be otherwise with us.-BAXTER.