Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

our own strength, but in his assistance. And may God Almighty grant, that every finner amongst us, however slender his beginning, may grow

in

grace; and, forgetting those things which are behind, may reach forth unto the things ihat are before, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

SERMON XV.

JOHN, i. 51.

HEREAFTER YE SHALL SEE HEAVEN OPEN D.

THIS

HIS was our blessed Saviour's encouragement to a new convert. But it is equally an encouragement to all his faithful disciples. After a toilfome pilgrimage through this world, what a comfort should it be to us all, to see heaven opening at the end.

Let us then, my brethren, employ our thoughts at present a little on this subject. Let us confider, first, the happiness of heaven; and, secondly, the effect which such thoughts should have upon us.

1. The world we inhabit, is a brave world, no doubt. We admire its grand and beautiful furniture-plains, mountains, woods, rivers,

lakes, lakes, and seas--all filled and enlivened with animals of different kinds. We admire the va. riety of all these wonderful modes of creation, We admire the exquisite contrivance, by which the several parts are connected together, and formed into fo wonderful a whole. All this gorgeous array is certainly a just foundation for expecting a future world will be still more grand and beautiful. If God so clothe the grass of the fieldif God has made this world fo beautiful, may we not reason the probability of his making heaven more beautiful? If he hath provided such a habitation for our bodies, what may we not expect for our souls ?-But this world is not only a grand and beautiful scene in itself; it fur. nishes also a great degree of happiness to those who extend not their expectations from it beyond the limits of religion. Thus it leads us up, as by a step, to the great Creator, of whose inclination as well as power to make us happy it gives fufficient proof.

But notwithstanding this world is so beautifully and happily furnished, it has by no means those complete marks of happiness, which we are given to hope for in a future state. . As an habitation, it is subject to various evils--stormse

earth

IO

1

[ocr errors]

earthquakes, inundations, inclement seasons,
noxious animals, and diseases of innumerable
kinds : all these evils are the necessary append-
ages to a state of trial. But the chief destroyers
of human happiness are mankind themselves.
Our inward happiness is continually invaded by
our own bad passions and follies ; while our
outward happiness is equally preyed on by the
knavery and violence of others. The joys of
heaven, in the mean time, are pure, and unmixed
with any thing that can disturb our peace.

But the pleasurable enjoyments of this world
are not only mixed with evil—they are unsatis-
fying also: every thing troubles us, while few
things satisfy us. However it be, either we, or
the things of this world, though made for each
other, are so disagreeing in their nature-fo
whimsical in our connections, that we can live
pleasantly neither with them nor without them.
Thus, in fact, the fons of this world pursue their
own happiness, as a fool pursues his shadow :
he endeavours to catch it, but it is continually
advancing before him, never to be caught. They
who have led a life of ambition, gain, or plea-
sure, can tell us if they pleased, that the upshot
of all is satiety and mortification.

But

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

VOL. IV.

But if we possessed the highest degree of worldly enjoyment, still we must want one degree of happiness more-the security of what we enjoy. But the happiness of heaven is like the great Creator himself, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. And though this is but a circumstance, and does not make the happiness of heaven in itself either more or lefs; yet it is such a circumstance, that no degree of happiness could be perfect without it. Let the world make us the largest promises that wealth, power, and pleasure united could bestow, what avail its gifts, if they cannot one moment be secured to us ? But the happiness of heaven, we know, as it is an exceeding, so it is an eternal weight of glory.

Thus, then, in obtaining ideas of the happiness of heaven, we have recourse to the analogy of this world. “ Heaven is my throne,” says God, “ and earth is my footstool.” The latter leads to the former. Whatever is beautiful, grand, or productive of happiness in this world, will be infinitely improved'in beauty, grandeur, and happiness in the next; while, on the other hand, whatever is deformed, miserable, and wretched, in this world, will be removed in the next.

This

« AnteriorContinuar »