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THE wicked are difmayed when they look for ward and confider their end, or the time of their departure. To the good man it is defirable-" He then refts from his labors, and his works follow him." St. Paul, “ had a desire to depart, and be with Chrift." He knew that "a crown of right. eousness was laid up for him, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, would give him at that day." This was not peculiar to him; it is common to all thofe " who love Chrift's appearing." Those now in glory were lately fufferers here: But their fufferings are ended-" They have entered into peace: They reft in their beds, walking in their uprightness."
II. OUR fubject teacheth the conditions on which only we can hope for peace in death, and happinefs after death. These depend of, the ufe which we make of life-on the manner in which we are affected by the overtures made us in the gospel; they are the fruit of receiving Chrift and obeying the gospel; for it brings falvation only to those who obey it.
WOULD we" die the death of the righteous, and have our last end like his," our lives must be preparatory--we must "mind the things which belong to our peace-live in all good confcience before God, and not fuffer ourfelves to be moved away from the hope of the gofpel."
III. THOUGH When "the mystery of God shall be finished, his judgments will be made manifest ;” hitherto, "his way is in the fea, and his judgments are a great deep." We know that his way
is perfect; but witness many things in the divine adminiftration, which we do not understand. We have no line to fathom the depths of providence.
OFTEN the perfect and the upright are early removed out of life-those who are friends of religion, and fupporters of order and justice; whose hearts are filled with benevolence-who are the excellent of the earth! While thofe of different characters, who we should suppose might well be spared, yea, whofe removal, we fhould judge a mercy to the world, are left to prolong their days! Some who are early vicious, and daily grow worse, are never. theless continued, and permitted to dishonor God, and spread error and mischief among mankind, till at “an hundred years old they die accursed!”
SUCH events often occur, and under the divine administration! They are permitted of him who cannot mistake! In a fense, they are the Lord's doings, and marvellous in our eyes!"
"THE Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoiceClouds and darkness are round about him: Righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne. Wait on the Lord: Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart; wait, I fay, on the Lord."
REVELATION xxii. 9.
I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets. THE revelation made to St. John in the isle of Patmos, was a comfort to the fuffering apoftle, and a bleffing to the church. "Bleffed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophe cy." The beginning indeed was dark; the prophetic sketch, was for fometime, gloomy: It unfolded a ftrange fcene of declenfions and abominations, which were to difgrace the church of Christ and mar its beauty; and a dismal series of woes on woes, for many ages. The church, then fo pure, was to be corrupted, to become "the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth, and to make herfelf drunk with the blood of the faints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jefus !" When the apostle "faw, he wondered with great
admiration." Had the vifion clofed with fimilar difcoveries, no joy would have been occafioned by them; but grief ineffable. The apoftle might have funk under them. But they finally appeared diverse, and adapted to comfort him, and fill his heart with joy. He faw the cause of Chrift triumphant-true religion to have become univerfal, and heavenly glory the reward of the faithful!
WHEN the veil which had been spread over these things was drawn afide, and they broke out to the view of this man of God, he seems to have been enraptured and loft in ecftacy. He proftrated himself in adoration of the celeftial mef fenger: But was forbidden by the angel-" See thou do it not; I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the teftimony of Jefus.Worship God." This happened at the beginning of the joyful part of the vifion, when the triumphs of Chriftianity were first disclosed.*
We are under no temptation to give undue honors to bearers of evil tidings: But even "the feet of those who bring good tidings are beautiful.”
THE angel having thus reftrained the apostle from paying him divine homage, proceeded to finifh the sketch which he had begun of the glory which remains for the people of God. When it was nearly completed, the ftill imbodied faint, again forgot himself, and overcome by a fight too ftrong and glorious for frail humanity, fell down in humble adoration of the heavenly minifter!
*Revelation xix. 10.
Mad with joy he appears to have been bewildered, and in a momentary delirium; but was again prevented by the angel; and the fame reafon affigned as before-I am thy fellowfervant, and of thy brethren the prophets.
THIS declaration is remarkable. How are we to understand it?
Ir fhould feem that this meffenger from above was originally one of our race. I am thy fellowfervant.
WE are inclined to believe that he had once inhabited a human body, and had his refidence on earth-that this was one of the old prophets, who having been releafed from the work to which he had been first called, was now ferving God under another form, in a more dignified ftation and with greater powers than he had poffeffed while yet on probation.
We may mistake the Scriptures; but have been WE induced to believe that when the faints drop these bodies, and are joined "to the fpirits of the juft made perfect," they become angels, and are afterwards employed in the fervice of God, as his meffengers and agents, whom he "fends forth to minifter to the heirs of falvation," and to transa& bufnefs for which he hath fitted them, and in which he is pleased to employ them.
SOME reasons of this belief are adduced in the following difcourfe.
WHEN a child of God is released from the body, he is freed from the remains of depravity, and from his native bias to evil, and according to his nature,