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an image as we can now employ, let the image be taken from the most glorious representative of the Supreme Being, with which we are acquainted in this world, the Sun in the heavens. As that resplendent luminary cheers and revives the universe, when, after the darkness of the tempestuous night, it comes forth in the morning with its brightest lustre, and inspires every heart with gladness; as ascending gradually through the heavens, it converts that whole vast extent, over which its beams are diffused, into a region of light; and thus changes entirely the state of objects by arraying all nature in beauty, and transforming it into the image of its own brightness! --- Some such change as this, though in a degree infinitely superiour, we may conceive the revelation of the Divine Presence to produce upon the human soul. I will behold thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness. - But, without endeavouring further to unfold mysteries which we cannot explore, there are two sublime and expressive views of the Divine Essence given us in Scripture, on which it may be edifying that our thoughts should rest for a little, in order to aid our conceptions of the blessedness of good men hereafter, in the presence of God. It is said, God is * light; God is love. † Let us consider what fulness of joy must arise from such manifestations of the Divine Essence to the blessed.

God is Light. The revelation of his presence infers, of course, a complete diffusion of light and know. ledge among all who partake of that presence. This

* 1 John, i. 5,

+ 1 John, iv. 8.

unquestionably forms a primary ingredient of happiness. Ignorance, or the want of light, is the source of all our present misconduct, and all our misfortunes. The heart of man is dark; and in the darkness of his heart is the seat of his corruption. He is unable to discern what is truly good. Perpetually employed in search of happiness, he is perpetually misled by false appearances of it. The errours of his understanding impose upon his passions ; and, in consequence of the wrong directions which his passions take, he is betrayed into a thousand disorders. Hence sensuality, covetousness, and all the violent contests with others about trifles, which occasion so much misery, and so many crimes in the world. He feedeth on ashes, a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand ? * -Once open to him the perfect sources of knowledge and truth ; suppose him placed in the presence of that God who is Light; suppose him illuminated by light derived immediately from the Supreme Being ; presently all his former errours would fly away, as mists are dispelled by the rising sun. His whole nature would be changed and reformed. The prejudices which obscured his understanding would be removed. The seductions of his passions would disappear. Rectitude and virtue having nothing now to obstruct their entrance, would take entire possession of his heart. Angels are happier than men, because they enjoy more enlarged knowledge and views; because they labour under none of our unhappy deceptions, but see the truth as it is in itself; see it, as it is in God. Sharing the same

* Isaialı, xliv. 20.


light which illuminates them, good men in a future state will share in their felicity.

Moreover, the light that flows from the presence of Him who is the original source of light, not only banishes miseries which were the effects of former darkness, but also confers the most exquisite enjoyment. The knowledge afforded us at present serves to supply our most pressing wants; but it does no

It is always imperfect and unsatisfactory; nay, much painful anxiety it often leaves. Narrow is the sphere within which the mind can see at all ; and even there it can see only darkly as through a glass. But when it shall be enlarged beyond this dusky territory, let loose from this earthly prison, and in God's light permitted to see light, the most magnificent and glorious spectacle must open to the view of the purified spirit. What must it be to behold the whole stupendous scene of nature unveiled, and its hidden mysteries disclosed! To trace the wise and just government of the Almighty, through all those intricacies which had so long perplexed us ! To behold his hand conducting ten thousand worlds, which are now unknown to us; and throughout all the regions of boundless space, to view wisdom and goodness perpetually acting, and diversifying its operations in forms of endless variety! Well may such discoveries inspire that song of the blessed, which the apostle John heard as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia! for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty! just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints ! * As God is Light, so also it is said in Scripture,

* Rev, xix. 6.; -

xv. 3.

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God is Love. His presence must of course diffuse love

among all who are permitted to dwell in it. He that loveth not, knoweth not God. - He that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him. *

Were man a single, solitary being, the full enjoyment of light might suffice for his happiness; as the perfection of knowledge would rectify and improve to the highest all his faculties. But both here and hereafter, he is connected with other beings. Heaven implies a society; and the felicity of that society is constituted by the perfection of love and goodness, flowing from the presence of the God of love.

Hence follows the entire purification of human nature from all those malevolent passions, which have so long rendered our abode on earth the abode of misery. We greatly deceive ourselves, when we charge our chief distresses merely to the account of our external condition in the world. From the disadvantages attending it, I admit, that we may often have been exposed to suffer. We have met with disappointments in our pursuits. By the arrows of misfortune, we may have been wounded. Under infirmities of body, we may have languished. But on this we may depend, that the worst evils of our present condition arise from the want of goodness and love; from the disorders of selfish passions; from the irritation which these occasion when working within ourselves, and the distress which they produce when breaking out upon us from others ; in a word, from that corrupted state of temper, and that reciprocation of jealousies, suspicions, and injuries, which is ever taking place among the societies of men. Could you banish distrust, craft, and uncharitable. ness, from the earth, and form all mankind into an assembly of the just and the benevolent; could you inspire every heart with kind affections, and render every one friendly and generous to his neighbour ; you would banish at once the most afflictive tribe of human evils. Seldom would the voice of complaint be heard. All nature would assume a different aspect. Cheerfulness would be seen in every countenance. Paradise would return. The wilderness would smile; the desert rejoice and blossom as the rose. - Now such are the effects which the presence of the God of love must produce on the inhabitants above; beholding his glory, they are changed into the same image. In that temple of eternal love, which his presence has hallowed and consecrated, no sound but the voice of harmony is ever heard ; no appearances ever present themselves but those of peace and joy.

* 1 John, iv. 8. 16.

Thus, considering God under these two illustrious characters which are given of him in Scripture, ás Light, and as Love, it follows that in his presence there must be fulness of joy. But I am far from saying that the few imperfect hints I have now given exhaust, or even approach to the sum of those pleasures for evermore which are at God's right hand. Ten thousand pleasures are there, which now we have neither faculties to comprehend, nor powers to enjoy. Behind that mysterious cloud, which covers the habitation of eternity, the view of mortals cannot penetrate. Content with our humble and distant situation, we must as yet remain. Faith can only look to those glories from afar, In patient silence, it must wait, trust, and adore.

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