Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

these high and sacred stations. But though our intercourse with cherubims of glory, as has been already proved,* will only be occasional, yet the kind Depictor of our promised joys clearly evinces, that in our separate state we shall be united to a glorious and illustrious society of holy cherubims and beatified spirits; and in paradisaic realms abide in safety and in peace, encompassed by the blessed angels stationed around the vast frontiers of the celestial paradise. These all have traded well, and from one talent have obtained ten; these, by their appellation, proclaim their destination; these, therefore, are the messengers of their benignant Lord ;t these, in ten cities in ten worlds of this our lower district, may arbitrate his

grace; with these winged cherubs the spirits of the just may often travel to their native clime, and with anxious fondness hover over the friends they left behind. “ Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth

Unseen, both when we wake and when we sleep:
All these with ceaseless praise his works behold,
Both day and night: how often from the steep
Of echoing hill or thicket have we heard
Celestial voices to the midnight air,
Sole, or responsive each to others note,
Singing their great Creator? Oft in bands,
While they keep watch, or nightly rounding walk,
With heav'nly touch of instrumental sounds
In full harmonic number join’d their songs,
Divide the night, and lift our thoughts to heaven.”

Paradise Lost. * See this fully proved from Scripture, pp. 256.

+ Our readers will remember that the word angel in the Hebrew tongue signifieth messenger.

It having been just supposed that the cherubic beings encamped in paradise, who having passed their probationary states in these our lower heavens with safety and with honour, are become dignified by the investiture of participation of cherubic or angelic nature, have been also invested with the high appointments assigned to that elevated nature; and have been ordained rulers over ten cities ;-we shall very briefly state the considerations which suggested that supposition. For did not Deity annex to that exalted nature, prerogatives, privileges, and power of serving Him in a far more extended sphere than separated spirits-did He not endue it with perceptions of felicity far surpassing those of which the spirits of the just are capable of, and allow it the exercise of the privileges just stated, (it may be in ten cities of our nether heavens whereunto the paradisaic cherubs may be the destined messengers of their benignant Lord,)—the advancement to that nature would not produce any very high augmentation of dignity, power of usefulness, or participation of bliss; and the very special directions with which God was pleased to ordain the emblematic delineation of the paradisaic cherubs (which delineation was doubtless designed to pre-show the exalted rank, superior goodness, high endowments, and benign employments of the illustrious beings destined for our future associates) would have been a very useless communication. We should likewise remember, that celestial joy is the same joy as joys our blessed Lord; that celestial joy solely consisteth

in diffusing joy, and in imparting good; and proportionate to the elevation of intelligents in the scale of moral excellence (we may feel assured) is their expansion of faculties—their sphere of services, with its attendant bliss : and proportionate to the benignancy of the nature with which we shall associate will be the enhancement of happiness.

Should this research have satisfactorily demonstrated, that in our separate state we shall company with angels, it has, we trust, fulfilled the promise, by which it was premised, namely, that it would prove a source of most complacent satisfaction. It is, however, very far from our intention to infer, because we shall not be capacitated in our separate state for the extensive services of angels, that during our residence in paradise we shall be useless and inactive beings, deprived of the godlike joy of disseminating good. No; paradise is not a place repressive to benevolence; paradise is that felicitous retreat wherein it will ever expand and grow. Those wise and faithful servants whom their blessed Lord shall find, when summoned by death, distributing unto his household here their portions in due season, will doubtless continue to be so employed in his purer realms above. There, it is true, are no corporeal wants, but the blessed Bishop of immortal souls oft opes its hallowed gate to those who are greatly deficient in spiritual ones. He unto whom the consolatory promise was pronounced, “This day shalt thou be with me in paradise,” was by his own confession at that very juncture receiving the just reward of his unrighteous deeds.

VOL. I.

Y

Looking unto the cross whereon the Saviour hung when He pronounced this promise, we view an asylum opened to repentant, though contaminated spirits, just escaped from sin and death ; who, through the Atoner's merits, here daily gain admission, and hourly need nutrition. On these imperfect spirits, the spirits of the just have ample scope to exercise benevolence.

“ In paradise,
Charity never fails: fails not in those who preach,
Fails not on those they teach; those who preach,
And those they teach, are better'd still,
And better'd in infinite progression."*

THOMSON.

It might be deemed an hardship that the circumstances under which we enter our primeval state precludes the chance of our advancement to angelic nature in our secondary one, our lot being to change, not keep, our first estate ; though the case of Enoch and Elijah prove that entailed corruption did not render this exaltation impossible, for with God all things are possible. The evi

* We did, in page 285 of this volume, observe, that preaching consisted of exhortation, instruction, and the holding out both warning and hope, which could be of no importance unto spirits once safely stranded in the blessed port of security and peace. But a distinction must exist between contaminated spirits just escaped from sin and death, and the spirits of the just, who have been cleansed and perfected in this purifying sanctuary. And it is probably a part of the delightful employment assigned to these last, to infuse into the first such principles of holiness and love to God as will fit them for his ultimate acceptance in the holiest of holies

dence of fulfilled prophecies having now, however, entirely superseded the necessity of supernatural interference, our lot unquestionably is to wait, in our spiritual nature, in the celestial sanctuary, till our blessed Lord cometh, and reckoneth with us at the last final day. But let us not lament, for blessed are those that wait; (Dan. xii. 12;) blessed are those holy realms wherein we are to wait a very little season ; for, behold, He cometh quickly, and his reward is with him, to give to every man according as his work shall be. (Rev. vi. 10.) The perfect equity which settles these accounts will probably exalt the Christian martyrs over Enoch and Elijah; they, we are told, are to sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. They are described, in some degree, as in a restless state; they cry with a loud voice, saying, “ How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood ?" (Rev. vi. 10.) They cry not thus from discontent, that is a feeling ever banished from paradisaic regions; they cry from strong desire for power to serve their Lord in the expanded sphere of angels. Their pious appeal ascended up to God, and white robes were given unto every one of them; it may be, some appendant medium augmentative of usefulness and bliss : get the irrevocable decision of unerring wisdom ordained them still to wait. It was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season,-until the Almighty Saviour comes to judge the world in righteousness,-until that final restitution, when the first will be last and the last first. This exercise of patience will here give no

« AnteriorContinuar »