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whose time of life is distinguished by feebleness in body and mind, by ignorance or very limited knowledge, by meaner exertions, pursuits and pleasures: so a saint in heaven differs from a saint in this world. Many things belonging to infancy are laid aside in riper years: and many things, the saint, who is admitted into heaven, lays down with his mortal state, that accord not with the perfection on which he enters. That which is essential to our usefulness, perfection and enjoyment in life is, or ought to be, principally attended to and preferred and acquired, in the beginning of our days; is, or ought to be, the object of parental study and early education: just so, in the present state, this infancy of being, Christians ought chiefly to regard, and to prepare for, the maturity of existence, in the regions of perfection and felicity: Christians ought chiefly to be reminded of the virtues and graces by which they are meet for the inheritance of the saints in light, and which they carry with them into heaven. Now, that which constitutes, at once, the perfection and the bliss of the heavenly state, is this charity which I am describing and recommending. I shew you, therefore, the better way, the way of higher excellence, the chief object of your desire and pursuit. Whatever other things are to be valued by you and desired and attained, follow after charity.
All this, I trust, you perceive, is suggested by the text, or contained in it; " When I w was a child I spake as a child, I understood "as a child, but when I became a man I put "away childish things."
By this contrasted view of the present and future state, we are led to much useful and comfortable reflection and meditation. According to the various characters of men, in xelation to the state of the blefied in heaven, instruction, expostulation, reproof, may be necessary; or direction, encouragement and consolation. It is indeed previously supposed that the faith of the apostle is also ours. It is to those who believe there is a tyate of perfection and felicity, we address ourselves. The apostle mentions it as an indisputed truth; a matter, in admitting which all whom he addressed agreed, without the least hesitation: and, assuredly, the moment we
are convinced of the truth of Christianity, we can entertain no doubt that there is a state of perfection and felicity, reserved for the saints, greatly superior to their highest attainments and happiness on earth.
Shall we therefore proceed to lay the foundation of the practical observations and reflections, I referred to, by shewing, in some instances, that the future state of the faints is superior to their highest acquirements and bliss on earth, as mature age is to childhood?
To those only who believe in this future glorious state, the subject is agreeable and useful: to those only who believe, Christ is precious: but, all men have not faith. We live, alas! in a very licentious period, in which more openly, and more generally too, I fear, than in those that are past, men have set their mouths against the heavens, and spoken and written against the blessed revelation with which we are favoured, and its most important truths. It is necessary, therefore, to confirm and establish those who profess the faith of the Gospel, in the belief of
doctrines, doctrines, tbe most generally received, and the most fully proved. I address those who profess this faith. It is not to infidels, for their conviction and conversion, but to Christians, for their establishment and comfort, that we propose some of the principal evidences that there is a state of maturity \n perfection and bliss, beyond the grave.
My friends, for confirming your faith and hope of future bliss, turn your attention inward: your minds are capable of much improvement: how superior is education to nature, your present to your former attainments! you perceive in yourselves, and in others, the unfolding powers, the progressive improvement, of the soul. The presumption is, all the powers of the mind shall be unfolded: all the capacities of improvement, of perfection and bliss, shall be filled. Shall not the faculties that are unfolded in a man of learning, in those who have been educated with much study, which are originally as vigorous in others, never appear at all? The high attainments and enjoyments of science, confined to few, shall they never be experienced by many, of equally vigorous minds and worthy
chacharacters,but who neverhave been lighted by the lamp of learning? Questions of this kind are proposed with more advantage when we raise our thoughts to God, when we attend to the condition of humanity. Our Maker forms us to the love of excellence: " the righ"teous Lord loveth righteousness." Yet the wicked are sometimes permitted to prosper, the worthy to be depressed and persecuted. Shall it always be thus? The belief of the perfections and government of God, is, in effect, the faith of a future slate.
In this faith we are confirmed, by our love of existence, our horror at dissolution; by our moral feelings, by the misgivings of heart in those who depart from truth, justice and humanity; by the serenity, self-satisfaction and confidence, of those who have done and suffered, generously and boldly, in the cause of truth, justice and humanity. Are not these the testimonies of nature, or of the God of our nature, the Governor of the world, that there is a future state? that a state of higher perfection and happiness is naturally expected?