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concatenation of dependencies, all growing out of each other, and all strongly cemented together, like the links of a well-compacted chain. Father, mother, husband, wife, brother, sister, children, friends—all these dear and interesting appellations are named from the eternal Father, who is the supreme Unity, the great origin and fountain of all the paternities and unions, all the kindreds and alliances, in earth or in heaven. In Him these different relations all centre, and from Him they all proceed; sweetly shadowing out, what He is in himself, and what is the nature of his communications to the intelligent part of his creatures, in proportion to their different capacities.
Among all these appellations, that of child is, perhaps, the most delightful and endearing. And under this attractive name, the poor in spirit are especially recognized in the household of faith ; where they inherit the peculiar portion of children, in that large allowance, that tender regard, and those affectionate attentions, which they meet with on every side. Out of such circumstances as these, there must unavoidably be produced an extraordinary degree of felicity: and in such circumstances the poor in spirit pass their happy days. But I go on to observe
Thirdly—That the full and final blessedness of this unassuming company, will consist in their possessing the kingdom of heaven. All the privileges which have been enumerated under the preceding divisions, as appertaining to this favoured class of men, are to be considered merely as foretastes and anticipations of that which awaits them in the upper world. Theirs, saith our gracious Lord, is the kingdom of heaven.
Some of the greatest things in human estimation, are hereditary possessions, high offices, and dignified titles : but a kingdom is the very summit and crown of all sublunary grandeur. Hence this term is employed, by the sacred writers, to shadow forth the future reward of the saints ; since nothing less than thrones and crowns are sufficient to represent that exalted state, and those immortal honours, which God hath laid up for them that love him. But who shall attempt to describe the kingdom of heaven? or who can form any adequate
conception of that high and holy state, in which the Christian's prospects do universally terminate? There all the promises of God shall receive their ultimate accomplishment; there all the mysteries of redemption shall be fully disclosed; and there the degenerate nature of man shall be carried up to its highest possible degree of perfection.
It can hardly be doubted, that a considerable portion of the felicity of heaven will consist, partly in the exquisite beauty and order of the place itself, and partly in the sacred society afforded by it. Even upon earth, costly palaces, and scenery of a highly decorated description, are accustomed to produce astonishment and pleasure in every beholder—and yet, how poor a representation can all the splendours of this world exhibit, of the variety, the harmony, and the magnificence that shall delight our eyes and transport our souls, when we reach the place of our high destination! St. John, in one of his mysterious visions, gives us a short description of certain appearances which he was permitted to behold, in which the following passage occurs—And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high
mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as chrystal. And the wall of it was of jasper ; and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. In this sacred place a sacred society will be collected, consisting of an innumerable company of angels, together with the spirits of just men made perfect: a society holy and harmless, replete with wisdom and goodness, without spot or blemish, and every one glowing with benignity and love. With this glorified assembly the poor in spirit shall take up their abode, as parts of the same family, breathing the same spirit, manifesting the same perfections, and living with them in an everlasting interchange of affectionate sentiments and gracious offices. In such a place, and associated with such a company, how inconceivable a degree of happiness must needs be enjoyed !
But, beyond all this, the highest blessed
ness of heaven will consist in the view and contemplation of God himself. The redeemed shall see the King in his beauty, seated upon the throne of eternity, surrounded with power and great glory. In our Lord's parting prayer for his disciples, we find this remarkable petition-Father, I will that they whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory. He could ask nothing more desirable, nothing more ravishing, for his devoted followers than an admittance to the beatific vision. And to this request the beloved disciple seems to allude in his first epistle; Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be : but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. Beyond this, nothing can be wished or imagined--to behold the infinite and unsearchable Creator of all worlds, clothed in all his majesty, and encircled with an endless train of perfections and glories! Yet all this, in the completest manner, shall be permitted to the saints. Their views of the great God shall not be distant and obscure, as they necessarily were in the present