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There is the still greater light of Revelation; the light of grace, which tells us much of God, that we could never discern in the book of creation.
But the light of glory transcends all these. Let us consider then, Wut THEY POSSESS.
“ The Lord God giveth them light." He enlightens them directly from himself: no borrowed light from his works, no teaching of the creature, but direct and immediate from the Creator himself—in thy light shall we see light.
Many and inestimable are the blessings which are comprehended in this gift. It seems more especially to denote knowledge, holiness, and happiness.
There will be PERFECT KNOWLEDGE there. This is according to that statement, “ Now I know in part, but then shall I know even as I am known.” Now our greatest blessings are apprehended only by faith, but then they will be ours by sight and enjoyment. Now, what time it takes to learn to read! what patience and application to acquire knowledge! what loss of health to become extensively learned! But there at a glance we shall take in more knowledge than years of study and experience can give the most laborious student here. We shall see them intuitively and at
All that which is dark and obscure as the thick night, will have the broad light of day shed over it. We shall see the beauty of God's ways, the infinite wisdom, and the boundless love displayed in our heaviest sorrows and severest trials. 66 What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter." O, the glories of that history of histories, the developing and unfolding of the providential dispensations of God towards his people! We shall hold personal converse with the glorified objects of themwith Enoch, and Noah, and Moses, and all the saints of God; and what a knowledge will this give, of the wonders of Divine wisdom, truth, grace, and love. And each saint in glory will be as a mirror reflecting another and another view of the graces, beauties, and glories of Immanucl.
PERFECT HOLINESS is another part of the light there fully given. “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all," and in thosc happy regions it is in the highest sense true, “we walk in the light as he is in the light.” There will not be one sin left to defile us. 0, the blessedness of entire freedom from every sin! When that galling yoke of bondage is not only eased, but withdrawn, and the last Egyptian, as it were, is seen dead on the sea shore, with
what exultation shall we sing, “ The Lord is my strength and song; he is become
salvation." Never can the Christian have fullness of joy while one sin remains; but when Christ shall appear,” and “we shall be like him," and when that perfect 66 holiness” which 6 becomes” God's “ house for ever," is ours, then shall the enlarged mind of the believer be completely filled, “ Then shall I be satisfied when I awake up in thy likeness.”
PERFECT HAPPINESS is also included in this expression, “ Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.” Here, even in the very seed time, there is a present reward, “ in keeping God's commandments," but when we come to reap the harvest of joy, O what joy must that be which is called by God himself “ fullness of joy." Our best joys here are transitory and limited; but there will be unlimited, boundless, and eternal joy. See the glorious throng-observe the palms in their hands, and the crowns on their heads, behold them arrayed in the white garments before the throne. Who are these? They are the redeemed of the Lord—“ they come with singing to Zion, and everlasting joy shall be on their heads; they shall obtain,” they shall for ever possess, “ gladness and joy—and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.”
But they take up their golden harps, they begin one of the heavenly songs, the number of those who join, is “ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands," and the grand united chorus of all is “Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever."
And as all their happiness flows directly from God, so it is unceasing and secure. “ The Lord giveth;" there is an incessant flow of knowledge, and holiness, and happiness.
O how triumphant and enrapturing, the song of praise raised by the heavenly host in the full enjoyment of all this blessedness! With what life and alacrity will the saints in their blessed communion exalt the object of their love and praise! The seraphim about the throne cry out to one another, to express their zeal and joy in celebrating his eternal purity and power, and the glory of his goodness. O the unspeakable pleasure of this concert, where every soul is harmonious, and contributes his full part of the music of heaven! Could we hear but some echo of those songs, wherewith the heaven of heavens resounds, some remains of those
voices wherewith the saints above triumph in the praises and in the solemn adoration of the King of Spirits, how would it inflame our desires to be joined with them! “Blessed are those that are in thy house, they always praise thee.”
O that I could in any way stir up all earnestly and zealously to seek heaven. Honestly and heartily turn your back on this world and all its sins, and set your faces to Zion, and you shall reach those heavenly heights, and arrive at that blessed City, whose " walls are salvation, and all her gates praise.” Count all but loss for this, and stretch every nerve, if by any means you may be counted worthy to attain this glory.
By the Rev. EDWARD BICKERSTETI,
Rector of Watton.
REVELATION xxii. 3-5.
And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall
be in it; and his servants shall serve him: and they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light; and they shall reign for ever and ever.
Could heavenly happiness be seen in all its blessedness, there would be no room for the full exercises of faith, and comparatively little display of the excellence of Divine grace in the hope, and patience, and holiness of God's people. To exercise faith, it is only revealed in prospect; to excite hope, it is but partially developed, and it “ doth not yet appear what we shall be.”
We proposed to consider,
1. The entire removal of evil—2. The full possession of good—3. The delightful occupation—4. The beatific vision--5. The perpetual glory enjoyed.
The two former of these we have already explained. We proceed to consider,
III. THE DELIGHTFUL OCCUPATION.
6 His sertants shall serve him." Notice THE GLORIOUS BEING WHO IS SERVED. The King of Kings: the ever-living God. It is not clear whether the sacred writer designed to refer to the Father or the Son; nor is it at all material. There is a perfect unity. “lle that honoreth the Son, honoreth the Father also.” The Being served is he to whom all service alone is due. Created by his power, redeemed by his blood, sanctified by his Spirit, shall they not for ever consecrate every power to him whose they are, and to whom all they can render is infinitely due! According to the rank of the master, is the elevation of the servant; to be in the immediate service of the King, is thought a high office; what is it immediately to serve the Lord God Omnipotent!
Notice next ms SERVANTS. What were they! once vile miserable sinners, alienated from God, and his encmies by wicked works; but they heard of “the fountain opened for sin and uncleanness," and they “washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” They thus, quickened by his Spirit, served him in faith, hope, and love, and learned on earth the employment of heaven, to do the will of God. These servants are redeemed sinners and glorified saints. While servants, they are children also; they dwell with their master as children with a parent, and they ever behold his face beaming with love and joy unspeakable. Once they aimed to serve him, but it was more aim than attainment. Once they prayed, “ Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” and now that prayer is fully accomplished, and they themselves enjoy the very measures of their desires, and in heaven itself “ delight to do the will of God." Observe further THE NATURE OF THEIR SERVICE.
But what mind can conceive the holy admiration with which they behold the glories of God, the joyful gratitude with which they celebrate bis praises; the delightful exertions with which they fly to do his will?
But did they not serve God below? What is the difference
between their serving him here, and their serving him there? As to our service here, we are soco weary in it. Our spirits flag, we require rest: but there the mind is ever lively and awake, the body is ever active and alive, the service is unwearied. As to our service here, it is full of imperfection, our faith is weak, our hope is dull, our love is cold, our praises are feeble, all is disproportioned and imperfect; but in that blessed world, faith becomes sighthope is there enjoyment, love burns with intense ardor, and praises from the heart ever ascend; all is proportioned and perfect. In this world our service soon ceases; nearly one third of our time is lost in sleep, and of how much of the rest do worldliness and sin continually rob God! If we enjoy communion with him in prayer or praise, the service is soon past and gone; but there, our service is perpetual, and the happy employment of doing God's will shall occupy us for ever. Once more observe THE COMMUNION there enjoyed with OUR
The glorified saints rejoice in each others' holiness and happiness, and thus the general happiness of the whole is infinitely extended and enlarged. There are many hindrances to full communion here. Real Christians know but few real Christians; and through the many interruptions of this world, they have seldom much opportunity of fully knowing each other. Our own corruptions, and the infirmities of all God's servants here, hinder full and entire union of heart; but there will be no alloys of this kind there. No envy or jealousy at each others gifts and graces, happiness and glory. Just as the eye envies not the ear, and the hand envies not the foot; but all the members of the body are cxalted in the happiness of cach, so will it be there. The happiness of another will be mine in his possessing it; as the wife is exalted in the husband, and the child in the parent, so shall there be joy in the presence of the glorificd servants of God, in every joy that every servant possesses. You shall be in that glorious company, where there is the full conviction that you love every individual there, and every individual loves you, and this purely, fervently, perfectly, and for ever. But let us go farther, and contemplate,
IV. THE BLESSED SIGHT of God, Or, as it is called, The beatific vision. “ They shall see his face, and his name shall be in their foreheads."