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MUCH of the happiness which is here permitted to man arises from the exercise of kindly feelings. When benevolence leads us to seek the welfare of others, and our hearts are enlarged in good will and charity, our condition of mind is unquestionably one of pleasure to ourselves. Again, when the objects of

our purest and warmest affections are granted to us-when we enjoy their company and conversation, and when our kindness towards them is met by an equal return-this is a source of unrivalled temporal joy. Nor can it be denied, that the purity and height of this joy are just in proportion to the moral excellence of the objects of our love.

These remarks may, perhaps, afford us some faint glimpse of the happiness of those purified spirits, in


whom love is for ever ixed as a predominant principle. The Being to whom their affections are supremely directed is infinitely lovely, shewing forth the glorious perfection of every moral beauty; and he now rewards them with the fulness of his favour. While they are brought unspeakably near to him, and enjoy an unclouded view of his righteousness, they know that he is their eternal portion; they can say in truth, This God is our God for ever and


Well, therefore, might the sacred writers exclaim, "Eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that LOVE HIM.”1

Heaven is the abode of perfect purity and peace. Nothing is there left to separate the soul of man from God, the fountain of his happiness; the promise of pardon has already been realised by its inhabitants; their sins are abolished; Satan tempts and buffets them no longer; the pure affections of the regenerate mind are triumphant in the saints; and, under the unrestricted influences of the Holy Ghost, they are made partakers of the most exalted communion with the Father and with the Son.

If such are the nature of the joys of heaven, it plainly follows that the wicked are absolutely destitute of a capacity to receive them-the enemies of God

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cannot breathe that pure and delightful element! To suppose that a rebel spirit, impregnated with bitterness, and long accustomed to worship self, in preference to the Creator and Redeemer, should find its happiness in the full sunshine of the divine presence, is to suppose, not only the subversion of retributive justice, but a moral and even physical impossibility. Whatever may have been the intellectual creed or high profession of such a person, his false confidence must for ever fail him; under the influence of awful terror, he must descend into regions of darkness. In heaven, assuredly, he can have no life, much less enjoyment; for there all is light, and in that light, all is love. 2

"Heaven," said an eloquent and experienced preacher, "can be no place of happiness to the wicked. Do we not learn from Scripture, that the pleasures of the heavenly state consist in the immediate presence of a holy God and Saviour-in purity-in worship, and perpetual service-in an entire conformity of the will to that of the Deity—in union with him? But every one of these things is here a cross, yea, a cross unbearable, to the wicked, who flies

2 "My chief conception of heaven," said Robert Hall to Wilberforce, "is rest." "Mine," replied Wilberforce, "is love-love to God, and love to every bright and happy inhabitant of that glorious place." Hall was an almost constant sufferer from acute bodily pain; Wilberforce enjoyed life, and was all amiability and sunshine; so that it is easy to account for their respective conceptions on this subject. What a mercy that both these conceptions are true!

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4 Rev. xxii, 11.

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