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this confidence, therefore, he remaineth firm, and abideth.
And if we carry our view beyond the grave, we may certainly say, that "he that doeth the "will of God, abideth for ever." His body, indeed, will return to that dust from whence it was taken: but that is but his earthly house, and his clothing: but his immortal soul, emancipated from the vassalage of corruption, and freed from the fetters of its corporeal prison, will return to God, who gave it; and, whilst the soul of the wicked is doomed to everlasting destruction, will rise to the regions of immortality, and there rejoice, amidst unfading pleasures, at God's right hand, for evermore.
If, then, any one shall ask, How he that doeth the will of God, abideth for ever; here is the short and certain answer.
After he has done the will of God on earth, he will be translated to enjoy immortal, incorruptible, immutable, perfect, and eternal happiness in heaven. This is the great promise of the Gospel, which has brought life and immortality to light. This is the glorious reward, which the great Author of the Gospel promises to those that believe in him :-" He that believeth in me
"shall never die." This is the animating hope, for which every true Christian is contented to strive and suffer; knowing in whom he has be lieved, and being persuaded, that he is able to keep that which is committed to him. And, in fact, without this hope, what would be able to sustain the infirmity of a man? for surely, if in this life only we have hope, we are of all creatures the most miserable: equally subject, as we are, to vanity, decay, and corruption, with the rest of the animal.world; corroded with a thousand melancholy cares, which they never either anticipate or feel; it would be too heavy a load, after all our sufferings for virtue, to find our expectations deceived, and that we had strove, fought, struggled, and run in vain. The man therefore, who endeavours to shake the founda tions of Christianity, and thereby to rob the Christian of this hope, is the greatest of all enemies to human happiness. He takes away the pillow, on which every species of misery has long been accustomed to repose, and substitutes in its place nothing but the horrors of looking forward to utter extinction and annihilation of being. In the beautiful language of the poet, The
soul, secure in its existence, laughs at the "drawn dagger, and defies its point;" but, take away this security; tell us, that, after a short and painful life, we shall lie down with the beasts
that perish, and mingle with the clods of the valley, and what shall support us under the pres sure of misfortune, the pangs of disease, the loss of our friends, and every other misery incident to human life?
But, blessed be God, if there be any certainty in argument, if there be any reason in man, if there be any truth in the Gospel, this will never be the case. For, "godliness has the assured "promise, not only of the life that now is, but " also of that which is to come.' In the house of our heavenly Father there are many mansions prepared for the righteous: this he himself has told us, who came down from heaven, and was the maker and builder of it: this he himself told us, who is gone up into heaven, as our fore runner, to prepare a place for us, that where he is, there we may be also: since, therefore, he lives, we shall live also, and abide with him for ever.
The word "abide," methinks, carries with it. a most welcome sound to us poor pilgrims, who wander about in this vale of tears: for it implies a fixed and settled habitation, a constant and permanent state of rest. We have here no continuing city: we have nothing but what either soon forsakes us, or what we must soon forsake:
we are in the state of travellers, who are strangers in the land, and wish only to reach their destined home. Our ideas are clogged and imprisoned: they want to expand themselves in a purer region, to throw off the shackles of darkness and ignorance and our bodies, ever fluctuating and decaying, wait only for that irreversible decree of the Almighty, by which it is appointed unto all men once to die. But the righteous have a city above, which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God; a kingdom which cannot be shaken. They look forward to that harbour of immortality, where no storms of affliction can reach them where the waves of ungodliness cannot make them afraid; where this poor shattered vessel of mortality, long buffetted with the storms and tempests of life, shall anchor in safety, and enjoy an eternal and unchangeable repose.
Let then this inconstant and perishable world pass away, with all its toys and vanities: it is not the object of the Christian's wish or concern: we look for new heavens, and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness; which will never change, and where we shall abide for ever.
Thus, then, there remains a rest for the people of God, for those that do his will: a rest from
all the pains and calamities of life; a rest from all the temptations of the world, the ensnaring solicitations of the flesh, and the delusions of the devil; a rest from all our own evil thoughts and conscious guilt, which here disturb and harrow our souls. What, then, can shake our hopes, or disturb our quiet? Our passions will all move at the command of reason: there will be no terrifying remembrance of past sins to wound us, no remorse of conscience to startle us in the silent hour of midnight, no gnawing worm to prey upon the fading cheek of distracted guilt. And as the horrors of past transgressions will not fill us with amazement, so neither will the fears of future misery torment us. It is the happiness of eternity we are to enjoy. God, who is greater than all, has promised to give it us for ever; and who, then, can pluck us out of his hand? Change and chance belong only to this mortal life: all there is immortal and immutable. There dwells
the great Jehovah, that eternal God, who hath neither beginning nor end of days. There reigns the Saviour of the world, who hath the keys of death and hell, over whom the grave has no dominion. There are those immortal spirits, the glorious orders of Cherubim and Seraphim, that surround the throne of God day and night. There is a sun that never sets; riches which moths do not corrupt, nor thieves break through