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372 HEAVENLY REWARD OF CHRISTIAN LABOURS. grace, yet the Saviour does teach us, that he will make that reward proportionable to the diligence of his servants. In the parable of the ten pounds a delivered to ten servants, the Lord said, to him who had made the one pound ten, Have thou authority over ten cities; and to him who had made the one pound but five, he only said, Have thou authority over five cities. In the great reckoning day, and the eternal state, events the most unexpected will take place. Even of those admitted to heaven, many of the first may be last, and the last first. Many wealthy Christians, who were applauded, and eminent in their day, may sink far below the poor believer, who toiled through life in obscurity and want, but whose piety was more fervent, whose heart more liberal, than were those of his weal. thier brother. The unfamed tenant of the cottage will often rise higher in glory than the possessors of stately mansions and extensive fame. For in many instances his single talent will be found to have been better improved, than their five, or ten, or twenty.
The pious female, only known in the narrow circle of domestic life; the laborious sabbath-school teacher, all whose energies were employed in training the young for heaven, may, in numberless cases, rise far above ministers of the gospel, popular and admired in their day, but whose activity in doing good was not proportioned to their opportunities; whose more splendid talents were not improved so well as the humbler ones of their more pious friends.
Whatever be your situation, let considerations of this kind thus animate you to press forward to eminent piety. The Lord will approve of your feeble attempts to honour him. If all you can do is little, yet do that little, and he will esteem it much. Where nothing more can be imparted, “ a cup of cold water only,” given to a disciple, “ in the name of a disciple, shall in no wise lose its reward."e You cannot exert a humble endeavour for the Saviour's glory, however unsuccessful, that will not meet his approbation. With what delight may the Christian exclaim, Compassionate Saviour! wilt thou, when seated on thy glorious throne, own my humble attempts to please thee? Shall I share in the honours of thy kingdom? and then be welcomed with thy approbation? Condescend(d) Luke xix.
(e) Matt. x. 42
HEAVEN THE DWELLING OF SAINTS. 373 ing Redeemer ! I know I may, and O let this condescending love of thine, constrain me to lay at thy feet whatever I possess.
$ 25. Are these your hopes ? O soul-reviving hopes ! Such blessings might seem all we want, yet more will the Saviour's bounty give. To enjoy his presence, to be for ever with the Lord, is the height of heavenly happiness. But another source of joy, shall be the company of all the spirits of the just. The heavenly home is described as their abode. In sweet eternal union there are joined all the angels of light, and all the ransomed heirs of glory.
“ The holy host of saints, that once have known
“ Each dreary path in life's perplexing maze, “There ever circle yon eternal throne
“ With harpings high of inexpressive praise."
Of them the word of truth declares, They which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world--are equal unto the angels, and are the children of God.' “ Ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, and to the spirits of just men made perfect." - Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation."h
What glorious joy will union to this blessed family impart! There dwell the great benefactors of mankind, apostles and evangelists, who sacrificed every earthly good to lead immortal multitudes to heaven. There martyrs, dear to our hearts for their faith and patience, rest in eternal repose. There those, the memorials of whose piety has animated ours, all are assembled ; and shine far brighter in their Father's kingdom, than they ever shone on earth. Unnumbered millions that never met below, there meet never to part. Amidst that goodly company are doubtless found a Baxter and a Howe, an Elliott and a Brainerd, a Martyn and a Ward, and millions more, perhaps less known on earth, but not less happy in heaven. And now their piety glows with purer lustre; and all the lovely graces that religion produced in their dispositions and characters, are far more lovely there. Oglorious happiness, to join that blissful throng ! and far from all (S) Luke xx. 35, 36.
(9) Heb. xii. 22–24. (h) Rev. v. 9, 11, 12.
374 UNION OF THE PIOUS IN HEAVEN. these polluting and sinful scenes, to spend eternal day with happy myriads of spotless saints and exalted angels!
$ 26. But when you contemplate this happiness, perhaps the inquiry arises, May I hope there to meet the dear companions of my earthly course? May I hope there to know and love those valued, pious friends, whom I have known and loved upon earth ? The Scriptures furnish reasons for believing, that the happy inhabitants of heaven shall enjoy this addition to their happiness. The word of God represents some eminent saints, who have left this world, as recognized long after their departure hence. Thus the ransomed are represented as sitting down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Lazarus is described as conveyed to Abraham's bosom, and Dives as knowing Lazarus and Abraham. And at the time of our Lord's transfiguration, the distinguished saints who appeared in glory, (probably as they appear in heaven,) and who conversed with him, were known to be Moses and Elijah. There is no reason for supposing, that while these are recognized in the world of glory, it should be altogether unknown who others are, and whence they came. We may rather believe, that as Abraham is there known to be that Abraham who once forsook his country at God's command, saints of later days enjoy the mutual happiness of knowing i and being known.
A still more conclusive argument to prove that the blest shall be acquainted with each other, arises from the language of the apostle Paul, in which he expressed his confidence of seeing and recognizing his Christian friends, “ For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing ? are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming ?"'m As he expected in a happier state to renew his intimacy with those who had been converted under his ministry at Thessalonica, they must mutually know him. The apostle does not mention this as a privilege peculiar to himself; other labourers in the Saviour's vineyard would, without doubt, enjoy a similar felicity. But if the minister shall recognize his flock, can we think the pious parent shall be unacquainted with the pious child whom he trained for heaven ? Can we suppose that brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, relatives and friends,
(i) Matt. viii. 11. (K) Luke xvi. 22, 23. (1) Luke ix. 33.
(m) 1 Thess. ii. 19.
PIOUS FRIENDS REUNITED IN HEAVEN. 375 uch and mutually beloved on earth, and helpers of each other in the way to glory, shall not renew their friendship with each other there? Important as is the connexion between the pastor and the flock, these connexions, when sanctified by grace, are often much more important. Here religious intercourse takes place more dear and more continued ; prayers as fervent, and more frequent, are offered in union. Surely therefore we may believe that when the minister meets the people of his charge, the flock he has been instrumental in leading on to heaven, Christian relatives and friends, united in bands as sacred and as strong, will renew their friendship, and find in the society of each other new delight, infused into the bliss even of eternity.
It may further be observed, that the comfort which the gospel administers to those who mourn friends that sleep in Jesus, appears to be drawn in a great measure from the hope of their happy reunion, and their eternal dwelling in the presence of their Lord. The inspired writer says, “I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died, and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”n The heathen sorrowed without hope, for they had no well founded hope that their departed friends had entered a happy immortality; and their friends once lost seemed lost for ever : but if pious friends did not meet and recognize each other in heaven, the Christian would be as much without hope of beholding his loved and lost companions, as even the heathens themselves; and if not lost to happiness they would be lost to him : the moment of death would be the moment of an eternal separation ; and what had become of them would be to him unknown. Surely the language of the divine word leads to ideas very different from this ! It speaks of these friends being happy, of
(n) 1 Thess. iv. 13, 14, 16–18.
HEAVEN AN ENDLESS HOME, their coming with their Lord, and then of them and t o they left behind, being with him for ever. Can this in sh any thing less than a happy reunion in his presence? Wi
Have you kindred in the skies ? beloved kindred ! taa bless the hour that set them free from earth and time. n low their Lord, and you will soon bless that, which landsth on the happy shore, where death-divided friends, that in Christ, shall never part again. There “ Adieus and a wells are a sound unknown." Happy they who meet in blat Their union is not the union of a day: it is a meeting will never be followed by a painful parting. How sbor the hope of it animate those, whom piety unites in des defying bands, to walk with God, to pray and praise togatter here, as they hope, through everlasting days, to praise the God together there! O happy meeting ! when they meet, a more to share each other's griefs, no more to mourn excel other's woes, no more to grieve for each other's defects; ? to share in each other's joys, to triumph in each other's hoy piness, and mutually to behold friends esteemed so dear and amiable below, infinitely more amiable, as well as eternal ? glorious and happy.
$ 27. Think too, that all these blessings are for ever. Thla happiness of that world is everlasting. Tears and sorrows sickness and pain, temptation and danger, sin and death, an; excluded for ever. There, where all is peace and praise, ali 1s peace and praise for ever. O, blissful day! may ihe Chris tian think, when I shall see my Saviour ! when I shall be with him and be like him. Then shall I see, and know, and love, and praise my Lord, more and better through eternal days! Eternal days! who shall unfold the meaning of those transporting words—Eternal days ? O look forward beyond the end of time. Let faith assist you to discern the state of the just when time shall be no more. Think that you see the scenes of eternal judgment finishing. The archangel's trumpet has sounded, and is hushed in silence, never to sound again ; the ransomed myriads of the blest have heard the gracious sentence of their Lord, and received the crown of glory that fadeth not away. All the eventful scenes on life, of death, of judgment are concluded; and now behold them—where are they--in heaven-around them all is happy. Their views, joys, praises, friends, and home eternally the same; their sor