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made perfect in holiness. His reason is retained; yea, his rational capacity is enlarged; and thofe who are affociated with the bleffed inhabitants of the upper world, doubtless enjoy better means of information than are to be found on earth.
SOME indeed, have fancied, that foul and body fleep together from the epoch of death till the refurrection! That during that term, the foul is chained down in a state of infenfibility! That the happiness of the faints, during the intermediate term, is no other than a fleep without dreams-a temporary nonexistence! Strange!
THE thoughts of death would make the good man tremble, did he conceive such to be its nature. Here he is compaffed with infirmity, and groans, being burdened. But fuch an exiftence, which capacitates him to do fomewhat to honor God, and benefit man, is preferable to a suspension of exift
SUSPENSION of existence! What is a fufpenfion of existence, but a temporary annihilation!-A complete folecifm! From such a state there could be no refurrection. There could be only another creation, which must conftitute not the fame, but another creature. The idea of a suspension of exiftence, is fcarcely fuppofable; and the reality of it contradicted by every part of revelation.
DEATH is reprefented in the Scriptures, as a feparation of foul and body; not as their fleeping together. "Thou changest his countenance, and fendeft him away;" is a defcription of death drawn by Job-which anfwers to that given of Rachel's
"As her foul was in departing, for fhe died." And a refurrection is reprefented as a return of the foul to the body from which it had been feparated: As of the widow's fon whom Elijah raifed from the dead" And the foul of the child came into him again, and he revived." The language of the New Teftament is the fame. This day thou shalt be with me in paradife," was a promise made by our Savior to a penitent fellow fufferer on the cross, whose body was the fame day committed to the grave. St. Paul "had a defire to depart and to be with Chrift," which he opposed to abiding in the flesh." If foul and body fleep together in the grave, he would have been no fooner with Chrift, than though he had lived here till the refurrection. When St. John was indulged a fight of heaven, he faw the fouls of the martyrs who had been flain before that period, and heard them crying for vengeance on their murderers who were yet living on earth.*
THE Scriptures are fo explicit refpecting the ftate of the dead, that a suspicion that they remain fenfelefs while their bodies moulder in the duft, appears ftrange. The righteous dead certainly rejoice in God's prefence and are affociated with fellow faints. "The Lamb, which is in the midst of the throne, feeds them, and leads them "to fountains of living waters; and God wipes away all tears from their eyes."
NEITHER do they remain inactive-" They ferve God day and night-in his temple," fome
* Revelation vi. 9, 10.
may fay. God's temple may here mean the univerfe, that vaft temple which he hath built; in every part of which his faints may ferve him.**
SURELY the glorified fpirit is not confined to a fingle apartment in the house of God, and not fuffered to go abroad, and fee his glory, and the exercise of his perfections in the works of creation and providence! Were fuch his fituation, it would differ little from that of the delinquent who is confined to his cell, or prifon! Such cannot be the state of a glorified foul-of a foul releafed from a body, which while on trial, ferved as a clog to restrain the fervant, and prevent him from quitting the ftation, in which he had been placed, or leaving the work affigned him. It cannot be the ftate of one fanctified throughout; of one raised above temptation, either to stray into devious paths, or be flothful in the fervice of his God.
MUCH of our felicity here ariseth from a contemplation of the works of creation and providence. In these we fee divine wisdom and goodnefs; learn to know God; to fear and love him. The good man carries this difpofition with him when he exchangeth worlds; his defire of knowledge, and especially the knowledge of God, and the works and ways of God. And is there not reason to believe that glorified faints have power and liberty to range among the works of the all perfect Sovereign; trace the evidences of the divine perfections, and witness their effects, and that this is one fource of their happiness?
Revelation xxi. 22.
A RELISH for knowledge is a quality of the mind, natural to it, and inseparable from it. We observe it in children, who at an early period difcover a defire of information, and perpetually feek it by questioning those more advanced. The fame difpofition is refident in adults, and productive of the attainments in fcience which both delight the mind and dignify the man. In heaven, the glorified fpirit, hath doubtless advantages for attaining the knowledge of God and divine things, and opportunity to fatisfy his defire after it, if it can be satisfied; for it is itself a happiness. It gives a zeft to information, and will probably con. tinue, and be an endless fource of enjoyment. The creature may never know fo much of God as to defire no farther knowledge of him; or so much of the works and ways of God, as to wifh no increase of that knowledge. Acquisitions in knowledge and enjoyment may progress together in the world of fpirits. And who can fix their limits ? They may be as boundless as eternity!
TURN now your thoughts on Sir Isaac Newton, that renowned philofopher and Chriftian. Was his enlarged and inquifitive mind fatisfied at death? Did not he carry with him a defire to vifit every planet, not only of our own, but other fyftems, and pry into the arcana of nature to be found in them all ?-If enabled and permitted, he may fill be ranging among the works of God, to learn yet more of his wisdom, power and goodness, in his works and ways, which are unsearchable, and past the comprehenfion of created beings!
Probably other glorified fpirits have a fhare; it may be a large fhare of the fame temper.
AND if they are capable of bearing the messages of their divine Sovereign, or doing aught for his honor, it must be a pleasure to glorified fpirits to be fo employed. Here the good man delights to ferve the Lord. Will this cease to be his difpofition when the remains of depravity fhall be done away? Will not this difpofition be increased and ftrengthened? Or is there reason to think that those will have no power to serve God, who are freed from these fluggish bodies?
Or certain glorified fpirits it was declared to the apostle, as we have feen, that they "ferve God day and night"—They have no need of rest-they never grow weary. How they ferve God without the use of bodily organs, is to us unknown. But it doth not follow that they are incapable of it. God can give them power, and teach them to accomplish all his pleasure.
THAT departed faints have fometimes been fent down to our world, to make known God's will, and deliver his meffages, we believe to be taught in the fcriptures-I am thy fellowfervant, and of thy brethren the prophets.
WHO not of our race could have made fuch a declaration? A fellowfervant, is a fervant of the fame fpecies, or rank. Our fellows are our equals; thofe of the fame clafs in creation. Brutes are creatures; but we do not confider them as fellowcreatures. We might, however, with as much propriety as the angel could call himself John's