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spot of earth, how can we imagine it should hereafter take pleasure in God,—or be able to taste joy or satisfaction from his presence, who is so infinitely pure that he even putteth no trust in his saints !nor are the heavens themselves (as Job says) clean in his sight -The consideration of this has led some writers so far as to say, with some degree of irreverence in the expression,-That it was not in the power of God to make a wicked man happy, if the soul was separated from the body, with all its vitious habits and inclinations unreformed ;-which thought a very able divine in our church has pursued so far as to declare his belief,―That could the happiest mansion in heaven be supposed to be allotted to a gross and polluted spirit, it would be so far from being happy in it, that it would do penance there to all eternity :-by which he meant, it would carry such appetites along with it, for which there could be found no suitable objects a sufficient cause for constant torment;-for those that it found there, would be so disproportioned, that they would rather vex and upbraid it, than satisfy its wants.This, it is true, is mere speculation,-and what concerns us not to know it being enough for our purpose, that such an experiment is never likely to be tried that we stand upon different terms with God;-that a virtuous life is the foundation of all our happiness;-that as God has no pleasure in wickedness, neither shall any evil dwell with him; and that, if we expect our happiness to be in heaven, we must have our conversation in heaven whilst upon earth,-make it the frequent subject of our thoughts and meditations,-let every step we take tend that way,-every action of our lives be con
ducted by that great mark of the prize of our high calling, forgetting those things which are behind; forgetting this world, disengaging our thoughts and affections from it, and thereby transforming them to the likeness of what we hope to be hereaf ter.-How can we expect the inheritance of the saints in light, upon other terms than what they themselves obtained it!
Can that body expect to rise and shine in glory that is a slave to lust, or dies in the fiery pursuit of an impure desire ? Can that heart ever become the lightsome seat of peace and joy, that burns hot as an oven with anger, rage, envy, lust, and strife? full of wicked imaginations, set only to devise and entertain evil?
Can that flesh appear in the last day and inherit the kingdom of heaven in the glorified strength of perpetual youth, that is now clearly consumed in intemperance, sinks in the surfeit of continual drunkenness and gluttony, and then tumbles into the grave, and almost pollutes the ground that is under it ? Can we reasonably suppose that head shall ever wear or become the crown of righteousness and peace, in which dwells nothing but craft and avarice, deceit, and fraud, and treachery? which is always plodding upon worldly designs,-racked with ambition,-rent asunder with discord,-ever delighting in mischief to others, and unjust advantages to itself?-Shall that tongue, which is the glory of a man when rightly directed, be ever set to God's heavenly praises, and warble forth the harmonies of the blessed, that is now full of cursing and bitterness, backbiting and slander, under which is ungodliness and vanity, and the poison of asps?
Can it enter into our hearts even to hope, that those hands can ever receive the reward of righteousness, that are full of blood, laden with the wages of iniquity, of theft, rapine, violence, extortion, or other unlawful gain? or that those feet shall ever be beautiful upon the mountains of light and joy, that were never shod for the preparation of the gospel,-that have run quite out of the way of God's word, and made hast only to do evil ?-No, surely.-In this sense, he that is unjust, let him be unjust still; and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still.
So inconsistent is the whole body of sin with the glories of the celestial body that shall be revealed hereafter, that, in proportion as we fix the representation of these glories upon our minds, and in the more numerous particulars we do it, the stronger the necessity as well as persuasion to deny ourselves all ungodliness and worldly lusts, to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, as the only way to entitle us to that blessedness spoken of in the Revelations, of those who do his commandments, and have a right to the tree of life, and shall enter into the gates of the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels ;-to the general assembly and church of the first-born that are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb!
May God give us grace to live under the perpetual influence of this expectation!-that by the habitual impression of these glories upon our imaginations, and the frequent sending forth our thoughts and employing them on the other world,-we may disen
tangle them from this ;-and by so having our conversation in heaven whilst we are here, we may be thought fit inhabitants for it hereafter;-that when God, at the last day, shall come with thousands and ten thousands of his saints to judge the world, we may enter with them into happiness; and with angels and archangels, and all the company of heaven, we may praise and magnify his glorious name, and enjoy his presence forever! Amen.
DESCRIPTION OF THE WORLD.
II PETER III. 11.
Seeing, then, that all these things shall be dissolved,-what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness? looking and hastening unto the coming of God.
THE subject upon which St. Peter is discoursing in this chapter, is the certainty of Christ's coming to judge the world;-and the words of the text are the moral application he draws from the representation he gives of it ;-in which, in answer to the cavils of the scoffers in the latter days, concerning the delay of his coming, he tells them, that God is not slack concerning his promises, as some men count slackness, but is long-suffering to us ward;-"that "the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the "night, in which the heavens shall pass away with "a great noise, and the elements shall melt with "fervent heat; the earth also, and the works that "are therein, shall be burnt up."-Seeing then, says he, all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness?The inference is unavoidable,—at least in theory, however it fails in practice :-how widely these two differ, I intend to make the subject of this discourse; and though it is a melancholy comparison, to consider what manner of persons we really are,' with what manner of persons we