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should be so daily renewed by the Holy Spirit in the inner-man, as to know that while they look to eternal things, "their light afflictions are working out for them a far more exceeding, and eternal weight of glory;" and that "whenever the earthly house of this tabernacle shall be dissolved, they shall enter upon a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."
And now, in conclusion, the question comes upon us individually, as pilgrims through this world, and partakers of its cares, and as hastening rapidly onward to meet the Son of God in death and judgment; is this our hope? Are we prepared to take up this language, as knowing the full meaning of the terms, and to say calmly and deliberately before God, "Now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be;" but this gives us no cause for anxiety, for the main point is determined; in the day "when he shall appear, we shall be like him." Are you prepared to make this statement in humble hope? If you are not, rest assured that you have not realized all the blessing which God has provided for us in the gospel. Its hope was meant to be to us as "an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, entering into that within the veil." With such merciful purposes towards us, God will not keep those who are in earnest capriciously in darkness. He giveth liberally and upbraideth not. So that if you are without this encouraging hope, it is your own fault.
You cannot lay the blame upon God. You must take the sin of your hopelessness in the midst of such privilege, home to yourself; for be assured, that if you are ever thoroughly in earnest, you will break your way through all earthly impediments, through all the fetters and fascinations that a world of sense can throw around you, to meet a gracious Saviour with joy, upon his own compassionate
But if this is your hope; if you feel that in meekness you may take up the language of the text, and look out joyfully beyond the confines of mortality, to the promised meeting of your Saviour, and the consummation of your happiness in him; then what important results should this have in your conduct and your heart! It is impossible but that your whole views, habits, and dispositions should be influenced by this expectation.
First, If this is indeed our expectation, how little and trifling should the things of time appear. A prospect so glorious, throws them all at once into the shade. Whatever be the appointments of providence below for those whom God loves, they are to issue in this blessed result; and no earthly joy can for an instant compare with a felicity so exalted and so desirable. Surely our affections cannot linger round that which is at the best sensual and uncertain, when such unspeakable joy is "near, even at the doors." Every thing here must shrink to its due standard; and if we do not write over it
in bitterness," Vanity and vexation of spirit ;" we may at least say, "Ichabod, the glory is departed.". Then,
Secondly, How ought our affections to go forth towards the promised day of glory. "To me," said St Paul," to live is Christ, but to die is gain." "Behold I come quickly," said the Saviour; and John replied, "Even so come, Lord Jesus." This if we are all we should be, would be our language and feeling. To be perfectly like the Son of God, is the highest conceivable point of exaltation and happiness. Every thing that comes short of this, is so much present misery. Look forward, then, in the true spirit of the saints: "My soul is athirst for God, for the living God; when shall I come and appear before God:" "I am ready to be offered." How glorious the confidence that can thus make earthly sorrow unimportant; that can make the dark valley appear light; that can in one most interesting respect penetrate the veil that shrouds another existence, and realise blessings that this world could never give. Let us emulate this heavenly composure, and so live near to God below, that any moment may find us ready and willing to enter into his eternal presence.
And then, lastly, If the contemplation of the perfections of Jesus Christ is the appointed process of conversion into his spotless image, how earnestly should we devote ourselves to this important occupation. We are to "consider him ;" we are to
look unto Jesus; we are to "put on the Lord Jesus Christ." This is to be the great business of life; and every thing else should be done in subserviency to this one essential soul-elevating duty. In every 'subordinate occupation of business or pleasure, this fact should never be lost sight of. Every thing is to be done unto the Lord, and not to man, and as setting the Lord always before us. Happy are they who live in the habit of thus beholding the glory of the Lord; and they who are wise enough to devote the time of their sojourning to it most entirely, will realize below, the most rapid progress in grace, and watch with the most triumphant ardour, for the dawn of the promised glory.
THE FORCE OF HOPE.
1 JOHN III. 3.
And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
OUR attention has been occupied lately by a consideration of the present privileges and hopes of the Christian. It has been shewn, that they who are really believers in Christ, are by an extraordinary act of divine grace, changed from the children of sin and of the devil, to the children of God; that this character is unperceived and incomprehensible to the unbelieving multitude, out of which they were called to be the sons of God; that the fact of their filial relation to God gives them peace; and that although in some respects, their lot beyond the limits of this existence remains unknown, yet on one statement of revelation respecting the future, they do repose with the fullest confidence, that the Lord Jesus Christ is coming in his glory;