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ent nations and parties, of different joy of his people. Hence, it is families and individuals. Selfish said to the children of God, "all

feelings and separate interests have spread divisions, contentions and distresses over the face of the earth. But though there will forever be in heaven a greater number of persons, than have been upon earth at one time; and probably a greater number than have lived in all past ages; yet no one will ever seek or desire any selfish interest. But every member of Christ's body will seek the good of the whole body. And the whole body will seek the good of every member. They will be of one mind and of one heart respecting every object and every interest, they shall desire and promote.

4. The members of the church in heaven will be united in enjoyment. As they will be united in their knowledge, love and pursuit of the same objects, they will also be united in the objects and sources of their delight and happiness. The sources of their enjoyment will be pure, perfect, infinite and eternal. As their capacities will enlarge, their enjoyment will increase forever. The existence, perfections, designs and conduct of God will forever unfold, with increasing greatness, brightness and glory, to their minds. And it will be seen that "of God and through him and to him are all things." Every creature, every object, and every event, will, in its design, connections and consequences, display the glory of God, and excite and increase the

things are yours." They are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ. And all things will be owned and enjoyed by every saint. The universe will be enjoyed by every child of God in exact proportion to his knowledge and holiness.The whole number of holy beings in heaven will form but one body in respect to the nature, the objects and the sources of their happiness. While every member of this body will be perfectly united with the other members in sentiment, affection and interest, they will be perfectly united in their pure and holy enjoyments. And they will be perfectly blessed in the full enjoyment of God forever.

This subject now offers to our attention a few remarks.

1. As the people of God will be perfectly united in heaven, there is no reason to believe that he will accept of more than one kind of religion. God will not approve of any religious sentiments, affections, interests and enjoyments, which do not accord with that state, to which he will bring his people in heaven. There is only one kind of religion, that God now requires and approves. There is but one system of religious sentiments, but one kind of religious affections, but one description of religious interests and enjoyments, among the various religious denominations, professions, exertions and interests, that God will ap


prove in the day of final decision. ted into heaven. The religion of There is but one religion in heav- Enoch and Noah, and of other en; and there is but one religion, saints before the flood, was the that can prepare any person to be same, that God requires of all perin heaven. They whom God will approve in the day of judgment and admit into the kingdom of glory, must be of the same religion. Every religion, which does not agree with the word and the will .of God, he now condemns. And what he now condemns he will never approve. In this state of ignorance and imperfection, real religion may exist in persons, who are in some respects different. But God accepts of nothing, even in pious persons, but what agrees with his law and gospel.

2. They, who have gone from earth to heaven, have been essentially of the same religion. The first person whom God accepted and received to heaven, had the same religious character, which belonged to all other persons, who have gone to heaven. Abel was the first person, that ever left this world and entered the kingdom of God. His justification and salvation rested on the same foundation, on which all other persons rely, who are pardoned and saved from future and endless perdition. He complied with the same conditions of salvation, with which all other persons must comply in order to be saved. And he had the same spirit, and exercised the same holy and gracious affections, which all other persons must exercise, in order to be approved of God on earth and to be admit

What Moses and the prophets taught respecting the essence of religion has been confirmed by Jesus Christ and the apostles.—And the spirit of Moses, the spirit of Job, the spirit of Daniel and the spirit of Paul consisted in that holy love, without which no person can enter heaven, or be approved of God on earth. The religion, which God has approved in past ages, is what he now approves; and no other religion will he approve in future ages. That religion, which God approves and which he produces by his holy influence in the innumerable multitude of his redeemed people, is essentially and exactly the same thing in all ages of the world.

3. Since they, who enter heaven, must be perfectly united in their views, feelings, interests and enjoyments, it is of the highest importance that every person be accurately and thoroughly instructed in the true religion.— What often passes for religion in this world is totally different from the religion of heaven. Many persons hope and believe that they are in the way to heaven, though they have no communion in any respect with the true church of God. And they, who are not taught the nature of the only true religion, which unites in one body all the people of God, will deceive and destroy them

selves. They, who are not taught the true religion, are not lead to heaven; nor are they shown the way. But they are lead to destruction. It is, then, highly important, that every person should have a correct and thorough knowledge of that religion, which is necessary to an admission into the pure, perfect and blessed society of heaven. And it is the duty of every person to be exceedingly watchful and cautious what religious sentiments, affections, interests and enjoyments he approves. For they, who do not in these respects agree with the true church of God, can never have any part or lot in the kingdom of glory.

4. If they, who enter heaven, must be perfectly united, then it is vain to attempt to unite religious professors in such a manner, as does not accord with the union of heaven. Many have desired and attempted to confound all distinctions and differences in respect to religion. And it would doubtless, be pleasing to the enemies of the true church of God, to be received and treated as real christians. But any professed and apparent union of religious professors, that is not founded on the essential and fundamental doctrines of the gospel and maintained by the spirit of disinterested benevolence and directed to the glory of the only living and true God, is wholly vain and foolish. It is not a real union and cannot be permanent. Any religious union of sentiment, affec

tion, interest and enjoyment, that is not formed in view of God and his law, of Jesus Christ and the gospel, with such a spirit of benevolence and self-denial, as constitutes the essence of moral virtue, must end in discord, hatred and confusion. Such a union is founded on ignorance, or error; and can be maintained only by wickedness and deceit. All such unions will be condemned and dissolved by the supreme head of the true church. Nothing can be more vain and unwise than attempts to unite religious professors in such a manner, as does not agree with the wise and holy unity of heaven.

5. In view of the manner, in which all christians will be united in heaven, we may perceive the proper way to promote a real union of christians on earth. In heaven christians will be understandingly and cordially united in sentiment. And christians on earth cannot really be united in any respect any further than they know and love the sound doctrines of the gospel. There may be a union of ignorance and a union of error among religious professors. But they will not produce the peaceable fruits of righteousness; but the bitter fruits of unrighteousness and ungodliness. Let christians and christian churches unite in the knowledge and love of divine truth and then they may safely and firmly unite their hearts in the spiritual interests and enjoyments of the gospel and of the kingdom of God. And it does es

pecially become the ministers ofthe gospel, at this day, to be able truly to say, we have "renounced the hidden things of dishonesty; not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but, by manifestation of the truth, commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God." With such a spirit and by such conduct, they may greatly promote the real union of chris

tians on earth in sentiment, affection, interest and enjoyment; and be instrumental of their preparation for the pure, perfect and eternal communion of heaven.




in our text, urges christians to desire for their spiritual nourishment. And he plainly intimates, that their growth in the christian life, depended on their reception of these instructions. It is then the duty of christians to desire and receive the instructions of the gospel, that they may grow. This important duty is enjoined upon christians in the words of our text: "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may

grow by it." These words place before us the following sentiment, the growth of christians depends on their receiving the instructions of the gospel.

To illustrate this sentiment it is proposed,

I. To show what a proper reception of these instructions im



I. PETER II. 2.--As new-born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.

The Lord Jesus Christ commanded Peter, in the most affecting manner, to feed his sheep and his lambs. With the importance of this duty the mind of Peter appears to have been deeply impressed, when he wrote his epistles to his christian brethren. But it is evident, that the apostle could not feed the flock of God, unless they should desire and receive the proper food for their souls. This food consists in the pure and simple instructions of the gospel.These instructions, the apostle,

II. To show that the growth of christians depends on their receiving the instructions of the gospel. It is proposed,

I. To show what a proper reception of the instructions of the gospel implies. Of the great number, who profess to receive these instructions, but few appear to grow in the divine life. And the growth of these, commonly, appears slow and small. These evils, there is reason to believe, arise chiefly from their not receiving the instructions of the gospel. In respect to this subject, there are doubtless many, who wholly deceive and destroy themselves; while others are greatly deceived and injured in their spiritual

interests. It is then highly important to consider what a proper reception of divine instruction implies. On this subject it may be observed,

1. That the instructions of the gospel may be received, they must be understood. There may be a speculative knowledge of divine truth, while it is not cordially received. But it can never be cordially received, without such a knowledge of it. It is through the understanding, that the truth enters and affects the heart. For it cannot enter the heart, unless it be previously perceived and understood. A person may imagine he receives the gospel, while through ignorance, or error, he wholly misunderstands, and rejects its essential instructions. A person's views of these instructions may be very partial and defective, while they are not wholly unknown, nor rejected. But the instructions of the gospel are never received any farther than they are correctly understood in their nature, connections, tendency and consequences. Though it is often supposed, that holy affections do not depend on accurate speculations, yet there is no reason to believe that any affections are holy, unless they are excited and supported by correct views of divine truth. How can a person, with proper affections, receive the true doctrines of human depravity, regeneration, atonement and justification, unless he understand these doctrines? How can a person ex

ercise repentance towards God and faith towards the Lord Jesus Christ, unless he has a knowledge of these duties? How can a person be truly useful in promoting the glory of God and the happiness of his fellow creatures, without the knowledge of these impor tant objects? How can a person enjoy the pardon of sin, the favor of God, the hope of glory and the earnest of heaven, if he be ignorant or erroneous respecting these blessings? It was a maxim in the church of Rome, that ignorance is the mother of devotion. But so far as ignorance and error prevail, neither real devotion nor real religion in any respect can exist. Real religion is founded on the knowledge of divine truth. Tho' in real religion there is implied something more than accurate speculations, yet it cannot exist while the understanding is ignorant or erroneous. Whatever any persons may profess and whatever may be their feelings, they can never receive, unless they understand, the instructions of the gospel.

2. That the instructions of the gospel may be received, they must not only be understood, but also believed. It can hardly be supposed, that any person can fully and correctly understand and yet disbelieve the instructions of the gospel. For such an understanding of these instructions would imply and include a knowledge of the evidence, by which they are supported. And when the evi

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