Images de page
PDF
ePub

his essence, however full and clear, could not answer the same moral purposes as the comprehension of his love, his wisdom, or his faithfulness. And as there is no doubt but these will be known and enjoyed in perfection, I must say to myself and to others, that we should sustain no spiritual loss were this mystery to be as eternal as it is now entire.

son.

I do not, however, think that it will be so. The assurance that 66 we shall know, even as we are known," pledges, if not open vision on the subject, such a degree of light as shall render the union of Father, Son, and Spirit, in the one Godhead, as obvious as the union of soul, body, and spirit in our own one perBut as it will not be from knowing the points where the latter blend, nor the nexus of their unity, but from the intellectual and moral powers thus produced and perfected; so, whatever be the light thrown upon the unity of the Trinity, our chief confidence and delight in the Godhead must spring from its moral perfections, and not from its physical properties. In a word, we shall know all that finite intellect can enjoy or bear; and,

surely, there is range enough in that wide and warm circle or light, to render the anticipation of the perfect day of eternity equally pleasing and profitable.

Thus there is really less difficulty in conceiving of invisible things, than appears at first sight. The current objections against trying to realize them are not so formidable, as they are plausible. They are, in fact, rather the suggestions of sloth, than the convictions of reason; and far less derived from baffled effort to comprehend, than from reluctance to meditate.

I must now say distinctly, that I have a very mean opinion of all the ordinary excuses, put forward to palliate or explain the slight attention given to eternal things. I feel thus, especially, in reference to the wrath to come. When that is dwindled into a question about the materiality of everlasting burnings, both the head and the heart do themselves little credit. For, whatever unquenchable fire, or the deathless worm, may literally mean, they can mean nothing good,-nothing easy,-nothing temporary. Besides, to a mind rightly

exercised and disposed, there is surely more than enough to awe it, and to fix its awe, in the single fact, that hell is "the wrath of God and the Lamb." There can be no great soundness of judgment nor justness of feeling, where the impression of this solemn fact is defeated or weakened by curiosity. It does, therefore, appear to me one of the deceits of the human heart, if not one of the wiles of Satan, when our thoughts entangle themselves with the minute details of future misery, and thus escape from the awful and obvious truth, that it is "everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power." Yes; hell is this, whatever else it is, and whatever else it is not. Of what consequence then is the question, what else is hell, seeing it is this? O, did we estimate things according to their real or their relative importance, there is in this one view of the wrath to come, such definite and appalling terrors, that even a momentary glance at them, if given daily, could not fail to keep us fleeing from that wrath, and clinging with a deathgrasp to the Cross, as the only refuge from it.

No. III.

THE EXCUSES FOR NOT REALIZING

ETERNITY.

66

HOWEVER natural it may be to prefer the prospect of immortality to the horrid idea of annihilation, it is certainly neither natural nor common to think often of immortality. It is not so attractive to us as annihilation is repulsive. We dislike the bare idea of coming to such an end as the beasts which perish ;" but we do not, proportionably, love the bright hope of being" as the angels of God in heaven." We do not turn to the latter with the promptness or spirit, that we turn away from the former. Indeed, our reluctance to speak or think much of immortality is almost as great as our aversion to annihilation. This is a strange inconsistency! We loathe the extinction of our being, and yet shrink from dwelling on the eternity of it. This

E

would be very inconsistent, even if the gospel did no more than proclaim redemption from the hell it reveals, without at all describing the heaven it promises. Mere escape from everlasting misery, to eternal life of any other kind, and in any other place, would deserve more consideration than we usually give to our "Father's house." O, yes were we never to see God as he is, nor the Lamb in his essential glory; never to see the throne or the temple of Deity; never to behold one angel, nor to hear one anthem of the heaven of heavens; even the bare prospect of not being under the wrath of God and the Lamb, would be worth more attention and gratitude than we commonly pay to the full-orbed prospect of being for ever with the Lord, and with all who are the Lord's. Indeed, if the gospel were utterly silent on the subject of heaven, and said nothing else to commend or enforce its own claims, but just that, by believing and obeying it, we should escape the abode of "the devil and his angels," it would be glad tidings of great joy, and worthy of all acceptation. But this is not the gospel, nor yet like it. It opens

« PrécédentContinuer »