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nature of mere punishment to purify. It can profit only when accompanied by the sanctifying grace of God. Otherwise it is apt to exasperate and harden. There is no restoration for a sinner but by the Saviour, and since no Saviour shall ever be offered to those who have died impenitent, their suffering must endure eternally. It is objected, finally, that eternal punishment is unnecessary. But who is competent to pronounce this judgment? The same thing might be said of all punishment whatever. We cannot tell what purposes it may serve. We might speculate upon the views of the divine character and government that it is fitted to give to the inhabitants of the whole universe, on the impressions that it is calculated to make upon them, and so manifest its wisdom and utility. We are countenanced herein by the Scriptures, also, where we are in. formed, that “unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places is known, by the Church, the manifold wisdom of God,"
-that is, by means of the dispensation of God towards the Church, the inhabitants of heaven have obtained views of the divine wisdom, such as they never entertained before. For aught we can tell, the eternity of future punishment may be the most instructive lesson to all the creation of God; and for man to speak of its inutility is the height of folly and presumption. But the subject is beyond our comprehension ; and we pursue it no farther. We must simply rest in the testimony of the Divine Word; and that is sufficiently explicit that the “ wicked shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of God, and from the glory of his power.” What an evidence of human perversity and folly, to be exercising our ingenuity to find out arguments against the eternity of future punishment, instead of embracing the gra: cious deliverance from it which God has provided. And, oh! in what a perilous undertaking he engages, who endeavours to shake the faith of others in this salutary and fundamental truth. In eternity, when be discovers his error, what an aggravation will this be of his woe! And all this folly and sin increased ten-fold, by the consideration, that while they have thus exposed themselves to eternal death, they might have been in possession of eternal life. Eternal life! Yes, that is the portion of them that believe; and we shall proceed, not to explain it, (for that is impossible, but to offer a few remarks upon it.
II. Eternal life. In Rev. vii. 14-17, we have the following simple, but sublime, description of the redeemed in glory: “ These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white, in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him, day and night, in his temple;
and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on
them, nor any heat. For the Lamb, which is in the midst of the throne, shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of water; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” Into the full meaning of such a passage, we are not now competent to enter. We can see, however, that it in. cludes all the elements of happiness that are known to us. And we shall now attempt to notice a few of these, as essential and blessed constituents of eternal life.
i. The lowest idea we can attach to their condition is, that they are released from the sorrows of life, and enter into rest. How emphatic is the divine testimony, “there remaineth a rest for the people of God;' and, more particularly, “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither sball there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away.” The present is a scene of much suffering; and that in all forms, personal, domestic, social and public, bodily and mental, earthly and spiritual. In these things there is much bitter suffering. It is not unjust to describe the present condition of the people of God, as one of “great tribulation.' Sooner or later, they all find it to be so. But they have a happy prospect,--there is rest in heaven.
2. There they shall be free from sin. This is their burthen and sorrow here. Withdraw all external suffering from a Christian, but leave him subject to sin, and still the root of bitterness is within him. How he now prizes even a short respite from temptation. But, in the grave, he shall lay down this body of sin and death ; temptation will be felt no more nothing shall disturb the peaceful tranquillity of the pure and holy mind. There is no sin in heaven.
3. There shall be all the blessedness of holiness. It is entitled, in the Scriptures, "fulness of joy.” What delight do angels experience in knowing, learning, and doing the will of God. They are blessed in the purity and holiness of their own nature, and find a source of unspeakable happiness in their high and heavenly attainments. But it is holiness that is the real cause of all they enjoy. And so shall it be with the redeemed servants of God, when the principles of righteousness shall be completely established within them, and all their powers are subdued by them,—when faith shall be perfected in sight, hope in fruition, and charity shall expand, and fill the whole soul with its heavenly influences. There is perfect holiness in heaven.
4. The redeemed shall be admitted to the fellowship of all the servants of God. They shall enjoy the communion of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, -of all from the north, the south, the east, and the west, who have tasted that the Lord is gracious,-of the angels that surround the throne of God,-of Jesus, in the glory of his mediatorial beadship-of Jehovah
himself, manifested in Christ. What happiness is enjoyed on earth, in the communion of the people of God! What privileges did ancient saints partake of, in the fellowship of angels ! What exalted blessedness did the disciples experience, who had fellowship with Christ on the Mount of his transfiguration ! And what solid peace has the whole Church, while it maintains communion with God in his ordinances. But in heaven all this communion shall be renewed, elevated, purified, and perfected. Then, truly, shall the description of the Apostle be fully understood and enjoyed,- ye are come unto mount Zion, and unto 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, which are written in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.” There is unbroken fellowship in heaven.
5. There, also, the redeemed shall be engaged in the most exalted and blessed exercises. With deep and earnest interest will they study and inquire into the works of God; and, as these declare his glory, so shall they see it the more clearly, and rejoice in it the more. They will abound in the offices of love one toward another; and, as these increase the happiness of all on earth, so shall it be there, -blessing, and being blessed. They will examine and search into the ways and dispensations of God; and a large measure of satisfaction and delight will arise hence, while they are excited 10 burst out into the rapturous acknowledgment, “great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty ; just and true are thy ways, thou King of Saints.” They will praise God. This is the most ennobling exercise of all. It is the work of angels now, “crying one to another, and saying, holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, the whole earth is full of thy glory.” So the redeemed, too, shall sing their songs of loudest praise, in honour of God and the Lamb. “ Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins, in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father ; to him be glory and dominion, for ever.-Amen. Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God, by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests ; and we shall reign on the earth.” There is joy in heaven.
6. To complete the blessedness of the redeemed, it shall be eternal. “Him that overcometh, will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out.” Here the idea of uncertainty, and the fear of change, interfere with our highest joys; but there, happiness cannot be interrupted, for it will increase for ever and ever. Yes, there is every reason to conclude that the blessedness of the redeemed shall be progressive.' They will be increasing in knowledge, and as they know God, so they will enjoy him. They will know the meaning of that deep and precious saying of our Lord, “this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” Life eternal! Who can tell what it comprises ? Life!“to which all so tenaciously adhere. Eternal life !--the most desired blessing enjoyed without interruption, and without end. But it is vain to multiply words on such a subject. They only darken counsel, anıt we must rest in the few thoughts we have already expressed, and wait for the day of the manifestation of the glory of God, to understand it fully. “ Now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now we know in part; but then shall we know, even also as we are known.” .There is eternal life in heaven.
Scripture Questions, with Answers, on the Discourses and Parables of the
Lord Jesus Christ. W. M'COMB, Belfast. p.p. 159. 1836. It is truly cheering to see the deep interest that so generally prerails on behalf of the rising generation. The ingenuity of the Christian world appears to be taxed to devise one method and means after another, for their instruction and improvement. Of this the little volume before us is an example. It is the production of a diligent and experienced Sab. bath-school teacher; and its immediate design is to bring the attention of the pupil to the Scriptures, so that they shall be understood and obeyed. It is well that the Bible is read in all our Sabbath-schools; but this is not enough :-pains must be taken to cause the children to know its meaning, and feel its power. The plan adopted in the present instance is probably the best. Questions being asked upon the selected passage, the answers to which the pupil may find, by carefully consulting the text. Where the question is supposed to be at all difficult, the answer is inserted; but where it is not so, the question is left unanswered. Any word in the passage whose meaning might be at all obscure, is explained. Upon the whole, we recommend the plan that is adopted as a good model for Sabbath-school teachers; and they would find a perusal of this little volume to be helpful to them, in conducting the instruction of their classes. Sabbath-schools are an efficient instrument for doing good ; but let it ever be borne in mind, they can be successful only as they engage the attention with the Word of God, open the mind to understand it,and bring the character under the power of its heavenly truths.,
PRESBYTERIAN ORDINATION AT CLONMEL. An Ordination was held in the above town on Wednesday, the 25th May, when the Rev. John Dill was solemnly set apart to the office of the sacred ministry, by the Pres. bytery of Dublin, in connexion with the General Synod of Ulster. The services of the day were conducted by the Rev. Richard Dill, the Rev. Dr. Horner, and the Rev. Samuel Simpson, of Dublin, and the Rev. John Poole, of Lismore.
No. LXXXIV. SEPTEMBER, 1836. Vol. VII.
JESUS INVITED TO THE MARRIAGE.
(From White's Addresses.)
“ And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there. And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage." St. John ii, 1, 2.
What an interesting period of life is that spring-time of our existence, when feelings are fresh, and hopes are bright, and spirits buoyant ; when a voice of gladness within the soul echoes to the voice of gladness, that seems bursting from creation on every side; when, to the inex. perienced eye of youth, the world wears the charmed aspect of a smiling paradise, where hope opens bright vista-views of visionary happiness, over which imagination flings those rainbow-tints which are all her own, --so beautiful, but, alas! so evanescent.
Could I gain access to the ears and bearts of those sons and daughters of Christianity in our land, who have arrived at this most interesting, but dangerous period of inexperience and susceptibility, when the affections, in all the sweet freshness of their youthful prime, are beginning to be developed, ready to respond to the awakening voice of sympathy, but not yet centered upon, or plighted to, any object of the heart's fixed choice, there is one admonition, prompted alike by a desire to promote their happiness, and the Redeemer's glory, which I would most affectionately and solemnly address to them,--and it is even this :
That they would resolve, in all sincerity, and humble dependence on divine strength, to enable them to keep the resolution,-never to give their hearts to an object, whose heart was not, as far as they could judge on Scrip. tural grounds, given to God. Never to be united in the bonds of wedded love, to ove, to whom they cannot be,