<< DISCOURSE IX: The Life of Heaven >>

Thou shalt no more be termed forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed desolate; but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah, for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.--ISAIAH lxii. 4.

THY kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is done in heaven, is part of the prayer divinely taught us. To realize this, is to live the LIFE OF HEAVEN upon earth. Our object, on the present occasion, is to contemplate this life of heaven: to ascertain what it is, and to strengthen our desire to bring it down into our own hearts, minds, and circles. May the Spirit of the Lord Jesus, the God of both worlds, warm our hearts, and enlighten our minds, that our considerations may strengthen our purpose and effort, to live below as angels live above!

We may be met at the outset of our inquiry by the objections not unfrequently heard, What do we know about heaven, or its laws, or its life? How can we imitate that or which we have no experience? Has any one come back to tell us how they live in heaven?

These objections assume much more than they are warranted in assuming. They take it for granted that we know nothing of heaven either by revelation, or our own best experiences.

But this is far from being the case. The essential laws of heaven have been amply revealed. We have not faithfully attended to them. Hence the world has been a scene of toil and trouble. Let us now investigate those laws, and seek to bring them home to ourselves, until we are filled with a holy desire to realize them within and around us; and we can say,

Now love and truth together meet,
Thus heavenly laws ordain;
And, from their union, joy complete,
May bless the earth again.

Let us then, not fear to ask what constitutes the happiness of heaven: what constitutes the life which makes this happiness. When me in some measure understand the constitution of the heavenly world, as revealed in the Scriptures, and intimated in the evident intuitions of the soul itself, we may then better see how the life of heaven may be transferred to this lower world.

The subject may be presented under many aspects, but there is one most interesting point of view in which our text regards it: that is, the feature of heavenly life which is placed before us, when we contemplate it as a marriage, as a condition of things in which the reality of union and communion is perfectly carried out, both in general and in particular. The Lord delighted in thee, and thy land shall be married.

This plenary union and communion of things, may be presented in many ways, and will bring out most delightful results. Let us restrict ourselves to these four:--

First, The union of all heaven with the Lord.

Second, The union of heart and mind, affection and thought, word and deed, in each angel.

Third, The harmony of mutual love, and the communion of angelic gifts and graces by the angels with each other.

Fourth, The unity which exists between the angels, and the scenes and circumstances which surround them, and the tendency to such union amongst men.

The first and inmost cause of happiness in heaven, and in the heavenly state, when it is realized on earth, is union with the Lord. He is the fountain of joy. From Him come innocence, wisdom, peace, and every blessing. This is placed strikingly before us in the fifth verse of this chapter. As the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.

In the Book of Revelation, also, the same truth appears. Let us be glad and rejoice and give honor to Him, for the marriage of the lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted, that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints. And he said unto me write, Blessed are they who are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb (Xix. 7-9).

It is a fact of universal experience that man has an inmost yearning after God. It appears in the inner life and impulses of all nations. It has molded in all time their history, their institutions, and their daily life. Where truth has not brought them to an acquaintance with the one glorious God, the fountain of love and wisdom, it has substituted other and various deities, or they have even worshiped a devil. But the tendency reveals the inner and supreme want of the soul. It is the golden link destined to attach man to his Maker, and open him to the inmost source of happiness. To this the Divine invitations are addressed by the Savior. Abide in me, and I in you. For as the branch cannot bear fruit in itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing (15, 4, 6).

The branch attached to a living vine receives sap and vigor; a healthy circulation throws life into every part, and leaf, flower, and fruit, testify to its inner life. So with the human soul, if in union will the Lord, a heavenly growth of healthy thought in natural and in spiritual things, followed by a healthy obedience, testify of its interior devotion and love. There is then trust, confidence, and peace. There is an unshaken adherence to the right, whatever may oppose, because the soul inwardly rests on the All-wise, the All-good, and the All-powerful. The soul feeds this inner state by revelation, by reflection, by experience, by hope, and by anticipation. The sweetest joys come in occasionally like celestial warmth and light, and bathe the soul in bliss, giving it a rich foretaste of heaven. The Lord said, In me, ye shall have peace. And, this is not inconsistent with external storms. The lower atmosphere is sometimes tossed with raging hurricanes, while the deep blue above announces an upper region of calm and tranquil rest. Martyrs on the rack find the outward tortures counterbalanced by a strange peace.

A Russell in his cell, or a Fenelon in his banishment, has meat to eat which the world knows not of, and which enables them to be more than conquerors through Him that loved them. God is their refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble, therefore they did not fear though the earth were removed, find though the mountains were carried into the midst of the sea; though the waves thereof roar and be troubled; though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. They felt that God was in the midst of them, they could not be moved. God would help them, and that right early.

On the contrary, where this inner attachment to the Lord does not exist, there can be no real permanent peace, no fixed and certain confidence. Like a vessel in a storm, without anchor, every moment threatens them with ruin; anxiety must be in the heart.

The interior conjunction of the eternal and the immortal, is the source of all celestial bliss. It exists in a measure in every regenerating soul, and though often clouded, get breaks forth from time to lime, and gives a foretaste of heaven. Abide in me, and I in you, said our blessed Lord, and this internal union is set before us in the Word, as the secret origin of delight, of joy unutterable. All nature is summoned to furnish emblems and correspondence to bring it vividly to view. It is the spring of the soul, the paradise within, the heaven of the spirit. The dawn of the Sun of Righteousness over the inward man is as the bright peace of early morning; the hidden manna satisfies the longing soul. They who hunger and thirst after righteousness are filled. Peace flows like a river, and righteousness like the waves of the sea. The sun goes down no more, nor does the moon withdraw itself; the Lord is our everlasting light, and the days of our mourning are ended.

The soul inmostly united to the Lord, by love, dwells in His peace, exults in Him; like John, reclines on His bosom. It feels an ever radiant hope, arising out of heartfelt trust and inmost affection. In the very center of our being, mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other. The adoring language of one in this state is, Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: who forgiveth all thine iniquities: who healeth all thy diseases:

who redeemeth thy life from destruction: who crowneth thee with loving-kindness and tender mercies: who satisfieth thy mouth with good things, so that thy youth is renewed like the eagles.

Such is the inmost source of the joys of heaven. It is full, deep, unspeakable. In its presence all care, anxiety, and disquietude are hushed. The soul is content in God. It is the realization of the Divine promise, I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing. The heart lives in joy, the mind in gladness, find all within is peace. Such is the deep spring of angelic bliss. The Lamb that is in the midst of the throne feeds them and leads them to fountains of living waters; and God wipes away all tears from their eyes.

This deep source of the joys of angels can also be experienced on earth. Where the Lord is, there is heaven. Christ in you is the hope of glory. When the door of the heart is opened by penitence and self-denial, and the Savior enters in, He diffuses the sphere of holy rest; as He said in the closed room of the disciples, Peace be unto you. The Savior enthroned within, gives the kiss of his benediction, and n peace springs up, that passes all understanding, and this new state the opening of the heaven within the soul, is the resemblance below of the inner life of heaven, as it is also the commencement of true angelic joy.

With such an interior rest in the Lord, how different would be the condition of earthly life? Those weary cares, those harassing anxieties, those painful fears which, like streams of gall issuing from a center of bitterness, poison human existence even in its most favored walks, would disappear. The skeleton would be removed from the inner chamber of the house, and instead of its horrid form, the Savior, radiant with love and wisdom, would be seen. His joy would be in us, and our joy would be full.

The worldling imagines that religion means the extinguishment of delight, and sometimes a mistaken piety has given a confirmation to this idea; but the reverse of it is true. We only then begin to base true delight, and full delight, when our ways are just, our pleasures innocent, and there is in them all that perfect love which casts out fear. This makes a deep satisfaction, which takes the thorn from every rose of human life.

The world is to us our Fathers world, and we enjoy its glorious beauty. For that the human soul was constituted as it is. The love of a human parent so confiding, so embracing, so beautiful in a child, is the bud, the embryo of a love for the Divine. That love was intended to be strengthened by the daily fostering of parental affection. The wise provisions of a Fathers care, tender, considerate, and complete; the Father's counsel, stimulating yet guarded, experienced, orderly, and rational; the mother's gentle, matronly gracefulness, and constant loving-kindness, ever providing what maternal feeling suggests, and surrounding the home with an atmosphere of purity, and loveliness; these image the Divine Love and Wisdom in our Heavenly Father, and were doubtless designed to train in the young immortals an inmost love for Him. But, alas! how often do earthly parents fail in being to the child a likeness of its Father who is in heaven. Often a harsh, cold, selfish, repulsive demeanor in one parent, a weak, ill-regulated, ever vacillating conduct in the other; a home, the scene of quarrels, petty hypocrisies, and chilling miseries assail the warm love that glows in the soul of the child, and chills it in the bud. Or in cases more unhappy still, where wickedness more positive degrades the parental abode, the young heart is early linked to sin, by the very affections which were implanted to associate it with heaven. Grievous, beyond all other grief, is it to see the gentlest affections of our nature damaged and defiled in early childhood, and the soul intended to be the palace of the Highest, desecrated and wrecked already in its tenderest emotions. No mender is it that many who afterwards, by penitence in later years, seek to throw off the incubus of sin, find their work terribly toilsome, and their weaknesses the source of bitter, bitter sorrows, from the long years of accumulated mischief in an unhappy childhood, a mistrained youth, and a manhood ushered into life not only without the wise intelligence, and pure safeguards of a heaven-loving home, but the positive impurities of a degrading example, and an atmosphere all poisoned with falsity. Linked to sin by that very affection which prompted it to think its parents the model of all that should be followed, and betrayed by its holiest feelings, to a ruin the most terrible. Hard, very hard, is it for those whose early life has been thus unhappy, to work their way to purer states, in days of penitence, in after life. Yet, thanks to the Incarnate God, even that cut be done.

The love of our Divine Savior, of the Father manifested in Him, is so abounding, so tender, so pure, it comes down so low to the sinner, it lifts him so high to the saint, it creates such ardor, such confidence in Him who laid down His life for His friends, that all the dress, even, that was laid so deeply in childhood, melts away while me gaze upon, love, and follow the Lamb, that takes away the sins of the world.

The Godhead revealed in the, Divine Man who appeared for the worlds redemption, and stands now, and knocks at the door of the heart, that He may enter in, regenerate it, save and bless it, is so unutterably kind, and the Son in His wisdom, His saving power, His purity, His consoling love, His healing tenderness, His restoration of dead affections, His suffering with man and for man, His revelation of His divine glories as King of kings and Lord of lords, His becoming the All-in-all to the regenerated spirit, as the Sun shining in His strength, His garments shining as the light, having ascended far above all heavens and filling all things (Eph. iv. 10); the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace (Isa. ix. 6), the Son reveals the Father (Matt. xi. 21). He who knows the Son knows the Father. He who knows the Son, in His true character, sees the Father (John xiv. 9). The Son as Loves human manifestation as the Lord, revealed to us; the Father in Him (John xvii. 23-26). This is the true order for men and angels. The Lord God Almighty is the light of the Holy City, and the Lamb is the Lamb from which it shines (Rev. xxi. 23). Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, find riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing (Rev. v. 12).

This conjunction with the soul of the Eternal Father, whom no man hath seen or can see, by the Son, the Divine and glorified Manhood, in whom dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, is the Fountain of every joy of the blessed; and this source of all benediction is equally open to men on earth. All power is given unto Him in heaven and on earth (Matt. xxviii. 19).

When the Lord Jesus Christ, the manifested God, is the center of every thought, and of every affection, all will go well. He is the light of the world. He is the bread of life. He is the power of salvation, the help of the mourner, the crowner of every joy.

Come unto Me all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. I give you power to tread upon serpents and scorpions (Luke x. 18). Abide in Me. In Me ye shall have peace. Fear not, I am the first and the last! My joy shall be in you. Be ye faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.

What words are these! What wonders to be realized! Rest, peace, purity, confidence, trust, fearlessness, faith, love, death transformed into the change in which life is crowned with blessedness. These all flow from conjunction with the Lord, and these admitted into human life would make the foundations of angelic happiness on earth. Then would rapidly disperse the anxieties, cares, sins, and sorrows, the miseries and defilements, the oppressions and the wails of earth. Hasten, blessed Lord, that glorious time.

O may those gracious words rapidly receive a large fulfillment. Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God (Rev. xix. 3).

The love of God our Savior supremely, is the first great essence of joy in heaven and on earth. Well did Dr. Rowland Williams say, is his Review of Dunsen, Heaven is a state of the love of God, more than a place.

The second source of the joys of heaven is the union of principles in the angelic character. In this sense, also, their land is married. They are just men made perfect, each is his degree (Heb. xii. 23). The human mind in its irreligious state is like an unregulated kingdom, which has rejected its lawful sovereign; all the subjects are in disharmony, engaged in intestine war. Like an arch, whose keystone is thrust out, from which every other stone is more or less displaced, so is the soul which has said to its Maker, we will not have this man to reign over us. The passions are wild, impure, and greedy, and urge a thousand things which conscience, reason, and common sense condemn. The conscience itself is misinformed, and makes things absurd, or trifling, into burdensome duties. Reason is often lawless, and, in its determination to see without light, strains itself to innumerable extravagancies. Talents exist without judgment, practice without principle. The appetites of the body are opposed to the perceptions and convictions of the soul.

We are harps, of which every string is out of tune or broken. As the body exhibits disease in one person, or another, infecting every organ however delicate, however minute, or however important, so in our mental organization. From the sole of the foot, even unto the bend, there is no soundness in it, but wounds and bruises, and putrefying sores (Isa. i. 6). How often do we see wonderful talents allied to disgusting sensuality; power of almost angelic brilliancy united to vanity absolutely childish. The capacity for government which regulates a nation, is often accompanied by an incapacity for self-government which degrades the public sage to a private idiot. A Marlborough at the head of armies, is a mean pilferer of the army chest. The patriot in public may be a time-server in private. The flatterer of a crowd, may be a truckler to a tyrant. The disunion between faith and charity in mens souls is proverbial. The eloquence which can charm, when religion is the theme, is by no means certain to be accompanied by an inward reverence for its holy requirements, or a practical obedience to its divine commands. The enchanting singer may have no music in the heart. Elegant accomplishments may be associated with a very gulf of turpitude and defilement. Happy is it for the world, and thrice happy for the possessor, when we meet with great talents, great knowledge, great judgment, dutiful obedience, sound principle, manly firmness or feminine delicacy, devoted charity, true piety, and child-like humility united together! There we have a true man or a true woman. To produce these angelic characters is the work of religion, the very business of regeneration. The conflicts of the soul, the operations of the Savior, the mourning of penitence, the agony of secret prayer, the daily help of the Word, the alternations of peace and war in the soul, are all to issue in overcoming these spiritual disorders and diseases, in making the crooked straight, and the rough places plain. When this is done, the Christian has attained the stature of a man in Christ Jesus. For this he has lived and labored, loved and worked out his salvation with fear and trembling. For this he has read the Scriptures daily, prayed to the living Redeemer in public and in private. For this the world has been his probation. Angels have been ministers to assist and console; evil spirits have been permitted to irritate and bring impurities to view; all things have been working together for good.

In the processes and events of daily life, deficiencies have been revealed, mourned over, and corrected; new-born virtues in the heavenly life have been strengthened and confirmed; the old man has been put off and the new man has been put on, until he can say, I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, henceforward there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness. This mental discipline, this conflict of the soul, this restoration of the spirit to harmony and order, this change of the sensual to the angelic in man is the work for which life is given, for which the Word is written, and for which the church and the world alike exist. Where it is accomplished, what noble, what gentle, what wise, what kindly, what useful, what beautiful characters we have! The angel shines through the mortal. Men and women already sit in heavenly places with Christ Jesus. Their conversation is in heaven. A heaven exists within, a heaven around them. They are men and women who suffer long and are kind, envy not, vaunt not themselves, are not puffed up, do not behave themselves unseemly, seek not their own, are not easily provoked, think no evil, rejoice not in iniquity, but rejoice in the truth. At peace with themselves, they diffuse peace around. Wherever they go is heaven; themselves are heaven. Whoever has not attained this stale, or is not in the way of its attainment, is not in a condition to be happy anywhere. He is at war within himself and must be fretful, uneasy, complaining, and wretched. He may cover his misery; he may defy it, but it is there. Nothing but the work of regeneration can change it. He who does not follow the pillar of a cloud and the pillar of fire through the wilderness cannot arrive at

Look at the contorted souls you see on all sides, where aged unregenerated men push on their daily lives! One has constantly fed his disorderly appetite, that has grown by what it fed upon, until he may be regarded as an embodied appetite, ever craving, and never satisfied.

The dread peculiarity of disorderly sensual appetite is, also, that the yearning for enjoyment increases, while the power of enjoyment fades. The husks of sense are still gasped after, bur they yield no delight. The morbid spirits longs on, but the palled sense pronounces all from Dan to Beersheba entirely barren. What fate can be more terrific than that, which must be the fixed result of every wasted lust, perpetual yearning, with perpetual failure, and perpetual desolation.

Like Tantalus, such a soul is ever thirsty, but never able to satisfy itself. Like Sysiphus, always rolling up the stone, but never reaching the top. The lust becomes monstrous by an absorption of the whole man, into its terrible ramifications; goads on to incessant crime, though the guilty indulgence has long lost all power to charm.

Another has devoted himself to some intellectual crotchet, some scientific conceit. He is incessantly restless with the wish to make all the world see the beauty of his whim, and becomes the terror of all who meet him, and who cringe from the indication of one whom painful experience has taught them, is socially a bore. He who will not become a freeman of the Lord, must become a slave of some disorderly propensity in himself. And although be becomes absorbed in his passion, his lust, or his delusion, and worships it day and night, others behold him as its victim, and are compelled to feel that a great and ever-widening gulf is separating him from the wise, the good, and the heavenly.

The angels, however, who have all come through much tribulation, have washed their robes and made them white in the Divine Wisdom, the Blood of the Lamb. They have dethroned their own idols, subdued their own evil propensities, and morbid hallucinations. They have denied themselves, takes up the cross and followed their Savior. They regard their faults as their great foes, and daily fight against them. Others may condemn their half-subdued failings a little, but they condemn them much. They see their shortcomings, and mourn over them continually until they are finally subdued, and a new heart and a right spirit unfold a little heaven within. They yearn after spiritual freedom, until the fetters of enslaving lusts have been broken, and they walk in the glorious liberty of the children of light. They strive, they agonize to enter in at the strait gate, until the shades of the letter open, and beholding the beauty and power of the spirit of religion they go in and find pasture. They prose on in the labor of life, to the mark of the prize of their high calling; sometimes in cloud, sometimes in sunshine, sometimes in thick darkness, sometimes in glory, sometimes in joy, sometimes in grief, always in patience, striving to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with his God, the disciple of the Lord Jesus grows up to the order of heaven. Then, what he believes, Ire speaks; what he loves, he does.

Time was when his spirit was weak, and his fleshly mind was strong. Now, he has washed again and again in the waters of the Word, the spiritual Jordan, and his flesh, like the flesh of Naaman, has come again like the flesh of a little child. Time was, when like Paul, he would say, What I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that I do; but now he can any, with John, I can do all things through Christ that strengtheneth me. Time was when he felt a delight in the law of God, after the inward man, but he saw also a law in his members warring against the law of his mind, and he felt impelled to exclaim, O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death! Such persons have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created them (Col. iii. 9, 10). Their wilderness has become like Eden, their desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness are found therein, thanksgiving and the voice of melody (Isaiah lxi. 3). Their little universe has been brought into order. The sun of love, and the moon of faith, and the bright stars of heavenly knowledge have come out, and now shed their glories in their spiritual firmament. Their spiritual earth blooms with beauty. Their souls have become like a watered garden (Isaiah lviii. 11), and the paradise within, makes a paradise around. In this internal world, there is necessarily peace and joy. They are like a little kingdom, where each subject faithfully and lovingly performs his part,--a palace where all is prosperity, order, and beauty. Their inner land is married. Mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Truth has sprung out of the earth, and righteousness hath looked down from heaven, and they have met and blended in the supreme regions of the soul, and diffused tranquillity and blessedness throughout. So live the angels, and so may we exist on earth.

To strive for this inner peace is the work of regeneration. No rest is possible while strong passions and strong convictions struggle with each other. Sinning and repenting make the alternate tossings of some men, checkering their lives with sensuality and remorse. Depraved as the will became by the fall, and by the continued perversity of the human race, the capacity of receiving truth remains.

The love of knowledge, the power of rational investigation, the inner disposition to perceive the right, remain and constitute the means by which the truth, as a saving power from the Lord, can make man free. But in the battles between truth and falsehood, between truth and evil, what poignant struggles surely come! The strong man often sins strongly, and suffers strongly. Conscience armed with remorseful condemnation, often whips with scorpions, the trespassers who have strayed from virtue, and in the wild whirl of delirious pleasure forgotten alike the voice of reason, of duty, and of God. As truth, united with love, however, accomplishes its holy victories in the soul, a harmony of its powers becomes more and more complete, and as the Christian steadily pursues his way, like Bunyan's pilgrim, he finds entrancing views, delightful fields, heavenly visitants, become more frequent; the vista opens more widely and discloses in richer loveliness, the heaven to which he goes. Now and then a short, sharp, terrible struggle must come, but his abiding state is one of holy faith, interior love, steady obedience, of calm tranquillity, and heartfelt joy. Like Israel, in the time of Solomon, there is peace over the whole land.

We now come to the third source of angelic joy, that is, the harmony of the mutual love, and the communion of angelic gifts and graces with each other.

Angels are men in lighter habit clad.

They are just men made perfect. Heaven is a home of happiness, because it is the home of the good. But goodness is not sameness. There are differences of talent, of gift, and of character with the good, as there are varieties in every other work of the Divine hand. Variety is one of the marks of infinity in the creation. No two trees are alike, probably no two leaves or blades of grass. No two faces are alike. In fact, it is not difficult to see that if we were to discover two things absolutely repetitions of each other it would argue the exhaustion of the Creator, since he had begun to repeat himself. Minds differ like faces. Precisely the same qualities, the same gifts, the same tone, the same temper, the same graces have probably never been possessed by two human beings, and never will. Amongst the regenerated, though all good, there will still be differences of excellence and grace, which will constitute a perpetual variety. The perfection of the world is a perfection of harmonizing parts; will it not be so in the eternal world?

The perfection of the body, is the perfection of varying but according members. It is the same in the body social, the body politic, the body artistic, and the same in the Church, which is the Lord's body. So says the Apostle, If the whole body were the eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members, every one of them in the body as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member where were the body? But now there are many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand I have no need of thee: nor, again, the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more, those members of the body which seem to be more feeble are necessary. Now, ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular (1 Cor. xii. 17-22, 27).

This harmony by variety, governs the future world undoubtedly, as it governs this. One star differeth from another star in glory, so also is the resurrection of the dead (1 Cor. xv. 51, 52). And, when we bear in mind that the apostles of the Lord, the germs of the future Church, differed from each other, its did the prophets of old, and look at the vast multitude of the good and the greet of all ages who will form the immense kingdom of our heavenly Father, can we conceive of an idea more full of sublimity and grandeur? There, with their affections expanded, deepened, and purified will be the saintly Johns, the Taylors, the Fletchers, the Fenelons, the Channings, of every dime and century. There, the Peters, the Augustins, the Luthers, the Baxters, and the Bunyans, with their gifts exalted, matured, and multiplied, by as much as spiritual excellence is superior to that of the body. There, the Handels, the Mozarts, the Purcells, the Clarkes, and those whose rapt souls have caught the airs of heaven and poured their inspirations forth, that men may emulate the anthems of the blest. There, the Michael Angelos, the Raphaels, the Wests, the Flaxmans, and those who with pencil or chisel have shaped grand thoughts on canvass or in marble, and from loving hearts, have formed with patient labor those things of beauty which are joys for ever.

Nor will the wondrous thinkers of the world be left behind. Those kings uncrowned, who, from the highest realms of holy thought, find principles which rule and mold the coming ages; these will, from loftier Horebs, hand celestial treasures down to bless their humbler brethren.

The men of holy eloquence too, whose burning thoughts, and glowing words, blest the Church; and those who stirred up nations for the right, and gained for freedom, law, and order, victories which defend the feeble and set labor free; who wrestle with corruption, and educe for suffering nations those laws under whose sacred shield all virtues flourish, and all crimes are checked, will not be wanting. Indeed, all the good, however great, however humble, their uses spiritualized, transformed to aims and purposes such as they best love to do, for brother and sister angels, will all be there, and all be active. Lazy angels are inconceivable. Heaven is a country, a world, not just one room (Heb. xi. 16). In our Fathers house there are many mansions (John xiv. 2); and there will be room and scope for all the countless multitudes of the happy.

But all will live in mutual love. Their land will be married. The good affections which loved the Lord here will be more seraphic there. Those who loved their neighbors as themselves here, and in all cases loved that truth and right which protects the happiness of all, will love them better than themselves in heaven. Here, then, is the third great charm of angelic existence. Each angel desires to give his graces, his talents, his all, to bless the others. Every other having a similar wish, the results, and must be, that end becomes, as far as possible, the receiver of the graces and the joys of all. Every fresh angel increases the bliss of all. The more angels, the more beauty; the more perfection, the more happiness. The perfection of the whole, coming from the perfection of every part, heaven will become more perfect and happy as the multitudes of its inhabitants increase. And, with mutual love, precisely the same law holds good on earth. Let each inhabitant of a town or district cultivate his faculties, bring out his latent powers, perfect himself with knowledge, reflection, and above all with diligence and perseverance in his duties. Then let him, with a loving, patient heart, do his particular part for the public good, and his path will be strewed with blessings. Let a single family do this. Let the aim of every member of a family, the parents, brothers, sisters, and servants in the house be animated with this spirit, and heaven will be there.

A home is, indeed, the earthly type of heaven.

There are the diversities of relation and talent, which serve to complete the circle of blessing; the father and the mother, not counterparts, but complements of each other; deep, manly thought and strong intelligence, clear perception and rational caution, distinguishing the one; gentle, patient, sympathizing, goodness, and pure, instinctive delicacy, distinguishing the other. The brothers, vigorous, buoyant, varied in their talents, and attainments, full of heartiness, hope, and energy, loving their sisters as beings all sacred, treasures of loveliness and purity; the sisters, confiding, neat, graceful, full of the love of the beautiful themselves, and esteem and admiration for the manly qualities of their brothers, touching their harder and more adventurous nature with a delicate tact that softens and nurtures it, blending force with considerateness, manliness and gentleness delightfully together.

See a family composed of these elements in ever-varying proportions: all ruled by love to the Lord. Each cares for the other. Each desires to add to the happiness of home. In the morning each awakes, grateful to the Father of mercies. Each bends a lowly knee to thank the giver of all good, and to ask Him for a blessing on the day. Each then thinks how to bless the others; how to do every duty so as to promote the felicity of all. The mother and sisters seek to make order and beauty visible in every room at home. The father and brothers bring home the ringing tone of hearty cheerfulness, some fresh acquisition of talent, some good-humored to story, some project of usefulness, some new book, something to show goodwill, each in his way, the sisters enjoying all, and responding in kind remark and welcome recognition; a perennial kindness flowing on every side, filled with delicate respect and mutual love. All this, based on love to the Savior, forms a Christian home, and is a heaven below. As for me and my house, said the great Jewish leader, we will serve the Lord; and this is the grand secret of happy homes. Let the several members of a family first serve the Lord, have continually a loving obedience in heart and mind to the God of Love, the God of heaven and earth, and they will be certain to seek the happiness of all around them. Then, the diversity of position, of duties, of talents, of inclinations, tempers, age and resources, will form a never-ending series of varying and returning enjoyments. Each member of such a family can say, The know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren (John iii. 14).

Each member of such a family is certain of sympathies, cares, and kindnesses, which are a continual comment on the declaration, It is not good for man to dwell alone. Is he sad? he is sure of considerate kindness and attention. Is he ill? the tenderest concern is felt, and speedy help secured. Is he weak, and unable for the moment to attend to necessary duties? another volunteers at once, and engages that nothing shall suffer. Is he languid and apathetic? some one throws in new life, brings a new book, starts a new plan, opens a new avenue for instruction or enjoyment, and changes the scene with ever-freshening pleasure and improvement, while, over all, religion spreads her sacred aegis, such wards off whatever would mar the feeling of true good will, the element in which they live.

Such is a family carrying out the Divine designs, and forming a truly happy home. And, what is a neighborhood, a city, but a larger family, with still greater differences of talent, and wider varieties of good, but with the same capabilities for harmony, reciprocal advantage, and unceasing interchange of use, of help, and of delight. What is a nation but a still larger family, with distinctions of genius, tastes, and habits, making it differ from other nations, but comprising in itself all the great affections and capabilities of the race; but with such varieties of grace, manner, and endowment, as to invest our common nature with new charms, unspeakably valuable as a member of the universal brotherhood? Nay, may me not conceive that the some law will hold good in worlds, and admit the probability that each planet, and not those of our solar system merely, but those attendant on the countless sons of the universe, may each be a varying member of the grand whole, furnishing to the eye of the Universal Parent, a variety of His children contributing graces, beauties, and excellencies, all-enriching, all-blessing, all-permeating with countless joy, that Fathers house in which there are many mansions?

This view lends directly to one delightful truth, that every new comer in heaven will increase the general joy. He brings with him a variety of being, of celestial or spiritual endowment and character unknown in heaven before. He adds to the particular felicity of some angelic society by the mercy of the Divine Arranger, whose order prevails in all things; some peculiar use and bliss, which enhances the general joy.

The new comer imparts new happiness to all, and receives blessings from all. Thus the more angels, the mole happiness. Heaven can never be filled to eternity, and must, therefore, have an everlasting increase of bliss. Mutual love in its very nature produces this. And their land shall be married.

In the out-going of the desire to make others happy in heaven, we may discern two great sources of bliss: the multiplication of mutual uses, graces, and joys, by the number of angels in each society, and the number of societies of heaven; but attended also with an inflowing from the Lord, of interior delight, in proportion to the out-going of the desire to bless. The more an angel purposes to bless, the more the Divine blessing flows in. Give, and it shall be given unto you, good measure, pressed down, and running over, said our Divine Savior to His disciples, and this law is perpetual and universal.

He who seeks to do good to another feels happy on earth; how much more so in heaven? There is blessing in the desire to bless. Let an individual intend some unselfish act, for individual or for general good, and he will find a sweet pleasure infused into him, like the kiss of the All-loving, which will be to him a token of Divine approval.

Such is the order of heaven, and such the heavenly state. The heavens are the abodes of happiness, because of the operations of the grand laws of happiness. Earth is not so, because of the defective adoption of these two holy principles. Religion with us is not the religion of life, the religion of true charity, the religion of union, the religion of mutual good; yet we expect to go to heaven, and to be happy there, if we end a selfish and contracted life by a few prayers; and a piteous pleading for the mercy of God.

God is always merciful. His tender mercies are over all His works. But no mercy can make a mass of selfish men happy. They are internally antagonistic; proud, revengeful, suspicious, and self-seeking. It is the minds of such men that make earth a battle-field, bitter parties unjust to each other in kingdoms, cities, religions, homes. The contracted souls which draw everything to their own circles and give nothing out, if possible, cannot make a happy society or a happy home.

And souls trained to this spirit, embedded in an atmosphere of sell and worldliness in all things, cannot be reversed in every thought and feeling by some pious wishes at last, which are indeed nothing better than selfish still; a hope for themselves, stripped of all their fond possessions, to gain what they have been given to understand are the imperishable riches and joys of eternity. It cannot be! It cannot be! Man takes himself with him.

He who has cared nothing for the happiness of others here, and made for himself a character incessantly grasping, will exhibit that character in the eternal world, but with greater virulence, because then, as untrammeled spirit, more vehement than when surrounded by material forms. He who has been sensual and depraved here, will be an unclean spirit hereafter. He who has burned with ambition to be the greatest here, will glow with impetuous desires, a thousand times more violent hereafter. The whole soul is possessed by the ruling love. Often this has been covered for a time in sickness and pain, but it is well known to observers that the ruling passion strong in death reappears in the hour of dissolution, as the last flash on the world of a gleam then quitting it for ever. Those who seek to become happy in heaven, must become heavenly. We must be born again.

The more we dislike the process, the more the absolute necessity to begin. If it is difficult now, it is evident our spirits have hardened into a contrariety to heavenly order, and are already fixing themselves into forms opposed to real happiness.

The limb that has recently been ill-set may, with comparative readiness, be restored to an orderly construction, but when it has fixed itself, and its whole surroundings have been long adjusted and settled to the deformity, to readjust it and rectify the malformation, is a difficult work indeed. So with human hearts and minds. When these have been contorted and depraved, when every fiber, its it were, has been warped to selfishness, worldliness, and sensuality,--when daily and nightly the aims and thoughts have been directed into sordid and sinful channels,--to unwarp them and bring them into harmony divine, and rearrange them to angelic order and beauty, is a difficult, and cannot be a transient, operation.

In health and freedom, while we have the opportunity of testing ourselves, of entering into conflict with our bad passions again and again, of repenting, and resolving, and working out our salvation with fear and trembling, ever looking in faith and obedience to the Divine Savior, who fights in us and for us, and forms His kingdom within its as we obey Him, then we shall really live and triumph, and find the truth of His divine words, My yoke is easy and my burden is light.

And to be heavenly, to live the life of heaven on earth, is a happy life.

To have the joys of a religion faithfully practiced--to have an interior communion with the Lord Jesus Christ in meditation, and secret as well as open prayer,--to have an adoring heart and good will to all mankind to be ready to serve others, and defer to others, to avoid those offensive angularities which destroy the comfort of society, to seek peace and pursue it--to do honestly our duty, and more than others would claim, and do it cheerfully and lovingly, this is the way to be blessed among men. No other life is for a moment to be compared to this. The man who pursues such a course, may not present any immoderate accumulations, but he will be among earths happiest inhabitants. He may be modest in his house and his possessions, but he will be contented, cheerful, genial, trustful. Such men are the salt of the earth. They do not provoke to envy by ostentatious display. They have not a large mansion, but no love--large estates, but no content,--large indulgences but no satisfaction. They diffuse a sweet peace around them, whether their station be among the great or the lowly. They are expected with pleasure. They are depended upon to help where assistance is needed. They are the genial supporters of every circle in which they move. They are the solid basis of society. In them, religion is seen diffusing justice, order, contentment, benevolence, and peace. And while they seek not advantages or happiness for themselves, these benefits come without seeking. They grow naturally on the virtues which the Savior has planted in their obedient souls, and silently, but surely, these virtues still bear their fruits in old age, and form a living paradise within and around them.

A society of such persons cannot be otherwise than happy. They show their fitness for a heavenly world, by making their home a heaven. They show their rapacity for being happy hereafter by being happy now.

There are difficulties in becoming true Christian, but difficulties far greater in not becoming such. It is, no doubt, a struggle to be good, but far greater struggles are insured by not being so. The struggles of a good man advance him to purity, and victory, and peace.

The struggles of a bad man, usher him to certain defeat at last. He is out of harmony with true nature. He must be sooner or later exhibited as an abortion in the universe. He wars against the laws of the Almighty, and whatever may be the appearances of the moment, he must sink to deeper and deeper mortifications, and at length to ruin and despair. It is an expensive and a bitter road by which men go down to death. On the contrary, mutual love, mutual sympathy, mutual help, sustained by a spirit of religion, softens sorrows, removes obstructions, increases and multiplies their means of comfort, makes content with a little, and makes that little more. Godliness has the promise of the world that now is, as well as that which is to come. He who, by destroying in himself the passions which disturb and desecrate the soul, and by daily religion lives here as the angels live in heaven--will find a preliminary heaven in this world. He will have eradicated the roots of a thousand sorrows which afflict society and give an unimpeachable testimony that this world, if brought under the laws of heaven, may also be the abode of angel-men,the abode of true and genuine virtue founded on love and faith, both directed to the Savior, and both acting as channels down which descend the strength which sustains in trouble, fortifies in weakness, purifies in youth and manhood, and blesses in old age.

They err, who deem loves brightest boor in blooming youth is flown,
Its purest, tenderest, holiest power in after-life is known.
When passions chastened and subdued to riper years are given,
And earth, and earthly things are viewed in light that breaks from heaven.

The last kind of union to which we would direct attention as existing in heaven is union between the inmost souls of the angels, and their surrounding circumstances. In this respect their land shall be married.

Nor must we forget that the marriage relation--that sweetest form of mutual love, where the motives for union have been the love of heavenly virtues in each other, is continued after death, and forms as it did here the sweetest source of mutual bliss. They, said our heavenly Master, whom God hath joined together are NO MORE twain but one flesh; whom God hath joined together in holy purposes, and holy thoughts, in daily sweet communion of heart and sentiment, in work and care, in worship and in airy; those that have in mental union so blended together, that no thought exists in one but has its companion thought in the other, no love but has its companion affection in him stronger, in her softer, in him firmer, in her more graceful--the bass and the treble of the whole being permeating each other.

This loveliest of the forms of mutual love is still more perfect in heaven than on earth. They are no more twain but one flesh.

This correspondence between the inhabitants of heaven and their circumstances, has a wide range and application. The want of it in this world has much to do with discomfort.

This is a world of trial,--a mixed world. Here we find things often much ajar. The necessities of inward purification sometimes require that troubles should be permitted to those who can bear them, which, though not flowing from their faults, may be useful for their eternal good. The highest suffered undeservedly, and it is enough that the disciple should be as his Master. Hence we find often virtue straitened and vice gorged with outward abundance. The princely mein often covers a very unprincely nature. Broad acres own a lord frequently, scarcely fit to be the companion of the stable-boy whom he hires. A poor creature is often the master of tens of thousands, whose soul, if measured by its sympathies, might indeed inhabit that pineal gland scarcely larger than a pea, once thought by purblind philosophers to be its probable abode. In fact, here we anomalies of all sorts. A great mind in a puny body. Virtue in rags, vice in royal mantles. Noble souls in narrow dwellings; mean spirits in splendid mansions. Great sympathies with little power to gratify them. The proud and impious strong, the gentle and the upright weak.

The rule, no doubt, is that sincerity, knowledge, skill, uprightness, care, and diligence, will win their way, and obtain their reward in the world as it is; and vice and folly tend to defeat their owners, and entail exposure, disgrace, and decrepitude. But the exceptions are so numerous that one often stands aghast at triumphant villainy, and shudders at the sufferings of lowly worth. Yet, no doubt, it is best that here and note, so the world should be. And the Judge of all the earth does and will do right. The discordances, however, we all feel to belong to a mixed and imperfect state of things. There are no doubt good reasons why the selfish, but energetic and enterprising man should become rich.

He will thus become useful to thousands by his fertile plans for self-aggrandizement, and promote the public good, although blind to his own best interests. There are reasons, we must admit, seen and adjudged good by the All-merciful Savior, who has all power in heaven and on earth, for the permission to harass the good who are able to become better, and give to virtue the sweet uses of adversity. The Lord loves all His children too well to permit them needless sorrow. We all deserve find we all require chastening. Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I have kept Thy Word, is true now as it was when the Psalmist spoke it. Patience alone does perfect work, and tribulation worketh patience, and patience hope.

The troubles, the mixed state of things, the struggles, the martyrdoms of the world have no doubt their grand objects to achieve. The soil in which high virtues grow must be refreshed and mellowed, doubtless by the boisterous winds and nipping frosts of mental winter. The crucible alone yields the pure gold tried in the fire.

All men feel however, that such a state of things is necessarily only temporary and transient. It is not fitting that virtue should always be oppressed, that vice should always be triumphant. It is not the true order of things, that goodness and disease, goodness and unloveliness, goodness and poverty, goodness and misery, should be perpetual companions. We intuitively feel that goodness and loveliness, goodness and comfort, goodness and outward prosperity should go together.

When our Lord speaks of those who had used their talents well, bring received into heaven, it is with these words of welcome salutation, Well done, good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.

We here rule over only a few things; in the heavenly world we rule over many things.

Take the body, for instance. We only partially rule over it. We receive such a body, with such health or sickness, strength or weakness, beauty or plainness, as the states of out parents, through whom the Creator formed us, enables us to have. We have since contributed to our original health, or lessened it according as we have lived, according to the laws of health or the reverse. In mature life we govern this matter more fully, but still not entirely.

We have our original defects of constitution to work with; we have the unfavorable circumstances of our position to contend against; the bad regulations of society; the frauds and adulterations of food to sustain. These we cannot in many respects control. These things affect our health, our comfort, such our comeliness. We rule in this respect over a few things, but not entirely. But in the spirit-world this is entirely changed. The soul has a body as it has pleased our heavenly Father. God giveth it a body as it hath pleased Him, and to every seed his own body (1 Cor. xv. 38).

Important truth, witnessed by experience. In the soul of the true Christian, now, goodness and beauty go together. There is something in goodness, which sheds an agreeable tone over the plainest features, while goodness and lovely features approach the angel form upon earth.

The aged Christian is a beautiful being. The sweet, placid benevolence that rests upon the brow, and beams in the eye, the silvery locks, and pure expression of the whole face and demeanor, are redolent of beauty, and radiate from the angelic form within. God giveth it a body as it hath pleased Him. Not an independent body, but to every seed his own body. If our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, said the apostle in another place, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens (2 Cor. v. 1). The earthly house is the earthly body. We have now a heavenly house, a celestial body. True, it is covered at present by the earthly tabernacle, but it is within, and far more properly our own body than that which shall shortly be put away. The ruling love, and the mind, are all in all in the spiritual body. When, therefore, the work of regeneration is completed, the earthly form is put away, and man appears in the eternal world; the soul stands forth an angel amongst angels. The Divine Being is the Infinitely Beautiful; angels are beautiful, as they are likenesses of Him, in a higher or lower degree. Their purified affections rule over everything in their forms. Innocence, goodness, purity, order, reign within them and around them.

The angel, who showed John the things he saw, was one of the prophets, but so majestic and lovely was he that John fell at his feet to worship him, and was only restrained by the change of the angel, See thou do it not, worship God.

This conception of the angelic principles, forming the angelic body, leads to a thousand suggestive ideas. Many are the imperfections of the good here, because of their bodily defects in organization. A joyous, grateful, and harmonious heart here cannot do justice to its feelings, because the organization is so imperfect as to forbid the concord of sweet sounds. The music of the heart is there; but not the music of the voice. In the spiritual body it will not be so. The body being as the soul, and being, indeed, the soul itself as to its form, what the soul wishes, the body can realize, as we can do here in thought, but not in act.

Let us, then, conceive a world of just ones made perfect, each in his kind of perfection. The myriads of glorious ones, all forms of love and charity; not a hypocrite, not a vicious one, not an ugly one amongst them. What the good soul wishes is there expressed, having a body capable of giving it expression. Can anything be conceived more glorious, more magnificent? The whole blooming in perpetual youth, glowing with the beauty and purity of goodness, each with especial graces, talents, and perfections, all in harmony, and all filled with an adoring love of the Lord. Such is the first result of the great truth, that the spirit and its circumstances are in union in heaven. They rule not over few, but over many things; their land is married. They have entered into the joy of their Lord.

The dress of the angels is another circumstance in which their inward state rules everything. Speech is the clothing of thought, thought is the clothing of affection. The deep affections of our spiritual being, when we would shew them to others, necessarily clothe themselves with ideas and sentiments, which, if true, are like spiritual garments, and, in the spiritual world, appear as garments, with varied degrees of brightness, beauty, and color, according to their nature and slate. On this principle, much of what we find in Scripture respecting clothing is written. Glowing affections give forth burning thoughts, and, if we could see the spirit clothed with them, they would appear ruddy with the gleams of unconsuming fire. The angel whom Daniel saw was clothed, it is said, in linen, and his body was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his feet like in color to polished brass (Dan. x. 6).

Of the angel that descended to remove the stone from the Lord's sepulcher, it is said, his countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow (Matt. xxviii. 3), The two angels within the sepulcher were clothed in shining garments. The great multitude which no man could number, who stood before the throne and before the Lamb, were clothed in white robes, and had palms in their hands (Rev. vii. 9).

Souls are indeed clothed here. The truths we receive are woven into coverings genuine or hypocritical, as the case may be. And it is extremely interesting to observe the numerous notices in Scripture of that spiritual foot, and of precepts founded upon it. I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God: for He hath clothed me in the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness; as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with jewels (Isa. lxi. 10). I counsel thee to buy of me fine gold, that thou mayest be rich, and white raiment that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear, and anoint thine eyes with eye salve that thou mayest see (Rev. iii. 18). Thou hast a few names in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall walk with me in white raiment (Rev. iii. 4, 6).

These references manifestly relate to the coverings of the soul which exist when truth performs for it the same offices which garments do for the body. Garments preserve the body from undue cold, and generally from the bad effects of ungenial weather. Religion duly fitted to a mans mental and spiritual requirements performs a similar kind of office for his soul. It shields him from the keen chills of withering selfishness, and from the hot blast of sensual excitement. It serves him as an adornment in the day-time, and as a covering in which he can wrap himself, and rest in peace during the states of mental night.

The laws respecting dress among the Israelites were numerous, and curious, but most important and interesting when applied to the dress of the soul. The wedding garment which was wanting to him who was rejected from the heavenly feast, and who was commanded to be cast into outer darkness (Matt. xxii. 11), was the symbol of religious sentiments in which faith and love are united together, and word and work go hand in hand.

The man had it not, and therefore could not remain. No faith alone can endure the presence of the heart-searching Redeemer. We must have the charity which blesses, as well as the faith which illuminates our garment; if not like those of the angels, we cannot remain in their company. The best robe which was ordered to be brought forth for the returning prodigal is that robe of righteous thought arising from holy motive, by which the pilgrim to heaven clothes himself when he purposes to walk worthy of his high calling; and both in the gentle sentiments which breathe goodwill to all, and in the daily doings which form his constant duty, he exemplifies his profession by a Christian life, even to the simplest acts of ordinary routine,--the shoes upon his feet.

Affections cannot manifest themselves of themselves; they clothe themselves with thoughts, and most beautiful and graceful are the forms that pure and heavenly affections take; some are like wrought gold (Ps. xlv. 13). These are the sentiments of those who breathe loving-kindness in all they do. They are the seraphs of the Christian life and of heaven. Some are bright like silver; these are they whose sentiments glitter and sparkle with spiritual intelligence. They are the cherubs among the servants of the Savior. Some have garments less exalted, but true and pure. They fire clothed in fine linen, clean and white, and the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints. There is variety in this. Every robe is exactly fitted to its owner, and precisely expresses both the measure and the colors of the inward spirit of the wearer. In outward things, often we cannot entirely govern the dress we would have on. Poverty may prevent it, fashion and custom may also overrule our wishes to a great extent. We rule here over few things, but in the eternal world we overrule many things. The souls clothing will be precisely what the soul itself is; it will express the utterance of its genuine, purest sentiments, the glow of its holiest aspirations, its thoughts as they are, all befitting its heavenly teaching, and all derived from the Divine Truth itself. They love what is pure, they think what is pure, they speak what is pure, and there is no constraint.

Such is the inward ground or principle upon which the angelic dress exists, and probably forms the secret tastes and bias which induce us to prefer certain shapes, colors, and varieties of dress in this world; and which has its deep source in the nature and tone of our spiritual states.

Certain it is, that whenever you see an individual oddly dressed, you will learn on a nearer acquaintance that his mind is as odd as himself; while on the other hand, a chaste and modest spirit is distinguished by a tendency to a neat and quiet dress. Here, however, where hypocrisy can are the purities it never possessed, and the wolf can appear in sheep's clothing, dress is far from being an infallible guide to character; but in the eternal world in this respect, there is nothing hidden, but what will be revealed, and the clothing, like the person, will be the true outbirth, and manifestation of the soul which it covers and adorns. The beautiful dress will be the expression of a beautiful mind, and the innumerable varieties of mental state, tone, and temper in angelic minds will rise to corresponding innumerable varieties in the spiritual beauties of heavenly clothing. The same law will govern the houses, and in our Fathers house there are many mansions. In the midst of the street (of the city which John saw) and on each side of the river was there the tree of life (Rev. xxiii. 2). The heavenly land is a country having houses, cities, hills, mountains, and plains, with every variety of beautiful scenery, far more magnificent than the world has, but all spiritual, and all governed by the states of the inhabitants. Such as the angels are, such are their mansions, such their cities, their paradises, and the entire scenery. All is in harmony within and without.

The Scriptures often unfold to us heavenly scenes, and they all proceed upon the law of correspondence or perfect harmony between the spirits, both of the good and the bad, and their surroundings. It is wonderful how a material philosophy has blinded even the readers of the Scriptures, until they imagine there is nothing in the sacred pages concerning the spiritual world. Notices of that world, its inhabitants, its scenes, and circumstances, form an ever-recurring underground of Holy Writ, which comes to view from time to time in most marked distinctness.

The nearness of angels is taught in direct declaration, and their appearance described on frequently-occurring occasions. The mode in which spiritual things become visible is at times intimated, and, we may almost say, explained. The eyes of a mans spirit are opened, and he sees what was all unseen before.

When Elisha and his servant were alone on the top of a mountain, and seeing the Syrian host coming, the servant was afraid, the prophet not only said to him, Fear not, for they that be with us are more than they that be with them, but he prayed and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man and he saw, and behold the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha (2 Kings vi. 16, 17).

Horses and chariots of fire are the symbols of the states of the angelic guardians, all aglow with that love which is celestial fire, and progressive ever, even in their angel world, as with horses and chariots. The old name for prophet was seer (1 Sam. ix. 9); and we may say of almost all the prophets, they were emphatically seers. Micaiah saw, he says, the Lord sitting on a throne, and the host of heaven standing by Him on His right hand, and on His left (1 Kings xxii. 19). Isaiah saw a vision, which he describes through the sixth chapter. Ezekiel commences with the assurance that heaven was opened to him, and he saw visions of God. Daniel, Zechariah, and lastly, John, equally declare they saw--saw, not dreamed of--the scenes of the spiritual world, which they, especially John, so largely describe. The eyes of their spiritual bodies were opened for the time (there is a natural body and there is a spiritual body), and they saw what exists at all times, near and around us, but is usually veiled, and providentially veiled from our view.

Experience in all ages and at all times has supplied innumerable instances of spiritual sight, especially on the approach of death; and for the comfort of the dying, unhappily, open intercourse is not safe, except by special guardianship of Divine Providence, and hence is not ordinarily permitted; but nevertheless, the angels of the Lord do encamp round them that fear Him. Are they not all ministering spirits sent Forth to minister to them that shall be heirs of salvation?

We would dwell a little further upon the great fundamental law of the heavenly world--the law of correspondence between the spirit and its surroundings in its varied ramifications--because of its being the great law the Scriptures disclose as the groundwork of the celestial scenes they unfold. It is not only the most universal, but the most perfect of laws.

If we consider the possibilities of the case, we shall see they resolve themselves into three. In any state of a society the circumstances around the inhabitants must be either worse or better than the states of their minds deserve, or they must precisely correspond with them.

The state of things in a society, when circumstances are worse than the minds of the inhabitants deserve, is that piety and virtue exist in companionship with straitness, disease, and misery. Though such is not the normal nor necessary state of things, yet for wise purposes we see it does sometimes exist. Our Lord was poor, and was crucified, though He was virtue itself. The truly good are not exempt from misfortunes, and sometimes bitter trials, even because of their faith, and because of their goodness. Joseph in prison, Daniel in the den of lions, and other instances which are furnished alike by history and by daily life, abundantly prove this. But evidently such is not the perfect order of society. Our whole nature revolts from sanctioning undeserved suffering. We long to see virtue triumph; and injustice defeated. We delight to see the innocent made happy, and downtrodden righteousness exalted. By all these noble impulses of our better nature, then--and the truer we are to heaven, the more do we protest against undeserved sorrow to the good--we recognize the truth that in heaven it can never he that the angels live in circumstances unbefitting the purity, the innocence, the wisdom, and the love which they have attained From the Lord by regeneration in the world. They must rule over these things. Inequality and injustice must not endure for ever. Their land must be married.

Take the other hypotheses--a society, where the circumstances are better than the states of the inhabitants. This is evidently not a true and proper condition of things. What are the beauties of taste to one who has no taste for them? What is a splendid mansion, a magnificent park, to one whose mind is gloomy, narrow, and depraved? Daily experience shews that there must be a peaceful mind, or no outward prospect pleases. A jaundiced soul will throw a pall over all that is beautiful without, and throw the shroud of its misery over the most glorious scenes of earth. Far better a cottage and content, than a lordly palace where it is but misery in purple. Guilt or stupidity masquerading in scenes and circumstances for which they are unfitted, can have no real enjoyment. The land must be married, or there will be no marriage feast.

There only remains the third condition of things, which must therefore be the one which exists in heaven--that is the outward circumstances and the inward states of the inhabitants exactly answering to each other--that is, inward purity and outward purity, inward beauty and outward beauty, inward prosperity and outward prosperity, inward charms in ever-varying loveliness, and all filled with the spirit of innocence such peace, and this developing itself in the riches of external magnificence, robed in charms which reflect every moment the graces which reign within, and the glory of the great Architect of the universe, from whom all these perfections are derived, which compose both the heaven within and the heaven around.

Is there a home for every golden affection of celestial love--that fine gold of which the Savior speaks--and for those pearly thoughts as clear as crystal, in the hearts of the angels? Their mansions sin appear resplendent with gold, and enriched with precious stones of hues surpassing earthly splendor.

Is there a paradise within of glorious perceptions of countless truths, which grew up from the seed of the Word of God, so that their souls are like a watered garden? (Isa. lviii. 11.) All around them will be seen a paradise of trees of the Lord, trees of life, flowers of fragrance and of loveliness beyond what earth has knownall things good and fair, and yielding to the inhabitants, through whom they are formed, unceasing illustrations of inward beauty and eternal love.

Does their righteousness flow like a river, and their peace like the waves of the sea? (Isa. xlviii. 18.) So will there be rivers of the water of life flowing through the celestial cities, proceeding from the throne of God and the Lamb.

In fine, all the circumstances of the heavenly world, governed by this law, must he most perfectly just, and most perfectly calculated to make the blessed happy; while over all the heavens the Sun of Righteousness pours His love and wisdom as heat and light, filled with happiness, giving not only glory, but blessing. The Lord is their everlasting light, and the days of their mourning are ended.

And lo! what wonders there are found!
What beauteous objects glow around,
Where heavens bright mansions rise!
All that can fill the raptured sense
Unite pure pleasures to dispense
Mid scenes of Paradise.

But, whence are these? They all express
Is outward from the holiness
That lives within the soul:
Each beauteous object fitly shews
Some heavenly grace the Lord bestows,
Whose presence fills the whole?

On the other hand, the operation of the same great law, in and through wicked souls, must produce around them scenes of honor inexpressible. Their inner darkness, their inner hate and madness, their inner impurity, their inner false and strange monstrosities of thought and Imagination, their wretched fancies, must, from the operation of the law by which principles within produce themselves in corresponding forms without and around, necessarily result in the hideous scenes of hell. Let the wicked look within at the chambers of imagery already formed there, and beware and repent.

We turn, however, from this sad subject to notice that, in reality, the law of correspondences is in manifest operation in this world, though its revelations here are mixed and moderated; for man himself here is in a mixed and moderated state. Society, in all its forms, institutions, arrangements, business, and buildings, is the product of the minds that have composed it and do compose it. The world around is from the world within.

If the world around is false, flimsy and ugly, it must be because the world of mind from which it came is so. Whatever there is which is solid, good, substantial, beneficial, and beautiful, must have come from minds who have received good gifts from the Lord, and brought them out into forms thus noble and good.

In every town, and it is especially noticeable in every large town, while the great bulk of it is tolerably orderly, good-looking, clean, and neat, indicative of the corresponding states of the people, in whom the love of outward order at least prevails to a moderate extent, there are quarters where high degrees of beauty and purity are to be found; and, on the other hand, there are quarters where the low, the lazy, the impure, herd in squalid misery, disorder, and filth.

On both sides there are exceptions to the general state. In beautiful mansions the most unworthy people will occasionally be found; and in the lowest haunts of poverty and misery will the needy but virtuous poor, overwhelmed with misfortune, be for a time compelled to live.

The exceptions also will speedily make themselves appear by the visible signs of difference they will manifest from the general rule.

With these allowances each town presents strong indications of heavens and hells. Religion, wisdom, and virtue turn homes and neighborhoods into heavens. Irreligion, impurity, injustice, and folly make hells upon earth. Oh! that men would daily lay these truths to heart. Oh! that each individual would suffer the voice of the Almighty to be heard within him today and every day, as it was heard of old Adam, where art thou? Oh! that the wicked man, whose spirit has already clothed him with defilement and sorrow, would make a grand stand for life, remembering that the great Savior is at the door of his soul, and waits to be admitted that He may save him, and turn his hell to heaven. Let any seek His help, and He will not fail to overthrow self and sin in all their varied forms, and bring forth judgment unto victory. Let no one despair. Let no one halt. Let no one be discouraged. Let no one feel his mountain too great to be removed. Let him have faith in the Lord Jesus, and work in shunning evil and doing good, and soon the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain. Oh! it is so pleasant, as well as so beautiful, to live the life of heaven upon earth, that one would think it would charm every heart. The commencement of goodness in the commencement of happiness. The very thought of living for heaven throws a gleam of sunshine over the soul long since forlorn. When the penitent seeks earnestly his heavenly Father--and he is ever to be found in our blessed Lord, who said, He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father--while he is yet very far off, the Father sees him, and runs and falls upon his neck and kisses him. The Divine benediction assures him of protection, and encourages him to persevere. Then, as he proceeds, new comforts grow around him; he gains for earth as well as for heaven.

There are few who do not love virtue in others, however much they may neglect it in themselves. The truly good man, be he rich or poor, acquires character, credit, and respect. He cuts off the waste which formerly held him down; and now as he proceeds in his career of inward growth in wisdom, goodness, and beauty, he will also produce around him all things that indicate neatness, order, purity, loveliness.

New tastes will arise, and possibly new talents show themselves, His home will be his dearest spot, and he will love to adorn it. The poor mans cottage, with such a spirit, will become a heaven upon earth.

Once, during the period when Robert Owen was blowing his bubble with the greatest energy, striving to persuade men that happiness was to be attained by the organization of men, good or bad, from without instead of by regeneration from within, I was walking in a rural district of the North of England. I knew by report that a silk weaver, one who acted upon the principles of this discourse, lived in that neighborhood, and I determined to seek him out. There was not much difficulty in doing so. I was soon directed to the spot, and found it a cottage in a garden. It was in June, and the first thing that struck me was the small garden, probably not more than twelve yards by ten, but all full of flowers in rich variety and ranged in order, one mass of bloom, nod perfuming the sir with fragrance. When the door was opened, I was recognized and welcomed. The father, mother, and several daughters were there. The place where their looms mere was close at hand, and in the house and in the work-place there was a wonderful neatness, so complete that the table was scarcely cleaner than the floor. The furniture was sufficient, and, where possible, highly polished. The walls were adorned with framed needle-work, evidently done by the daughters. We sat down, and I was soon made welcome to refreshment. Cheerful conversation followed. The weaver and his family took part freely in a manner which showed great intelligence on subjects relating both to earth and heaven. Then followed music, the father with one instrument, one of the daughters with another--a small organ--and a number of hymns were sung, with thoughtful and cheerful conversation on each. We then prayed together; and as I went away, I felt that HERE WAS THE TRUE SOCIAL SYSTEM. I took leave of the weavers home with a deep and earnest wish--and one which I trust will one day be realized--that every cottage home in England and the world might be like this. A Christian home, however humble, is a heaven upon earth.

The same principles in every grade of society will introduce blessing into all. Righteousness exalteth a nation. Let the principles which form heaven, and which must be had ere heaven can be, only be introduced into our particular portion of earth.

Let us pray each morning to be enabled that day to do the Savior's will. Let us strive each to do right to all, and make all amongst whom we move, as far as possible, happy; and around us and throughout our circles will be seen the sign of the Lord's will being done on earth as it is done in heaven. Soon may it be said of us, Thou shalt no longer be termed forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed desolate; but thou shalt be called Hephzibah (my delight is in her), and thy land Beulah (married); for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.

Author: Jonathan Bayley---Twelve Discourses (1862)

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