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bation ; but only blow up into a flame the
a embers he finds ready kindling to his wish, It is therefore impossible to conceive that he should be able, or should attempt to renew his deceptions upon the raised saints themselves, actually reigning with Christ on earth; or even upon mankind living with such associates and monitors, and being themselves in a state approaching nearly to perfection in faith and holiness. *
By the saints being raised to life, we must therefore understand the frequency of examples such as theirs were ; and by the rest of the dead not living again, we may conceive that profligacy of manners, or profaneness and infidelity in opinion, and superstition, hypocrisy and fanaticism in religion, will be so
* The idea of the first resurrection being real must be given up,
for three strong reasons. First, it is inconsistent with the usual proceedings of God, and his promised rewards to the faith ful, of an eternal and heavenly, not an earthly, and temporary, and precarious Paradise Second, inconsistent with his end of plaeing man on the earth, in a probationary state only. Third, in onsistent with the idea of an almost general defection, which, under the circumstances supposed, can hardly be conceived,
little prevalent, and have so circumscribed an influence, that it
be said in the language of prophecy) they have no footing or exista ence amongst nen. Happy and blessed indeed then may he be pronounced, who shall live in such times of rest from sin and trouble, and when the whole earth shall (for many centuries) be but one temple, and all nations, with united sentiments of religion and brotherly love towards each other, shall render praise to God and the Lamb, and “the kinge doms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ.'
The millenary believers may
be pronounced happy in
of the universal and uninterrupted both inward and outward peace and security, and happiness, which a life conducted by faith, and under the influence of abounding grace, in a state of society so greatly improved, cannot fail to yield. In the present every way unfavorable state of things, a life regulated by no other rules but the wise and wholesome precepts of the gospel, rarely fails of happiness. “ The work of righteousness
sball be peace, and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. It will obtain " the peace of God, which passeth all consolation,” But under a state of things so
. highly propitious to good and sincere minds, the effect will be greatly increased, and be infallible; because all men will be alike sincere and friendly, “walking by faith and not by sight. And the insolence of wealthy or of fanatical pride, will be banished from society, with the false ideas of superiority which gave birth to it; and the interested craftiness of evil men lying in wait to deceive, will be no longer an object of incessant dread and caution.
It will be no small addition to the happiness of this state, (the type of heaven,) that by reason of these great advantages in favor of righteousness, and the withdrawing of the great incitements to sin, which the binding of Satan seems to imply, the danger of falling away from that secure course of well doing, and of coming short of the glory of God in an eter
* Tsai, xxxii. 17.
be cast away.
nity of future blessedness, will be considerably lessened. We now “hold this great treasure of our hope in earthen vessels," * and in the midst of the most anxious incertitude of the final event; lest after all our painful striving in the main, yet by some unfortunate lapse before the victory is won, we ourselves should
When we thus think of the stake at issue, we hold on our course with painful apprehensions, “ working out our salvation with fear and trembling, and with continual watchfulness and difficulty we are scarcely able to “keep our loins girded and our lights burning.” Thus we proceed towards the goal of death that awaits us, passing through a vale of tears, and hardly stem the impetuous floods of ungodliness, which threaten to overwhelm our frail bark in everlasting night.
The greatest saints have ever been free to confess the painful weight of those apprehensions of the mind, that is seriously impressed with a sense of religion. “Why abborrest thou
* 2. Cor. iv. 7.
my soul, (says David) and bidest thou thy face from me ? Even from my youth up thy terrors have I suffered with a troubled mind, and the fear of thee hath undone me.” But as the dangers incident to our probationary state, will then be reduced in number and lessened in power, so will the sorrows be that can possibly arise from that or any other source. Christ will wipe away all tears from their eyes, , and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. “And the kingdom and dominion and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the saints of the Most High ; whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.'
(Dan. vii. 27.)