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Verses on the Christian Temper, go.
May graces resplendent as those of the stone,
But should you offend, and for sin be heart-broken,
Christ's love has no limit-then give him thy heart,
(Sent by K.)
ON THE CHRISTIAN TEMPER AND VIRTUES, FROM THE EXAMPLE
OF OUR BLESSED SAVIOUR.
SERVANTS of one not less than God,
Though soon t ascend thy heavenly seat,
Fountain of mercy! whose pure streams
REMARKS ON THE LETTERS ENTITLED “ THE
HAPPINESS OF HEAVEN.”
Finding that you often answer the questions of your correspondents, and feeling sure that you are able as well as willing to instruct the ignorant and uninformed, I should be glad if you will tell me if I am wrong in allowing the thoughts which have filled my mind ever since I read your pages on the happiness of heaven ?The truth of what they contain seems to be so completely proved by the authority of Scripture, that I am sorry to say they have had the effect of making me feel less happy than I did, before I read them. My years are nearly at a close ; and though I know how very sinful many of them must have appeared in the eyes of God, I have hitherto humbly hoped to find Remarks on the Letters, fc. 221 forgiveness for the sake of my Saviour; and my comfort, through life, has been the prospect of obtaining by his death and my own earnest endeavours the happiness of heaven. But that hope is now shaken ; it seems to me as if every pleasure I have enjoyed, and every action I have performed, except my religious duties, had been such as to unfit me for that holy place. I know that the Bible says I am to use the world and not abuse it, but there is scarcely one worldly pursuit or occupation, except that of doing good, which is not in opposition to all that the aforesaid letters describe as our delight in heaven. I know that to please God I must do many things contrary to my own corrupt will, and refrain from many things to which nature inclines me; but it now appears to me that such a constant selfdenial is necessary in our conduct while on earth, as must destroy the enjoyment arising from those gratifications which I have hitherto considered permitted and innocent. And if it be right to do our duty in the state of life in which it has pleased God to place us, how many thousands are there who with the desire, have not the power of passing their days in such a manner as to fit them for the enjoyment of heaven. I fear I must have mistaken the entire meaning of this subject, for it could not be the intention of the letter writer to raise these doubts; and as there may be others who feel as I do, if you will point out how I have erred, and set me right, it will very much oblige,
Will the following remarks bear upon the question of our correspondent ?
The Scriptures teach us to look upon this life as a state of preparation for an eternal world. Now the
character and conduct of a man will differ greatly according to the view he takes of the true connection there is betwixt this world and the next. Some persons, without professing to compare the importance of time with that of eternity, still seem to act as if they were created for this world, knowing that God strongly shews the necessity of a regard to his laws as the rule which is to guide them, knowing too that he will reward with eternal happiness those who study to obey his laws--and that he will dreadfully punish those who break them. Now all this is certainly according to Scripture; and all that is written in Scripture is written that we may profit by it. When, therefore, we find a man who is watchful over his conduct,--desirous of doing what is right, and of avoiding what is wrong, we may well rejoice that there is this desire,--and may earnestly wish that the number of such persons was far greater than it is. But this view, I think, takes in but a small portion of the great scheme of the religion of Christ. It makes too much of this world, and too little of the next :-for the general tenor of Scripture teaches us to look upon the next world as our home, and this as a preparation for it,--that we are only travellers on a journey here,- strangers and pilgrims upon earth," and that “ we seek a better country:"they teach us to look forward to an “inheritance" hereafter, and that we are placed here to prepare for it, that we may be fit, or 6 meet to be partakers" of that “ inheritance." And though the Scriptures do not precisely declare what will be the state of the blessed hereafter, they shew us enough to convince us that a great part of the happiness of that state will consist in the exercise of the devout feelings,-of giving praise and glory to God. These feelings then ought to be cultivated upon earth,--and this is a great part of our preparation for heaven. Those, therefore, who most delight in the service of God here,—who are most anxious to see the name of God and the praise of God spreading through the world, and influencing
d this as a pourney here, seek a better
Remarks on the Letters, de 223 their own hearts, will be most qualified to enjoy the blessedness of that world from which sin will be banished, and where we shall see and know that all the ways of God are right, and shall rejoice in praising him for all his goodness. There must be a decided connection between this world and the next, in the mind of a true Christian,-he desires that God's“ kingdom may come:"—and the very desire of being a subject of God's kingdom hereafter implies a wish to be a subject of God's kingdom upon earth. In the many mansions of eternal glory, we must expect that those who have “ loved most” here, will be the most exalted hereafter,--and this is a constant motive for every servant of God to seek to make a progress in holiness, and to increase in love to God, and man, or, as the Scriptures express it, to “ grow in grace.” Many persons, however, will say, that they cannot judge whether this progress is going on or not,—that they sometimes feel that they are making a religious progress, -and frequently, on the other hand, fear that all is going ill with them. It is not, however, safe to judge by our feelings at all; for, though, on a subject in which the mind ought to be so deeply interested aş on that of religion, it cannot be expected that the feelings of a religious man can be unmoved; yet, as the natural feelings of different men so greatly vary,--and even of the same man at different times the state of the feelings is no sure test of a man's spiritual state. “If ye love me,” says our Lord, " keep my commandments.” If then there be this desire,-if there be an earnest endeavour to resist every temptation to sin, and to pursue a course of Christian obedience, the Scriptures give every encouragement to our hopes of happiness hereafter :--and there is in such a course, generally, much joy and comfort here.--Now, to lead us to this state, the Scriptures hold out many motives, sometimes deterring us from sin by threats of punishment, and sometimes inviting us to obedience by promises of future happiness ;-and we are not to