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few things, I will: make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” This leads to consider
III. THE PROMISED REWARD.
The man who endures temptation is abundantiy blessed in the present world; but shall be much more so in that which is to come. When he is fully proved, he shall receive the crown of life. The crown of life denotes complete victory, and permanent glory. Earthly crowns, however bright, must fade, and those who wear them must die; but the crown of life fadeth not away, and he who wears it is immortal. This crown denotes not only victory and glory, but also all that blessedness which will crown existence in a future state. There every conquering saint shall be blessed with the glorious presence of God and the Lamb; the society of angels and the spirits of just men made perfect; and such employments as shall be calculated to afford the most exquisite and refined pleasures. We are at a loss, indeed, either to express, or even to conceive the glories and blessedness of that world, but we may be certain that they imply a freedom from all evil; an enjoyment of all good; and endless duration. The inhabitants “are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his tem
ple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them to fountains of living water: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." The rest we may leave to God, who will make known all we can desire to know, when he has found us faithful unto death. We shall then fully prove that the glory of crowns, the splendour of courts, and all the unsanctified pleasures of tho rich and great, are not worthy to be sought by the candidates of heaven.
The good man will receive the crown of life immediately after death; for then he is fully proved, and his probationary state comes to an end. Lazarus died, and was immediately conducted to Abraham's bosom. The penitent thief, on the cross, was admitted into paradise on the very day he died. And the apostle Paul expected, when absent from the body, to be present with the Lord. But it will not be till the resurrection of the dead, that God will give all the glory and happiness which he has prepared for his saints: it is not, there.fore, an improbable opinion, that those who, are now in glory, are looking forward, with pleasing hope, for the full accomplishment of those promises which relate to that glorious event. Then death shall be sucallowed up in victory, and Christ will triumph over all his enemies.
The crown is promised to all who love God. Love to God produces obedience, and obedience will be rewarded. Love to God is a most powerful principle in the heart of a believer. Its influence extends to every thought, word, and work. If love war, cold, all the other graces wither and die ; but if it continue to burn, they grow and flourish.
God has promised, the crown of life, and his promise cannot fail. Heaven and earth must pass away, but his word cannot pass away Saints may depend upon his word, without either doubt or fear. He has promised, and he will bring it to pass. Commit your souls to' him in well doing Carefully imitate Moses, who ,“ chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; for he had respect unto the recompense of reward."
“ Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless
efore the presence of his glory, with exceeding joy, to the only wise God, our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now
both now and evermore." Amen.
A Caution against Idolatry:
1 JOHN v. 21.
IDOLATRY is a sin which cannot pass unpunished. It has been the reproach of human nature, and the ruin of all who have lived and died under its influence. In nations professing pure christianity, there is no danger of that gross idolatry which has been practiced by the heathen nations; but there is great danger of a more refined, but not less sinful, idolatry. In the sight' of God a man may be an idolater who never bowed down to an idol. Let us, then, seriously regard the advice of the venerable apostle John, to his young converts : "Little children keep yourselves from idols.”
Let us, first, make a few general remarks upon Idolatry; and, secondly, urge the caution contained in our text.
I. GENERAL REMARKS UPON IDOLATRY.
1. Gross idotatry is that superstitious worship which men pay to idols or false gods. There is a living and true God who made, preserves, and blesses man, and whom he is bound to worship in spirit and in truth; but having forgotten, and departed from the living and true God, foolish man has turned his attention to idols, and has paid those honours to them which are only due to his maker, preserver, and benefactor. When this gross idolatry first began to be
practiced cannot be determined; but it appears to have been ancient, having spread far and wide when God called Abraham to leave his native country. What gave rise to it is uncertain Heroes, perhaps, and men who had been signally useful in their lifetime, might, after death, become the first objects of idolatrous worship. A supposition that the spirits of those departed heroes and benefactors of mankind resided in the bright luminaries of heaven, might be the first step towards the worship of the heavenly bodies. The heavens not being always visible, might suggest the propriety of making such images for worship as would best represent those absent luminaries: Hence were made god's of gold and silver, of wood and stone. In
process of time it was conjectured that almost every thing in nature had its peculiar god, and that man should pay homage to all the gods, Hence sprung up innumerable gods: mountains and valleys; woods and plains; foun