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eternal existence; but how different will be the nature of that existence in the two parties! According to their respective character in this world, will be their eternal destiny : they that have done good shall live for ever, and they who have done evil shall be for ever miser. able.
H. Do the Scriptures inform us when the dead shall arise from their graves ?
F. No, Henry, the event is certain, but the period when, is known only to God.
C. Shall every one die and be in the grave before there be a resurrection ?
F. We are informed, Catharine, that it is appointed for men once to die, and after death the judgment. All that have ever lived have died, with the exception of Enoch and Elijah, who were translated to heaven that they should not see death; but when Christ comes the second time, there will be many alive upon the earth. The apostle Paul says, in his first Epistle to the Thessalonians, chap. iv. ver. 15, “ That we which are alive and remain shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” This
passage informs us,
that when the appointed time arrives, the circumstances of those that are on earth shall not prevent the solemn event of Christ's coming to receive his people to himself. There is another passage in 1st Corinthians, chap. xv. in which the same apostle says,
“ Behold I show you a mystery, we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump, for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorrupti. ble, and we shall be changed.”
C. I suppose that none of us shall be alive upon the earth when Christ comes.
M. No, my dear, but then all of us shall be raised, and “every eye shall see him,” “ coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” And if we are now his real disciples, his appearance will then be hailed by us with joy and triumph, the bodies with which we shall then meet him shall be fashioned like unto his own glorious body; and we, being placed on his right hand, shall hear him say, “ Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”
H. But is it not said that He will come in flaming fire, and that the world shall be de. stroyed? Oh! I think every one will be afraid at seeing him.
F. It is said that “the Lord Jesus shall be up."
revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire,” and that “the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth also, and the works that are therein, shall be burnt
His own people, in seeing these things, will no doubt have a deep feeling of reverence, but they will not be overwhelmed with dread and terror like those who have despised him. Such will then call upon the rocks and moun. tains to fall upon them, and cover them from him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for you will observe, Henry, that he will take “vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of
No wonder, then, that such shall be filled with dreadful consternation, and in. conceivable overwhelming anguish at beholding him.
E. I suppose that their beholding of Christ will only be the beginning of their
misery. F. Yes, Eliza, whatever their souls have felt previous to their re-union with their bodies, the completion of their misery then commences. They will be commanded to depart from Christ, the source of all glory and happiness, “ into everlasting fire,” in company with those cursed and malignant spirits
in whose service they lived, and whose wages they must now reap. In that place, whither they are sent, we are assured by our Lord, that “ their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. For every one shall be salted with fire.”
H. Oh! Father, I think that fire would soon consume their bodies.
F. Fire would soon consume our mortal bodies; but it appears that their bodies shall then be so formed as to be indestructible by fire. God can' fit the vessels of wrath for the everlasting destruction he will bring on them. And we ought not to put away from our minds this solemn and most interesting subject, with a slight hope that we shall not be among the number of them that shall perish. There are many who do this; and there is every reason to conciude, that as they obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, their hope will prove a delusion and overwhelm them with shame and everlasting despair.
C. But, Father, will not good people, when Christ comes, be completely and for ever happy?
F. They certainly will, Catharine, for they shall then be like Christ. Their bodies shall be raised glorious, incorruptible, immortal bodies; their souls shall be perfect in holiness, and they shall be for ever freed from any thing that causes pain, grief, or anxiety.
“God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away.'
C. Is it not said that they shall be clothed in white raiment, and have crowns of gold on their heads?
F. Yes, and you might add, palms of victory in their hands; but I am apt to think that you imagine their happiness will consist in their fine appearance; but you know that there are many who, in this world, have been arrayed in the finest clothes, and have had crowns and kingdoms at their command, who were very far from being happy. I have repeatedly told you that the saints in heaven will be perfectly happy, because they shall then be perfect in holiness. Their knowledge of God and of Christ will be perfect; all their hopes and expectations shall be fully realized, being purified from every evil they shall be possessed of, the most rapturous delight aris. ing from the contemplation and enjoyment of the manifestation of the divine glory in the person of their blessed Lord, in union with whom, they shall be blessed with all the ful. ness of God. In the company and fellowship of the elect angels, they will, with them, contemplate with increasing eternal satisfaction, in the divine dispensations towards the church,