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FROM THE GERMAN OF N. HERMANN.
WHEN now the solemn hour is nigh
While terrors would appal me?
My sins may seem in number more,
From sinking shall uphold me.
I am a branch of thee, the Vine;
* Translated by Dr. Mills.
And when 'tis over, thou wilt give
My Lord o'er death triumphant rose,
With outstretched arms I'll welcome Christ,
And bless my soul in glory,
The Heavenly Rest.
How welcome to the aged Christian is the thought of heaven! As the toil-worn labourer hails with gladness the hour of rest; as the wave-tossed mariner discerns with thankfulness the haven of safety; as the weary exile approaches with feelings of rapture his native country; so does the believer rejoice in the immediate prospect of eternal glory. He loves to think of that moment when he shall be absent from the body and present with the Lord; when the cares, the conflicts, and the corruptions which surround him here will be exchanged for the peace and purity which pervade the everlasting abode of the redeemed. Varied are the attractions which draw his thoughts and affections thither. Deliverance from trouble, freedom from sin, increase of knowledge, separation from the ungodly, intercourse with the holy, communion with his Saviour,-these and other delineations of the heavenly state make him ready, willing, eager to depart from the present life, and to enter upon that new and nol le existence.
"My chief conception of heaven," said Robert Hall, who was an almost constant sufferer from acute bodily pain, "is rest." And many sons and daughters of affliction can respond to his remark. They have so much to do and to suffer, they see so much misery and discord around them, their spiritual foes are so powerful and persevering, that the sigh of the Psalmist is often heard from their lips: "Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest.' Rest! Where? In heaven: there the weary are at rest.
They rest from toil. From physical exertion and from mental labour. The hand no longer has to procure bread for the sustenance of life, and to provide things honest in the sight of all men; the head no longer has to plan for avoiding difficulties and distress, and to strive after a temporary relief from some of the cares of daily life. "They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more." "They rest from their labours; and their works do follow them." All fatigue and anxiety are for ever ended.
They rest from pain. The inhabitant of that heavenly city shall not say, I am sick; "neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." "I shall soon be at home now," * Psalm lv. 6. † Rev. vii. 16. + Rev. xiv. 13. ¿ Rev. xxi. 4.
said an aged Christian woman, who had been for many years afflicted with a painful disease, "and then all suffering will be over. I hope I am not impatient; I am willing to bear whatever God sends, and as long as he sends it; I know he is love. But it is very sweet sometimes, when my poor body is racked with pain and I cannot get a minute's relief, to think that I am every day nearer heaven, and to feel that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed. What a change it will be!"
They rest from sorrow. "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying."* Yes; God himself shall wipe away their tears. The days of their mourning will be for ever ended, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. Want, disappointment, care, unkindness, injustice, bereavement, and every other source of earthly distress, are unknown in heaven. The waves of grief cannot pass the confines of eternity. The clouds of sadness cannot float in the clear atmosphere of heaven. The voice of lamentation and weeping can never mingle with the songs of the redeemed.
They rest from spiritual conflict. Life is a period
* Rev. xxi. 4.