INTRODUCTION.

DUTY OF PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE WORLD.[1]

The people of God have ever been strangers and pilgrims in the earth. Though in the world, they are not of the world; and, both by their professions and their deportment, they declare plainly, that they seek another country, as their final home. Hence, they walk not according to the course of this world, and are deaf to its enticements, and appear to have their eyes fixed on objects that the world sees not. So Moses endured, as seeing him who is invisible.[2] So he turned his back on the pleasures of sin and the treasures of Egypt, and had respect unto the recompense of the reward, to be obtained in the future world. So patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, have lived for eternity, and have left their testimony to mankind, that they were not of this world, and that their treasure, their hearts, and their final home to which they journeyed, were in heaven. These examples call on us for imitation, and, if we possess the wisdom and spirit by which they were actuated, we too shall make it the business of our lives, to prepare for the future world.

The precepts of revelation call on us to prepare for eternity. "Prepare to meet thy God." "Set your affections on things above."[2] "Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."[3] "O that they were wise, that they would consider their latter end."[4] All revelation calls as with one voice, as with a voice from heaven, a voice of warning, expostulation, and earnest entreaty, to quit this perishing world, to flee from the wrath to come, to lay hold on eternal life, and to seek a continuing city, an enduring portion, in the world to come. With reference to this future world, every duty is enjoined, every promise made, every motive presented, and he whose eye is not steadfastly fixed on that world, has no reason to hope that he will secure the inheritance of the saints.

Since the motives to holiness, and to diligence in the pursuit of it, are drawn so abundantly from the future world, a knowledge of that world is of great importance to all men. Every man knows that the time of his continuance on earth is short and uncertain; and while fully assured that he must leave this world, and that the time of his departure is just at hand, to make no inquiry concerning the world to which he is going, or to disregard authentic information concerning it, and the means of obtaining happiness there, is folly in the extreme. It is therefore wise to study the doctrine concerning the future world, and to study it as a subject of momentous personal interest. At every step in our progress, we should ask, how does this truth affect my heart? Am I so running, as to obtain? Are my prospects clear? Ought I not to renew my diligence, and to seek more earnestly the guidance and help needed, that I may finish my course with joy?

[1] Amos iv. 12. prepare to meet thy God.

2 Cor. iv. 18. We look not at the things which are seen and temporal, but at the things which are unseen and eternal.

[2] Heb. xi.27.

[2] Col. iii. 2.

[3] Matt. vi. 19, 20, 21.

[4] Deut. xxxii. 29.