(Samuel Davies, “Unseen Things to Be Preferred to Seen Things”)
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen–but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary–but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18
VISIBLE things are perishable–and may soon leave us. When we think that they are ours–they often fly from our embrace!
Riches may vanish into smoke and ashes–by an accidental fire!
We may be thrown down from the pinnacle of honor–and sink into utter disgrace!
Sensual pleasures often end in excess and disgust–or in sickness and death!
Our friends are torn from our bleeding hearts by the inexorable hand of death!
Our liberty and property may be wrested from us by the hand of tyranny, oppression, or fraud!
In a word, there is nothing which we now enjoy–but we may quickly lose!
On the other hand, our miseries here on earth are temporary. The heart receives many a wound–but it heals again. Poverty may end in riches. A blemished character may be cleared up; and from disgrace–we may rise to honor. We may recover from sickness. And if we lose one comfort–we may obtain another.
But in ETERNITY–everything is everlasting and unchangeable! Happiness and misery are both without end–and the subjects of both well know that this is the case.
It is this eternality and perpetuity, which completes the happiness of the inhabitants of heaven; the least suspicion of an end–would intermingle itself with all their enjoyments, and embitter them; for the greater the happiness, the greater the anxiety at the expectation of losing it. But oh, how transporting for the saints on high, to look forward through the succession of eternal ages, with an assurance that they shall be happy through them all, and that they shall feel no change–but from glory unto glory!
On the other hand, this is the bitterest ingredient in the ‘cup of divine displeasure’ in the future state–that the misery is eternal! Oh, with what horror does that despairing cry, “Forever! Forever! Forever!” echo through the vaults of hell!
And now, need I offer anything further to convince you of the superior importance of invisible and eternal things–to visible and temporary things? Can you need any arguments to convince you that an eternity of the most perfect happiness–is rather to be chosen than a few years of sordid, unsatisfying sinful pleasures?
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