'Gentlemen of taste' frequently travel abroad: and it is so much in vogue to
wander over some part of the world once in life, that he is hardly accounted
an accomplished gentleman that has not spent a part of his time in climates
and countries remote from that which gave him birth: whence he returns rich
in observations, and mightily improved, having made an accurate survey among
whatever people he visited—whether as to the genius, stature, complexion,
religion, laws, government, rites, and dress of the natives: or the
merchandise, produce, rivers, soil, air, language, etc. of the country. And
does this render men more agreeable company, to have glanced from head to
foot, as it were, over only one page of the great volume of creation? For
what is our earth in comparison of God's handy works?
His observations must be few, since the shortness of his
life forbids him to stay long abroad, unless he intends to drop his dust in
the tour: which unhappy event has many a time sent sorrow across the seas,
for the dear youth that shall see his native land no more.
Now, to compare earthly things with heavenly—how
accomplished must the soul be, that shall be an eternal searcher into the
perfections of God, an entranced beholder of the beauties of paradise: that
shall take a tour through the fields of bliss, and be a traveler in the
region of glory! If this 'mole-hill heap' is surprising for many things
found therein, as mountains towering to the clouds, volcanoes spewing melted
fire, extremes of heat and cold, and creatures of tremendous shape and size,
and all in this small speck of earthly creation; what must the numerous
excellences be of his kingdom, which is higher than the heavens! O the
beauties on the other side creation! O the glories which beam in pure
essential day! All things in time, only improve us for another in the things
that are temporal: but there the improvement is for eternity, and the mind
enlarged for God.
O happy day! when I shall rove over the extent of
paradise, lost in wonder, and ravished with delight, amidst his excellences!
O the innate beauty of his laws, the glory of his reign, the splendor of his
throne, the mysteries of his being and workings, and the wonders of his
love! O the loveliness of the inhabitants of the better country! O the
rivers of pleasures which water the true Canaan! How pure the religion of
the inner temple! What ecstacy and ravishment shall rise from beholding all
these beatitudes, all these glories—as one eternally involved in them all!
Travel, then, you sons of fortune, towards every wind:
rest not in the old continent—but ransack them all. Let nothing pass
unobserved, and be delighted with the productions of the fertile Arabia, or
the teeming Indies. Let the magnificence of the opulent East attract your
attention, and the curiosities of the learned West gain your regard.
Not satisfied with the narrow appearance of this 'atom
hung upon nothing', I wait for the dawning of celestial day, to commence an
everlasting travel through all the glories above. Surveying the perfections
of God, I shall hold on my journey through unnumbered ages. In my tour I
shall find curiosities which could never enter into the conception of
travelers below. Let them talk of the magnificent structure, or pleasant
situation of the metropolis of every kingdom, I shall see the city of the
mighty King, whose foundations are precious stones, whose walls are jasper,
whose gates are pearls, and the streets and city pure gold, like transparent
glass; whose laws are love, and whose light is glory. I shall see those
people who are immortal, and cannot die—a kingdom where every subject is a
king, where every servant has a throne, and sways a scepter. I shall see an
assembly of worshipers, that are all priests, high-priests, and are admitted
into the holy of holies forever. I shall see the blessed effects of death,
and the ecstasies of men that spring from the agonies of our incarnate God.
I shall see children of wrath made heirs of life, and the family of heaven
married to the family of earth, yes, to the heirs of hell! These are wonders
to be wondered at, mysteries to be dwelt upon, divine curiosities to be
recorded on the table of my heart, and mentioned in the grateful accents of
my song. Then hasten, Lord, that day when I shall set out for
eternity, and commence my journey, my immediate journey to your throne,
there to explore the adorable perfections of the Godhead, the mysteries of
the Trinity, and all the glories of the upper world!