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Our Heavenly Citizenship

Our Heavenly Citizenship

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July, 1838

Philippians, iii. 20,

" For our conversation is in Heaven."

July, 1838

Philippians, iii. 20,

" For our conversation is in Heaven."

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Aug 01, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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OUR HEAVELY CITIZESHIPBY REV. HERY WOODWARD, B.A., July, 1838Philippians, iii. 20, " For our conversation is in Heaven." The word which is here translated " conversation/^ may be rendered citizenship. The meaning of the passage^ thus translated, would be, that all Chris- tians should feel towards heaven, as if it were theii? own country. It was customary amongst the ancient RomanSi to extend the rights of citizenship, beyond the pale of their own territory. So that the inhabitants of towns^ far distant from Rome, were ranked amongst the number of its citizens. And this was the case of Tarsus, that city of Cilicia, to which Paul him" self belonged. In virtue of this, the apostle was a Roman citizen: and we find him, in the 32nd chapter of the Acts, both referring to, and asserts ing the privileges of that character. St. Paul may be considered, then, as having in view, this right of Roman citizenship, when he uses the expression of my text. And the force of the comparison seems to be, that as one ever so far removed from the capital of that great empire, might, nevertheless, feel himself, in interest, in Digiti
zed by Google 216 SBBMO XV. iilimunitiesi in character, a member of the Roman starts : so fehould e?ery subject of Christ's kmgdom^ though, at present, far separated from that higher heav^^n, in which the king of saints holds his more immediate court ; — yet should he never lose sight of his high calling, as a member of Christ's mys- tical body, as a freeman of the Jerusalem above, as one whose birthright is heaven, and whose country is eternity- Such a consideration opens to our view, many profitable subjects of reflection. Are we citizens of heaven 2 Then this is not our home. We are so-  journers, in a foreign land ; pilgrims, and strangers upon the earth, as all our fathers were. . To some minds, this persuaj»on is melancholy and depressing : because they are of the world, and lov0 the world ; and do not like to think, that even nowit should be renounced in affection, and soon must be parted with for even ot so, when '• our conversation is in heaven/' Satisfied to continue here below^ as long as it is the will of God; and convinced that we are bound faithfully to act the part assigned us, and with alacrity and con- scientious care, to perform all our allotted duties well ; — yet the mind, whose treasures are laid up in heaven, can derive unspeakable comfort from the constant recollection, that this is not its rest, and that it has no abiding city here. Is sorrow.
Digiti zed by Google SERMO XV. 217 is poverty, is pain or adversity, our portion here ? How cheering the reflection to the child of God, that all this will soon be over ! That in that house, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens^ there is no pain,^ nor sorrow, nor crying ; that tears are there wiped from all faces ; that no mourners go about the streets ; that there the wicked cease from troubling, and there the weaiy are at rest ! But persons not thus visited with affliction^ have their trials, their perplexities, and exercises of patience. The man who appears prosperous to the world, often feels, how little the many around him know the doubts, the disappointments, the cares, that weigh upon his mind, by day, and hover round his bed, at night. Let one trouble be laid at rest ; and other troubles will rise upon his imagination, and press upon his heart. We may see our way out of one difficulty ; but that removed, new difficulties will start up in its place. Such, my brethren, is the life of man. Man is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward. And, on this point, take the counsel of one who has thought, and who has felt, not a little, on the subject. If you have an anxious mind, you never will, be relieved, by seeing your way through the difficulties of life. You never will be able to sit down, and see all matters so arranged, as that you can say, *' now my perplexities are at an end."

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