Appearance Before God Here And Hereafter - Part I


Adapted from a Sermon By

Isaac Watts

When shall I come and appear before God? Psalm 42:2 ESV

Our sermon this morning which we shall hear in two parts, is adapted from a sermon by Isaac Watts, and is titled Appearance Before God Here And Hereafter. And our guiding verse is verse 2 of the Psalm we have read: When shall I come and appear before God?

This Psalm refers to a time when the holy Psalmist was absent from his usual place of public worship, and restrained from coming near to the ark of God which was the token of the divine presence in the days of the Jewish church; and when he had been meditating on his past and present circumstances in this respect, both what he enjoyed in the past, and what he was deprived of now, he breaks out into a divine outpouring of emotion: As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. And he goes on to describe the frame of his spirit in this holy song: the substance and sense of the whole psalm is, as it were, summarized and drawn up into these few words, when shall I come and appear before God?

We will not spend time to consider in how many senses man may be said to appear before God; in this place, however, it seems clearly to refer to attendance on public-worship, in the place where it was usually celebrated and performed. In the words of the Psalmist we may find the state of his heart expressed under these two general headings.

I. A belief of the special presence of God in his ordinances of public-worship.

II. An earnest longing for them on that account.

Let us consider and unfold each of these in turn, so that our own hearts may be lifted up and warmed.

First, the words express David's firm belief of the special presence of God in his ordinances, to the extent that he calls an attendance on them, an appearance before God. We are always in the view of God, and every creature is exposed and open in his sight, and forever appears before him as the all-seeing and all-knowing Creator and governor of all things; but it is a peculiar, a gracious, and favorable presence of God that belongs to his sanctuary; his appointed worship: God is taking special notice of our attitude toward him, and manifesting his designs of special mercy towards us.

David well knew this, that the great end of appointing public-worship, was, that there might be a communication between God and man, who were so dreadfully separated by sin; he knew the gracious promise, that where God recorded his name, there would he come and meet his people, and bless them; Ex. 20. 24. He knew what visible tokens of divine presence were found in the sanctuary; there was the ark of God, and the mercy-seat that covered it, upon which God dwelt in a bright shining cloud between the golden Cherubim, to symbolize his dwelling in light among the glorious angels in heaven; beside the many wonderful experiences which David had of discovering God in counsel and grace, strength and consolation, in his public worship.

And have not Christians, under the gospel, as great a reason to expect the special presence of God among them in his ordinances? Are they not appointed on purpose to bring God near to us, and to bring us near to God? Have we not an express promise of God himself, dwelling in flesh, that where two or three are gathered together in his name, he will be in the midst of them; Matt, 28. 20. and is not Christ’s word trustworthy? Have we not his word there published and preached? Does God not appear there very eminently, in the glory of his truth, in the beauty of his holiness, in the purity of his commands, in the terror of his threatenings, in the sweetness of his promises, in the wonders of his wisdom and power, and more amazing works of his grace and love? Does the Lord not reveal himself there in the majesty of his government, in the miracles of his providence, and the divine glory of his fore-knowledge in prophecies exactly fulfilled? Surely that man must be blind indeed, who does not see God in the holy scriptures.

Will you say, "All this may be seen and read at home in private, as well as in a public assembly?” But you must remember that even the written word of God was communicated to the most part of mankind only in public worship for some thousands of years: for before the art of printing was invented, one Bible was scarce to be found in several hundred houses, and very few of the common people were capable of reading; nor could they know the written word, but by their attending the public preaching of it. And in our day, how many are there who either do, or will know very little of religion, but what they hear at church.

Besides, the written word of God is given to be expounded by his ministers, that the gospel being preached at large, and the truths of it being particularly applied, his presence and glory may thus be displayed. Many parts of scripture are so obscure, that God stands, as it were, behind a veil, or a curtain, until, in the ministry of the word, the sense is explained, the veil removed, and God is revealed in the open glories of his majesty, or his mercy. It was for this purpose that Christ, at his departure from earth, engaged the promise of his presence with his ministers in the preaching of his gospel: Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age; Matt, 28. 20. And is not this sufficient ground for men to expect and hope to see God there?

Besides all this, have not Christians enjoyed blessed experiences of the presence of God in his sanctuary, in the assemblies of his saints? One can say, "I was all darkness and ignorance, and there I found divine light, revealing to me my sin and misery, and his salvation." Another can say, "I was dead in sin, and found my soul raised to a divine life there; I was mourning and despairing, and there I found a word of support and holy joy, such as no mere words of men could convey into me; and I am forced to confess God was in this place of a truth;" 1 Cor. 14. 25.

Let us now consider some remarks on the first heading, that is, the special presence of God in his ordinances,

I. How much should we guard against hypocrisy in divine worship, because it is an appearance before God!

We do then, in a solemn manner, set ourselves before God, and, as it were, humbly call God to look upon us, and take notice of our hearts. Let us remember this, every one of us, when we go to public worship, we do in effect say to God, "O Lord, we are always in your sight, but in a special manner we now come to show you our hearts, to humbly expose our needs to you, our sorrows, and our sins, our desires and hopes;” and God will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain: he is a jealous God, he will not be mocked; Gal. 6. 7.

He is a Spirit, and he will be worshipped in spirit and in truth; John 4. 24. He is sharp-sighted, he sees through our souls, and knows the ends and designs of our coming, whether to see creatures, and be seen of them, or to see himself, our Creator: whether to observe the ways, dress, and behaviour of our fellow-creatures on earth, or to learn the will of God, and the ways of heaven.

Suppose Jesus Christ, in his human nature, were there, whose eyes are as a flame of fire, and seeing past your appearance can discern the most secret thoughts of your souls, would you not stand in awe of his majesty? would not this glorious appearance fix the most vain and fluttering imagination in a pious frame of mind? How eagerly would you watch over your minds, lest they wander from worship! How carefully would you keep your hearts! Or suppose you saw the holy angels there which attend the churches in worship, would you not be ashamed to trifle in their presence? And has not the spiritual presence of the great God as much real, though invisible awfulness and majesty in it!

How do persons both of the polite and the vulgar world, all agree to dress properly, and make the best presentation of all the week, to appear before men on the day of the Lord! But let us remember that we come not only before men, but before the living God, in whose sight, ornaments of the body are of no account, and, surely, what care ought we to take, to put on our best ornaments of the mind! To see that our graces all shine, when we are to stand before God! And not to allow one vain thought, one corrupt affection, to work in us; nor a spot or blemish, if possible, to be found upon us!

Sadly! what millions of hypocrites are there in the world! How many is it to be feared are in every gathering! How many come to attend at prayers, but never seek to join their own wishes and desires with the words of him who speaks! How many voices follow the tune in a psalm, but their souls feel no joy, no inward elevations of praise! How many hear the word as the word of man, and their hearts have no sense of God speaking to them! They sit before God as his people, but their heart goes after their covetousness; Ezek. 33. 31. after their idols of business, or carnal pleasure, after every vain object of their eyes, or vainer images of the imagination. Let us be careful therefore, how we shut our eyes, or harden our hearts against a present and a speaking God; for the word of the Lord is quick and powerful; God speaking by his eternal word, or by his ministers in the church, pierces the secret recesses of the soul and spirit; God sits there, discerning the intents and thoughts of the heart; all things are naked and open before his eyes with whom we have to do; Heb. 4. 13.

We come to the second remark.

II. In attendance on public worship, we should fix all our hope and expectation of profit upon the presence of God in it; for the design of ordinances is to bring us to appear before God. Now, if in things of this life, God should be our chief hope, much more in things of another; In the words of the psalmist, For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. Psal. 62. 5.

How ready are we, even in spiritual things, to depend on outward forms and ceremonies! and to hope, or despair of success, according to some outward circumstances of our worship! One is ready to say, "If it were a nice exposition of some deep doctrine, I would get something by hearing the word." Another complains, " Alas! if it had been a sermon of grace and privileges, I would not have been so careless in my attention, nor wasted my time." And a third satisfies his conscience with this, "If I had heard moral duties enforced powerfully on our practice, then I could profit by the preaching; or if he who ministers had but more skill in composing, more fervency of speech, more warmth in delivery, more graceful pronunciation, more strength of argument; surely I should feel more lasting impressions of religion under every sermon." And thus we go on from week to week, and worship without any sensible benefit, because we seek all from men.

But, alas! if all these things were exactly suited to our wishes, the matter ever so agreeable, the manner ever so entertaining, the voice ever so charming, and the performance ever so affectionate; if God is not there, there is no lasting benefit: Paul may plant, and Apollos water, but God gives the growth; 1 Cor. 3. 6. The ministration of the word is committed to man, but not the ministration of the Spirit. What can a man do to give eyes to the blind? To give ears to the deaf? Can a man make the lame to walk? or raise the dead to a divine life? and turn sinners into saints? Who is sufficient for these things? 2 Cor. 2. 16.

A minister is ready to say, "Will there ever be a time when I preach to such a people and they will learn and profit by my sermons?" A Christian is ready to say, “When shall I hear such a minister, or partake of such an ordinance, or hear a discourse on such a subject, delivered in a compelling way?” And they are ready to go away discouraged, as though all hope were gone, when they find a disappointment in the pulpit; as though the graces of God were confined to a particular instrument, or as though the words of a man were our only hope.

When any of us have been at church, and waited in the sanctuary, let us examine what did we go there to see; a shadow of religion? An outside of Christian forms? A graceful orator? The figures and shapes of devotion? Surely then we might with as much wisdom, and more innocence, have gone to the wilderness to see a reed shaken with the wind. Can we say as the Greeks at the feast; John 12. 21. We wish to see Jesus? To little purpose we go to church, or attend on ordinances, if we do not seek , and if we do not see God there.

III. Remark. What everlasting thanks are due to our Lord Jesus Christ, who has made way for our appearance before God with comfort and hope! You are called by the name of Christians, you profess to believe in him, but you know little what you have to do with him, or what use his name is of in religion, if you can go daily to appear in the presence of God without him; you do not know the nature of Christianity, if you do not feel a need of Christ when you bow yourselves before God.

Consider a little what God is, and what you are, that you may have a due sense of the necessity of Christ; say to yourselves, "l am going to appear before the great and glorious God, a God of infinite perfection, and I am a little vessel of mere imperfection and infirmity; what shall I do to stand in his sight? He is a God of majesty and judgment, and I am a traitor, a rebel by nature and action; I need some person to introduce me into his favour. He is a God of spotless holiness, and I am defiled with a thousand sins; who shall make me appear acceptable in his sight! he is a God of inflexible justice, and I am a guilty wretch, a criminal, a malefactor, already condemned; who shall plead for me, and obtain a pardon?"

And so plead with Christ to introduce you with acceptance; in him alone can we appear well-pleasing to God: he is the beloved of the Father, and if we are ever accepted, it must be in the beloved; Eph. 1. 6. Christ appears now in the presence of God for us, in the virtue of his blood and spotless obedience; Heb. 9. 12, 24. He who once appeared with sin imputed, was made sin for us, and was treated as a sinner in the world for our sake, now appears before God, without sin, in heaven, as our great High Priest and Surety, to make us acceptable to God there. Nor should our warmest devotions, nor our highest praises, dare to appear there without him.

Remember that the high priest himself among the Jews, was in danger of death, whenever he went into the Holy Place inside the veil, to appear before the symbols of the divine presence, if he did not have proper garments upon him, and the blood of atonement with him; see Exod. 28. 35. 43. Lev. 16. 2, 13, 14. Let Aaron be so clothed, and the blood so sprinkled, said the Lord, lest he die. How much more may we fear destruction, if we rashly, or carelessly, come near and speak to God himself, and yet neglect the garment of righteousness, and the blood of sprinkling, and Christ our great Mediator.

Remember that for a sinner to appear before God without the Mediator, is an infinitely terrifying thing, not a comforting one. A traitor would keep at the farthest distance from the prince, if he had no friend to speak a word for him there. To come and present yourselves before God as sinners, without a Saviour, would be but to awaken his wrath, and remind him of your guilt, and his righteous vengeance. Remember therefore to take Christ with you when you come near to God. See Eph. 2. 3, 13. We are by nature children of wrath, and afar off from God, it is he only who can bring us near: —No one, he says, comes to the Father except through me; John 14. 6.

And as this is the only appointed way for sinners to appear before God, so it has been the sweet experience of countless thousands that they have drawn near to God, in this manner, with acceptance and delight. Hear what many a child of God can tell you in this case: "When I had the first sight of my guilt and defilements, and beheld God in the terrors of his holiness and justice, as a consuming fire, I was frightened at the thought of appearing before him; every threatening that I heard, I thought it was pronounced against me, nor could I delight myself in the blessings of his gospel, for they were not mine.

But when he was pleased to lead and draw me to Christ, I saw such an all-sufficiency of atonement and righteousness in him, that would satisfy all the demands that divine justice had upon me; I joyfully accepted of this salvation, I surrendered myself as the subject of his saving grace: and though now I behold God in the same glorious and dreadful attributes as before, and behold myself still defiled and sinful, yet I humbly dare appear before him daily and hourly, for Jesus is my intercessor, he is my propitiation, he is the Lord my righteousness, and my God sits upon a mercy-seat sprinkled with the blood of this heavenly sacrifice.

My sins are many and great, and the matter of my daily groaning; I hear the threatenings and curses of his holy law, but they do not frighten me from his presence; for in the name of my Mediator I come, who has borne the curse for me: with humble penitence, and with a lively faith, I draw near to a reconciled God, and give eternal thanks to the Reconciler.”

IV. Remark. Though we now live in a land of great spiritual darkness, what a blessing has it been to have had, not so long ago, many true houses of God in the nation where we dwell! We still benefit from the lingering effects of past godliness in our land. Consider some nations where God has never been worshipped aright, and has never had a dwelling-place; consider how far some poor creatures have travelled, like the pilgrims, many miles from their old dwelling, to appear before God in his ordinances; but, for a time, God, has seated his throne, as it were at our doors; there are have been many synagogues of God in our land, and we benefit from the influence of many godly servants of times past.

And how valuable a privilege is it to dwell in a religious family, in a house of God, where there is a church in the house, as we read of in the letter to Philemon in verse 2, where we often appear before God! How gladly would many persons, who are in better circumstances in the world than some of us enjoy, exchange those better circumstances for spiritual advantages such as we have; but some of you perhaps may say, "We may be saved without so much religion, without so much fuss about the worship of God in families or in churches." But consider this very carefully: if a religious family is not a pleasure to you, heaven itself will give you no pleasure; for that is but one great religious family, of which Jesus Christ is the head: and if the business of that place is not your delight, you will never have a place there.

Shall I ask each member of our households, when you are called in to morning and evening prayer, what is your purpose? Do you come with hope and desire to appear before God? Or is it merely to obey the orders of the house, and comply with the custom of the family, for the sake of your temporal interest? Ask yourselves what is it that brings you in constantly at the seasons of reading and praying? Is it a desire to get near to God?

Shall I ask the children, when you come in at the hour of worship, do you set yourselves as before God? Do your thoughts go along with the words of him who prays? Do you pay attention to the word read, as the word of God, by which you must be judged? Or do you satisfy yourselves to wear out the quarter of an hour, in sitting still, or in kneeling as others do, without thoughts of God? Shall each of us ask our own hearts, how do we pass the time of daily worship? Are we careful to lay aside all our thoughts of the world, that we may be devoted to God? Remember, that not only in the morning and evening devotion, but at every meal we appear before God: Now, do we join in prayer for a blessing on our food and in giving thanks? Or do we think the word of one who speaks sufficiently sanctifies and blesses the meal for all who taste it?

Let us further ask our consciences this one question, Do we remember God all the day, as those who have appeared before him at worship in the morning? Do we walk among men, as those who dwell in a house of God? Do we eat, and drink, and speak, and live, as those who profess so much religion and worship. Let us think on these things, and consider who there is among us that dares to trifle with the great and dreadful God in such appearances before him. Or provoke him with a conversation unsuitable to such professions.

We are none of us above the need of self-enquiry; and as we all appear with our bodies to worship God daily, may it be that not one soul among us should be, in effect, absent from God in this daily worship.

We now go on to the second general heading of the sermon.

II. The words of the text reveal to us an earnest longing, after divine ordinances, and the presence of God in them. This abundantly appears also in several parts of this Psalm: how mournfully does the Psalmist complain, and with what a painful sense he expresses of his long absence from the house of God! verses 3, 4. What a sweet and sorrowful recollection he makes of past seasons of delight in worship! My tears have been my food day and night,—my soul is cast down and disquieted, I remember when I went with the multitude to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise; but now God seems to have forgotten me, verse 9. How earnestly does he long for the sanctuary! Psal. 63. and 84. to see your power, O God, and your glory, as he had seen it there. He borrows metaphors and pictures from some of the most stirring appetites of nature to describe his strong desires after God; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you; Psal. 63. 1. My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD. Psal. 84. 2.

And this is the blessed disposition of a Christian, when in his right frame of mind; he is never satisfied when restrained from divine ordinances, whether by persecution, by banishment, by the unreasonable laws of men, or by afflictions and weaknesses laid on him by the hand of God. He thinks over again those times when he enjoyed the presence of God in worship, and the recollection of them increases his desires for their return. He watches every turn of providence, and hopes it is working towards his release: when he sees the doors of his prison begin to open, he is ready to break out of confinement, and seize the pleasure of public-worship: he is impatient to appear before God again. "I have chosen God,” he says, “for my highest good, for my everlasting portion, and I would willingly often go to the place where God has promised to communicate his blessings, and where I have so often tasted that the Lord is gracious."

And let us consider some remarks on this second heading.

I. The first remark is: How very different are they from David’s disposition, who enjoy public ordinances continually, and are weary of them! Who frequently appear before God on the Lord's day, and yet cry, what a weariness it is! When will the Sabbath be gone? Mal 1. 13, and 3. 14. Amos 8. 5. When shall we return to the world again?

What is the reason of this great aversion to divine worship among those who call themselves Christians? Truly the greatest part have nothing of Christianity besides the mere name: some are oblivious sinners, and have no sense of divine things; and they think it is all wasted time: they have no need to come before God, but that it is the custom of their country, or of the family where they live, and they have to do it; they do not know how to spend the hour elsewhere without reproof or trouble: Or they come merely to see, and to be seen, as is the fashion of the land.

Some perhaps have a sense of religion, and yet they cannot look upon God any other way than as their enemy, and so they come before him without any love or delight in his company; and then no wonder if they are weary of it. They do not come as friends to take pleasure in his presence; they would be well enough pleased, if they could live forever in this world, and never have anything to do with God: their chief motive is the fear of hell, and therefore they drudge on, in toilsome and undelightful religion.

And indeed this is one great reason why so many true Christians feel no more longing after God, either in public or in private worship; because, though they have some faith and some cold hope, yet they are contented to remain in this state of uncertainty, without joy or assurance, and do not make it their business to advance in Christianity: they cannot rejoice in God as their father, or their friend, with a lively soul; and they find but little pleasure in his house.

But it is a divine pleasure, and something of heaven, when a child of God, with a lively faith and joyful spirit, comes before God as his God, and entertains himself with all the blessed discoveries that he makes of his wisdom and grace in his churches, with all the promises of the covenant, with all the words of love that God has written in his book, or publishes in his ordinances by the ministry of men. He feeds upon heavenly provisions in his Father's house; and when he leaves, he maintains on his soul a sweet savour of heaven. But, alas! there has been a great withdrawal of the Spirit of God from his churches; a deadness of heart has seized believers in our day, and they grow carnal: May God, in his mercy, send the Spirit to return to the sanctuary again!

II. The second remark is: How comfortable a thing would it be, to feel our souls longing for divine ordinances more earnestly after having been deprived from them for a time! We should learn the language of Jonah, when in the belly of the fish; Lord, I am driven away from your sight; yet I shall again look upon your holy temple; Jonah 2. 4. I will look while I am at a distance, and pray toward the mercy-seat, in hope and desire to come near the sanctuary.

We are too ready to grow indifferent, and think we can do well enough without this appearing before God! We grow, as it were strangers to him by long absence; and though the sacred correspondence in public be lost, yet sometimes it is not much regretted: this is a frequent disease of the soul. When fasting increases a regular appetite, it is a sign of a healthy constitution; but weakly natures are so overwhelmed with a little fasting, that their appetite is gone too. Many Christians may complain of this, and say, "Though I find some relish of pleasure when I am in the house of God, and amongst his saints; and though it was very painful to me to endure the first months of confinement, yet a long restraint has so brought me under the spiritual disease, that my appetite and desire grow feeble, and my heart too indifferent to public worship."

Now in order to enquire into the state of our spirits, and to awaken us to greater longings after divine ordinances, let us consider what are the two chief ends of a Christian in his appearance before God: it is either to do something for God by a public profession of his name among men, or to receive something from him for our own comfort and salvation. If we hope to receive, this calls faith into exercise; if we endeavour to do something for his service, this awakens our zeal. Now, is our faith active? Is our zeal lively in this matter? Some Christians have one or the other of these most in view: some look most at honouring God in a public profession, some at obtaining some sensible benefit and delight to their own souls: but it is best when both of these invite us to the sanctuary, and make us long after the presence of God.

Some of us, it may be, have found the work of grace and salvation begun on our souls at public worship; there we were first awakened and convinced of sin, there we were first led to the knowledge and faith of Christ, and pardoning grace was revealed with power by the ministry of the word; therefore we long after the sincere milk of the word, in the same public dispensation of it, that we may grow under its influence.

Others have been favoured, it may be, with the presence of God more abundantly in secret; and reading, and meditation, and secret prayer, have been the chief sensible instruments of their conversion, sanctification, and peace; these therefore, sometimes do not have the same earnest longing after public preaching as others have; yet they do continually attend on the ordinances of Christ in public, to maintain religion, in the profession of it, among men; and they ought to do it. But these persons are most in danger of growing cold and indifferent.

Granted it is a glorious and self-denying attitude, to maintain a warm zeal to do much for the honour of God in the world, even though we enjoy but little of him; but this is not so frequent among men: for we are usually drawn to God by the blessings we hope to receive; and we should consider, that an utter neglect of all those enjoyments of God in a felt and experienced increase of grace and joy, which are to be found in public worship, is a sign that our faith runs low: we do not expect to receive much from God, even in his own appointed methods; and therefore we grow negligent whether we worship him in public or not. And so let the soul who feels nothing of this negligence, but maintains a warm desire of ordinances under long restraint, rejoice and bless the Lord!

However, while any of us are confined, our desires after God ought to appear in this, that we often seek him in secret, and are perpetually with him in our thoughts; that we take all proper opportunities to lift up our souls to him in the midst of common affairs, and thus do what we can to make up the loss of the sanctuary: but we should be still breathing also after church-worship, and the communion of saints; for the LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwelling places of Jacob; Psal. 87. 2.

III. The third and last remark is: Truly what unhappy hindrances these fleshly sinful bodies are to the mind! How they contradict the best inclinations, of the soul, and forbid it to fulfil its spiritual desires! The soul would appear often before God, but the flesh forbids: the spirit would rejoice to be among Christian assemblies, but the body is too often confined by sickness, or by the necessary cares that relate to this life, this poor animal life, that has so troublesome an influence upon the noblest enjoyments of the mind.

The soul would wait upon God whole hours together in praising, in praying, in hearing the word; but the body is weak, overwhelmed with a little attention, and can bear no more. The soul wrestles and strives against the infirmities of the flesh, and works hard to remain with God; but these very wrestlings and strivings overcome languishing nature; the weakness of the flesh prevails against the liveliest efforts and vigour of the mind; the flesh prevails, and the spirit must yield. Thus we are dragged down from the holy mount of communion with God, and the soul, who is a-kin to angels, and employed in their work, must descend, and lie idle, to refresh the animal. In vain would the spirit raise all its powers into lively and devout exercise, if the flesh grows faint under a lively affection, it is forced to let go the holy thought, and quit the divine pleasures of religion, until a better hour returns.

Sometimes, through drowsiness, and lack of energy, we grow dull and heavy in religious duties, and have but little sense of that God before whom we appear. Sometimes, through restlessness, our imagination grows vain and fluttering, and wanders far away from the God whom we worship. If we fix our thoughts one minute upon things of the highest importance and the most awful solemnity; the next flying idea catches the mind away, and it is lost from God and devotion again; we appear before God, and disappear again; we wander into the world, and return to God, twenty times in an hour.

Our eyes and our ears are constant witnesses of this painful weakness; and unhappy instruments they are to draw off our souls from the most divine meditations. Everything around us is ready to disturb and divert our feeble nature in the most heavenly acts of worship: poor broken worship! Poor frail estate of human nature!

But there is a blessed assembly of better worshippers above: let us awaken our faith and desire to join them! and let each of us say, " O when shall I go to that bright company, and appear amongst them before God."