Page images

Why is that one so smitten? Why is some other so great a sufferer? Here is a bereavement shrouded in mystery. I cannot see why death entered and crossed my threshold, and crossed it more than once. I cannot see why losses, affliction, sorrow, suffering, have all been poured into my cup. It is inexplicable now. I can bear it, but I cannot explain it. When Christ shall say, “It is done,” then those things that we know not now, we shall know hereafter; and you will feel, what now you hope, that the sorest trial was as necessary for your salvation as that Christ should die upon the cross, and redeem you by his blood; that not an incident or accident that has befallen you could have been left out, without a link being taken from the chain that lifts you from the footstool, and places you beside the throne. There will be then a solution of difficulties we cannot now explain—of perplexities we cannot now unravel — of experiences we cannot now fathom, and in the light in which Christ is we shall see and understand all things clearly; and we shall thank God that He refused many a prayer we offered, as we shall praise Him that He answered many an unworthy petition He himself inspired; and we shall marvel in the light that reveals all, and the splendour that solves all, and heritate to decide whether God showed us greater mercy in not answering, or in answering, many a prayer that we presented to Him. We shall praise God in louder tones, and with more joyous hearts, for what He did not give, though we asked it, than for what He did give in answer to our earnest petitions.

In that blessed state we shall meet, and recognise, and spend a joyful eternity with those we were severed from on earth. It is impossible to believe that those images of the departed dead that are treasured up in memory, as in a picturegallery, are to be expunged, and their memories cease for ever. Yes, they will be expunged, they will be forgotten; but it will be the images dissolving in the presence of the originals; it will be recollection fading before the actual presence of those we need no more to recollect, because we see them face to face. Then links wanting in domestic chains will be restored—those that are not lost, but gone before, will meet us — " and death-divided friends,” in the language of the beautiful paraphrase, “ at last shall meet to part no more.” We cannot suppose that we shall meet in heaven and not know each other: this seems impossible. There are — to use a strange word, but the only word that is applicable in every man's mind, as in every man's body — certain idiosyncrasies which constitute his personal identity. Let us refer to the most intimate friends that we have. We could suppose them unclothed, their bodies lying in the tomb, and their spirits only holding communion with us — yet we should know them. There is a tone of thought, a peculiarity of mental structure - idiosyncrasies of soul, and spirit, and heart in

each—that together constitute his identity so truly, that I could recognise him, not by his outward form, which is only the visible development, but by his inner, moral nature, which really and truly constitutes the man. So that even in heaven the disembodied spirits that are before the throne recognise each other; and far happier meetings than ever were permitted on earth take place there. But that recognition will be more perfect when the mortal shall put on immortality, and this corruptible shall put on incorruptibility; and the features that so gladdened us by their smile below, will be seen in a purer, holier, and happier realm ; and friend recount to friend, as the Israelites did when they met together, all the way that God led them for so many years: and how they were led through the desert, and kept the faith, and now wear, as the evidence and the proof of it, a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

When Christ shall cry, “It is done,” God will be glorified as He never was before. Now God is glorified by the cross really, but not to the same extent in which He will be glorified when Christ shall wear the crown. To glorify God is not to add anything to God, but simply to let Him be known. A finite being is glorified by having something added to him, but an infinite Being is glorified just by being revealed. The clearest apocalypse of Deity is the greatest glory to Deity. God is now seen in the cross, in the Scriptures, in, the experience of saints; but then He will be seen by the greatest number, surrounded with the greatest glory; and the song that rose from angel lips, and has been uttered with stammering tongues for eighteen hundred years, shall then be lifted up by a mighty multitude, as the sound of many waters and of mighty thunders: “Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, good will towards men.” “It is done.” “I am Alpha and Omega. Behold I make all things new."



What a blessed thought is embosomed in the Psalmist's words! One can see that the world would soon be reduced to chaos if any one swayed the sceptre except Him who is the Lord of heaven and of earth, the God, the Maker, and the Governor of all. Suppose these words, “The Lord reigneth,” were translated into modern speech; suppose we read, or rather that we heard from heaven, ringing as a divine communication that we could not but believe, “ The Autocrat of all the Russias reigneth.” Europe would be an aceldama, earth a desert, despotism would be supreme, and abject physical and moral slavery would be the portion of the largest part of the earth. Or, suppose the words were, “The Sultan reigneth.” We might have a little more civil freedom, but we should have no more religious comfort. The Crescent would supplant the Cross, the Koran would take the place of that pure and beautiful document the Bible; and the cimeter or the tribute would be the alternatives presented by the mufti, and extortion, oppression, or subjection, would be the portion of all the inhabitants of Asia and of Europe together. Or suppose that the words were, “The

« PreviousContinue »