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of our military glory. The fleets and armies of this country have already dealt one downright blow at the power of the Tartar dynasty in China, and even now the sword of England is bared, and about to fall in the same quarter with sharper effect. The story of the great contest which was waged in the Crimea may be passed over with but a passing remark, for that is generally admitted to be a stern parenthesis in the loving records of the nineteenth century. The French, however, for twenty-five years of that time have been steadily occupied in pursuing the African hordes from one mountain-pass to another, while at the other extremity of that great continent we ourselves have waged two contests of extermination amid the bush of Caffreland. So far of the peaceful history of the Old World. In the New, peace can scarcely be said to have reigned during the piping times of that murderous miser Francia in Paraguay; nor precisely along the course and at the mouth of the River Plate; nor among the republics on the Pacific sea-board of South America ; nor in Mexico."
This is a darker and more desponding picture of the age than any sketched by the students of prophecy. But because unaffected by foregone theories, such a narrative will be believed by those on whose ears the words of prophecy fall without producing any degree of conviction or impression.
WHAT WE LOOK FOR.
We are to look for the advent of the Saviour. “My Lord delayeth His coming,” is the creed of too many professing Christians, just as “Where is the promise of His coming ?” is the cry of scoffers, and sceptics, and rationalists. It is no substitute for this blessed hope to say we watch for death. Nowhere in the inspired word—our only rule of faith, are we instructed to watch for death. What we think as a sufficient motive and aim must give way to what God has revealed as such in His inspired word. “Blessed are," not those who wait for death, but “those servants whom the Lord when He cometh shall find watching.”
The Church is likened to the bride looking for the return of the Bridegroom; to Him she feels she owes her state, her liberty, her holiness, her happiness, her all. She mourns over the fact and necessity of His absence—and “she seeketh Him whom her soul loveth,” and watches the signs of His coming as they that watch for sunrise. It is worthy of remark that
watching and waiting and looking for Christ's return is enjoined in Scripture in the most peremptory terms-eight times in the Gospels : Matthew xxiv. 42, 44; xxv. 13; Mark xiii. 33, 35, 37; Luke xii. 35—40; xxi. 36—-five times in the Epistles : 1 Thess. v. 1–6; Titus ii. 12, 13; James v. 7, 8; 1 Pet. iv. 7; 2 Pet. iii. 14-and twice in the Revelation of St John: Rev. ii. 3; xvi. 15. Each statement is embosomed in descriptions the most solemn and impressive.
The time when Christ returns is the time of restoration of all that is lost—the restitution of all that has been taken away-the reunion of the long separated—the time of the meeting again never to be broken up of the whole family of God. It will be the fulfilment of our deepest desires—the satisfaction of the restless and distempered heart--the balance and harmony of our now warring positions—the purification of the air and earth and ocean, the reflux of the tide of blessedness that ebbed away 6000 years ago, and the renewal of Eden in a world that lies in darkness and in the shadow of death. These are events embedded in Scripture promise that ought to be embosomed in our hearts, and prayed and longed for in our addresses to the throne of
“ Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.” In the New Testament predictions of the future we find scarcely any
reference to death as a motive force, or hope, or fear, in fact we have
little to do with death. Death is not once portrayed as an object of hope or joy, or an incentive to peace, or progress, or holiness, or conformity to Christ. The hope invariably set before us is Christ's personal advent; the constantly inspiring spring of joy is the promise that He will come. We have nothing to do with death but to defy him as a foe, or to make him welcome as Christ's anointed messenger; we are no more to look forward to the grave than to a sick-bed, to fever, or pestilence, or cholera; these are all the progeny of sin, over which we may triumph, and from which we shall lift our eyes and look up for the glorious appearing of Him who is the Resurrection and the Life, and who shall change our vile bodies that they may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, at that day when He shall come to be admired and glorified in all them that believe. It is only by giving the advent of Christ this supreme place in our affections, this glorious site in our horizon, that we can cherish a cheering and a bright hope in relation to the future. Why should we look forward to the grave, to the worm, to corruption, to death, to decay? These are dark and sepulchral things, and flesh and blood shrink from them with instinctive horror ; but we may and can more than overcome the fear and the approach of them, by looking at that rising Sun in whose rays they shall all be dissolved. If we look on a mountain-chain at sunrise we shall see that the sunbeams touch every
mountain-crag with rosy light, till they shine and sparkle in his brightening rays; but that the valleys between the hills are entirely hidden. So should we feel when we look into the future. Let us look intently at every salient point stated in every promise, gilded with the glory of the approaching sunrise ; but let death, and decay, and disease, and all that depresses and darkens, sink into the valley between, invisible. How musical are these words, and how sweetly do they ring by the graves of the dead, and in the hearts of the bereaved—“If we believe that Jesus died, and rose again; even so them that sleep in Jesus will He bring with Him!” What a glorious and cheering thought! Not only will Christ come; but, in the words of Zechariah, all his saints will come with Him. Those we committed to the silent grave will come to this
world of ours again; and at the grave in which we laid them they will put on the very robes we deposited there; no longer the clinging garments of decay, but coronation garments, bridal robes, this mortal putting on immortality, this corruptible incorruptibility, and death itself will be swallowed up in victory. The grave will not quench one feature that constitutes our identity. We shall leave nothing for the last fire except what we would wish to get rid of now; imperfection, sin, mortality, and decay. If, therefore, we desire -and who does not? for there is one freehold we all have, a grave; and there is property on earth that every one possesses, the dust that was once