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ment? In the teaching of our blessed Lord such reunion and recognition are assumed rather than frequently asserted. It may justly be said of human nature what is said of the law, “I am not come to destroy the law, but to fulfil it.” When Christ came to redeem us, He came not to alter the essentials of human nature, but to sanctify, to perfect, and to glorify them all. When Jesus comforted Martha He said—not “he is happy ; ” that would have been so far comfort; but He said, “thy brother shall rise again ;” not simply
” not simply “Lazarus shall rise again ;” but “thy brother.” As if to show that there would be the resurrection of the visible relationship as well as the resurrection of the dead man, He says, “Thy brother shall rise again.” Jesus says, “In my Father's house are many mansions." Heaven is represented as a home; all the saved are under one sheltering roof, and derive their joy from one common domestic hearthstone.
Will that perfect and holy family be the only family where all the inmates are strangers each to the other, and strangers to their common Father? If Jesus recognized those that were gathered round Him below, and they recognized each other, is it possible that they should be gathered round Him in glory, and fail to recognize one another ? When he says,
Many shall come from the east, and from the west, and sit down with Abraham, with Isaac, and Jacob,” will they be unconscious in whose presence they are? Will they fail to know that this is Isaac, and this
Jacob, and that Abraham ? Does not the fulfilment of the promise necessarily imply recognition, so that they who heard and believed the promise on earth may know that it is fulfilled in heaven?
Dark shadows in this dispensation mingle with and dim the sunniest scenes; winter encloses the dead summer in its mantle of snow as in a shroud. The loveliest and fairest things are in this economy the fleetest. The wail of sorrow, a melancholy minor wail, rises from all nature as if it were, as Paul describes it, in agony, groaning and travailing to be delivered. The sounds of nature, the bleating of sheep, the chimes of the waves, the noise of the winds, the rustling of trees, the hum of bees, the song of birds, are all on the minor key. What does this imply? The original key has been altered by sin. But a day will come when that melancholy minor shall be transposed into a grand and glorious major; and one vast anthem peal will ascend from a ransomed and redeemed world, like the noise of a great multitude and the voice of many waters, saying “Hallelujah; the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.” Deserts where all is bleak, and lands where all is barren-swamps in which all life dies, and burning sands in which grows no flower, deface that orb which God once pronounced very good. Thousands of hearts are daily crushed and chilled by sorrow, and what is worse than sorrow, sin; bearing burdens they can neither endure nor throw off : numbers lie in sunless lairs, in the agony of forlorn
hope, tasting every day the bitterness of death, with no sound of hope ringing in their hearts, and no sunshine from this world or the other breaking on the shores of their dreary and desolate souls. Surely such things never were meant to be; surely God, good, infinitely good, did not make these abnormal conditions. Did we believe that the earth as it is and our social condition as we feel it, were the original creation of Deity, we should be tempted to curse God and die.
But, blessed hope! when Christ returns, this nature which thus suffers shall be replaced on its original level, and clothed with more than its Eden glory. The sunny streaks that now struggle with the shadows shall at that day gain the supremacy ; and from the east to the west, from the pine forests of the north to the palm groves of the east, the earth shall be glorious and happy. Creation suffers in hope; for out of its darkest patches forelights of deliverance struggle into day; and streams of joy, like rivers broken loose from their icy chains in spring, shall yet rush along its long-dried channels, making sweet music evermore. Sin shall be extirpated from every soul and expelled from every portion of our physical economy. We have at present a very faint idea, just because we are accustomed to it, of the depth of the shadow which sin has projected over this world of ours, or of the fever it has created, or the unrest, disquiet, and paralysis, which it has stricken into all living material things. But at that
day sin shall be extirpated; the understanding shall regain its earliest brilliancy; the heart its long-lost love; conscience shall again be the realm of right and wrong; and into nature's most secret and sequestered nooks shall be poured in floods the sunshine of heaven ; and along its long-deserted channels shall roll the streams of that river that makes glad the city of our God; and on the cold heart of humanity shall be rekindled as on an altar the fire of love, and light, and joy which never shall be turned to ashes. Soul and body shall be restored, and the days of both, like the hours on the sun-dial, shall be measured only by sunshine.
In the future sunrise how beautiful will be earth's flowers! One sees nothing so lovely as flowers; and only feels grief because they wither so soon. How bright will be those stars that are the lamps of the sky and the lights to us! How glorious that harmony when wind and wave, perfectly united, mingle and blend together! How beautiful that sunshine in which is no excess of heat ; and how delightful that world which shall have no shroud of winter snow on its bosom; no bleak, nipping, March winds ; but all the loveliness of the equator without the excessive heats and storms, that interrupt and interfere with it. This earth has in it capacities of being the fairest orb in the universe; and it needs nothing but sin and its consequences to be eliminated from it, and the consecrating touch of the Redeemer to be felt by it; and the instant his footstep falls upon its
bosom every grave will give forth its dead; all sin will disappear like a mist before the morning sun; all things shall be made new; and in the language of that sublime prediction of what it will be, there will be “A new heaven and a new earth; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain ; for the former things have passed away.” And how magnificent what follows !-"I saw no temple therein ; for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city hath no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine on it; for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it; and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour to it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day; for there shall be no night there.”