Imatges de pÓgina
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in life. We must live in the grace of faith, hope, and love; or when our trial comes, we shall find our hearts fearful, doubtful, and shrinking. Let us more and more strive to see Him by faith, by the vision of our hearts, and to rest ourselves upon a full trust of His loving-kindness. Above all, let our labour and our prayer be, that we may love Him with a uniting and absorbing love. For what end did we come into this world, but that we might be united to Him eternally? What is the end for which we were redeemed, yea, by the foreknowledge of God created, but that we should be one with Him, as He is with the Father? The old creation was but a type of the new; the first espousals a shadow of that eternal marriage between the second Adam and the Church of the elect. Wonderful, and surpassing all thought and heart of man! Our spiritual sight is darkened before so great a splendour. What seems to us to be but a restoration is the ascent of a perfect work. The first is last, and the last first. "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created." "And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thun

1 Rev. iv. 11.

derings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God."

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1 Rev. xix. 6-9.

SERMON XXIII.

THE VISION OF BEAUTY.

"Thine eyes

ISAIAH XXXiii. 17.

shall see the King in His beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off."

THESE words are so plain a prophecy of the beatific vision in the kingdom of the resurrection, that we may pass over the earthly and typical fulfilment they have already received; and go at once to the thought of what shall be hereafter. Who is this King but He on whose head St. John saw many crowns; on whose vesture and on whose thigh was written the name of power: "King of kings and Lord of lords ?"

And "the land that is very far off;" what is it but that same of which Zechariah prophesied ? "The Lord their God shall save them in that day as the flock of His people; for they shall be as the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon His

land." It can be no other than the heavenly country, for love of which God's elect have lived as strangers in the earth-a land far away, over a long path of many years, up weary mountains, and through deep broken ways, full of perils and of pitfalls-through sicknesses, and weariness, sorrows, and burdens, and the valley of the shadow of death; world-worn and foot-sore, they have been faring forth, one by one, since the world began, "going and weeping." And there is already gathered a multitude which no man can number, in the last passes which ascend into "the land that is very far off."

These words, then, plainly promise to every follower of Christ, if he shall persevere unto the end, that in the resurrection he shall see the Lord Jesus Christ in His beauty, and in the glory of His kingdom.

Let us now endeavour reverently to meditate on this wonderful promise of bliss: and may the light of His Spirit cleanse our hearts to understand so much as is good for us to know; and may His pity keep us back from vain and rash thoughts of so high a mystery.

What, then, is this beauty which shall be revealed to all who attain that world and the resurrection of the holy dead?

1 Zech. ix. 16.

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1. First, it would seem to be the beauty of His heavenly court. Both from the elder prophets and from the revelation given to St. John, we know that there is a sphere and circuit of which the centre is His throne. Whether this be called "the heaven of heavens," or "the third heaven," or "eternity," or "the high and holy place," or "the light which no man can approach unto," or "mount Zion," or "the new heavens and the new earth," is all one: all these titles of majesty point to one and the same place a sphere of light and an orb of glory, of which prophets and apostles have had glances and reflections in ecstacy and rapture. “I saw the Lord sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by Him." "There was under His feet as it were a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness." "Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly." "I will take My rest," saith the Lord, "and consider in My dwelling-place like a clear heat upon herbs, and like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest."11

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