ページの画像
PDF
ePub

I re

world than bigotry will allow on the one hand, and there are fewer Christians in the world than latitudinarianism is pleased to think on the other hand. The eye of true charity can see Christians where the eye of the world can see none. The wings of love can cross breadths, and the feet of love can wade through depths, and find trophies of the power, and monuments of the mercy of God, unsuspected and unseen by the multitude of mankind. Our Lord says, “ Many shall come from the east and the west." joice in the prospect that the numbers of the saved will not be a few. The whole language of Christianity is, “Many shall be saved.” The language of the Apocalypse, (chap. vii.,) so beautiful and so rich with thoughts descriptive of the future, is, “I beheld, and lo, a great multitude which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.” And in the nineteenth chapter we read, “ 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 thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.” I observed in my Apocalyptic Sketches, that this alleluia, the first Hebrew word in Revelation, is the Jewish voice. It is at the destruction of Babylon, that the Jews shall return, and sing “ Alleluia.' And I may mention a very interesting fact — that the Jews were seen circulating the New Testament, and selling it in the streets of Rome, in 1848; and these Jews, although they did not believe in the gospel, were actually quoting 2 Thess. ii., and demonstrating that the pope is the antichrist, and that the Romans had better not let him come back, nor have any thing to do with him; as if a strong foreshadow of that day, when the voice of the Jew shall join with that of the Christian at the destruction of Rome, and shall say, “ Alleluia ! at length not antichrist, but the Lord God omnipotent reigneth."

We have an intimation, then, that a great multitude shall come from the east, and from the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of God. Notice here the identity of faith and the identity of love. Not sect, nor rite, nor nationality are the bonds of union and communion with each other. It is not said that only the circumcised, and bap

tized, or only the Jew shall come, or those that pronounce the same shibboleth, and worship in the same form; but it is said that many from the north, and the south, and the east, and the west, shall come, and, having the same Lord, the same faith, the same hope, the same joy, shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob. This teaches us what is the true bond of the unity of the church of Christ. It is not all using the same liturgy, or using the same forms, or worshipping in the same manner, or worshipping in the same place, or being under the same ecclesiastical government; but it is in all having the same centre-Christ; the same Father, whose children we are; the same Spirit, whose sanctified subjects we are.

Christ is called the Husband of his church. “ Husband

comes from two Saxon words, meaning “ house-bond.” The husband is the house-bond, and Christ is the great house-bond of his house-all bound and knit together, finding their unity in subjection to and in communion with him.

Thus, then, men of all classes, of all castes, of all forms of worship, shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob; men of every clime, the African from his burning sand, the Laplander from his everlasting snows.

The children of Shem, Ham, and Japheth, who met once in the ark, shall meet in Christ the true Ark, and sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob. Men of every political dynasty—the accomplished royalist and the stern republican, the subjects of good governments and the victims of bad ones, shall all meet together in heaven, for they have met in Christ; men of all ranks, from all circles, degrees, and positions in social life ; men of all kinds and degrees of intellect—the philosopher and the peasant,

6. He renown'd for ages yet to come,
And she not heard of half a mile from home,”

shall meet, if believers, and mingle in that glorious fellowship.

We are told that they shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob: that indicates perfect repose, perfect rest, the sabbath of the soul. The “rest that remaineth for the people of God” will have then begun; the soldier from the field of battle, the sailor from the restless deck, the mourner from his weeping, the martyr from his flame shroud—all, gathered together by the attraction of their common Lord, and pervaded by the sympathies of a common faith, shall sit down together with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob.

Notice, too, the dignity of it—they “ shall sit down." Servants stand ; kings and princes sit. God's people are to sit on thrones. “ They shall be,” says the apostle,“ kings and priests unto Christ."

Another idea is that of enjoyment. It will be a festival—a feast for the imagination, a theme for the intellect, a fête for the heart; all the faculties of man's soul will be feasted with things congenial to their nature. It will be the repose which all humanity, after its exile and its weary wanderings below, shall feel to be its home; and in which home-born joys, like swallows under a roof, shall nestle for ever.

And there will be not only dignity, and rich enjoyment, and true rest, but there will be recognition of each other. “ Sit down” with whom? With Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob. Can we sit with them, and not recognise them? Shall we know that the promise is performed, if we do not actually see those patriarchs, and feel that they are so? I hope when all the shadows of time shall have ceased, and the pulse of the first resurrec

« 前へ次へ »