Risen

“But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept.” 1 Corinthians 15:20

The resurrection of Christ is the pledge and earnest of the glorious resurrection of the believer. This great event—the crowning bliss of the church—has long been as a star of hope, on which the eye of faith has loved to gaze.

Continue reading “Risen”

March 24: When The Corruptible Puts On Incorruption

For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 1 Cor. 15:53

OUR present existence is one of deep humiliation and certain decay. In the strong and emphatic language of Scripture, this physical structure, which we adorn with so much care, and which others so extravagantly admire, is described as a “vile body,” as “corruption,” as “mortal.” Has the fact with many—perhaps, my reader, with you—become so common-place as to have changed its character, from one of the most affecting and humbling, to one the existence and contemplation of which awakens in the mind no deep and serious reflection? Have you grown so familiar with disease, and become so conversant with death—the inanimate clay, the shroud, the coffin, the hearse, the grave—those sad emblems of our mortality, as to feel sensible of no solemn emotions when the Holy Spirit brings the fact before the mind? Is it with you a light matter to die? Ah! death is no trifle; and he will find it so who knows not Him who is the “Resurrection and the Life.”

But, display the Stoic and act the philosopher as you may, give place to mirth and hilarity and thoughtlessness as you will, in all your vivacity, your pomp and power, you are mortal, and must die. “Dust you are, and unto dust shall you return.” You shall “say to corruption, You are my father; and to the worm, You are my mother and any sister.” To this humiliating end all are tending: and although some of our race move to the tomb in greater state and luxury than others, yet “The grave is my house” is the affecting exclamation of all. There the rich and the poor meet together—Dives and Lazarus side by side. “There the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest.”

Yet how few feel the solemnity and admit the force of this truth! How few pause to consider, that this body which they now pamper with such studied luxuriousness, and adorn with such refinement of taste, will before long need no clothing but the winding-sheet, no house but the coffin, and no home but the grave! And that so changed will be the countenance, once lined with beauty and radiant with thought—and so decayed the body, once so graceful and athletic—that those who regarded it with the fondest love, and even worshiped it with the deepest devotion, will be the first to exclaim, “Bury my dead out of my sight.”

Oh, how dire the humiliation of our present existence! “The body is dead because of sin.” But there glows around the grave of the believer in Jesus the halo of a blessed hope. “He that raised up Christ rom the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies.” No pomp or circumstance may attend him to the tomb, no marble monument may rear its chiseled form to record his virtues, to perpetuate his name, or mark the spot where his ashes repose. Those ashes the ocean’s cave may contain; his only tombstone the crested billows; his only requiem, chanted to the wild sea-bird, the solemn music of the waves as they dash and die upon the shore—but He sleeps in Jesus, and slumbering thus, his flesh rests in hope of a glorious resurrection and a blissful immortality. What a new and impressive character does Christianity give to the entire scene of the believer’s departure out of this world to go unto the Father!

To the eye of sense, the outer door of the tomb appears hideous and for bidding. The deadly nightshade and the overshadowing ivy entwine darkly and thickly over its dismal arch, while the trail of the worm and the time-gathered mold upon its bars deepen the air of its repulsiveness. But viewed by faith, how changed that tomb! As seen by its piercing eye, it is all radiant around, and all refulgent within. The Redeemer has been there, touching and gilding all with life and glory. And when the inner door opens upon heaven, what a scene of grandeur bursts upon the spirit’s view! Glory, streaming from above, bathes it in its celestial beams, and lights its pathway to the skies. This is the tomb of a believer in Jesus. No; it is no longer a tomb—it is a triumphal arch, all radiant and garlanded, through which the spiritual conqueror, laden with the spoils off his last victory, passes, amid the acclaim of angels and the welcomings of kindred spirits, to his crown and his rest.

March 21: Broken Cisterns Of Creature Idolatry

Also, you son of man, shall it not be in the day when I take from them their strength, the joy of their glory, the desire of their eyes, and that whereupon they set their minds, their sons and their daughters, That he that escapes in that day shall come unto you, to cause you to hear it with your ears? Ezekiel 24:25-26

WHAT is the history of creature idolatry, but a mournful record of beautiful and inviting cisterns of happiness, which, nevertheless, God has destroyed. This is a wide and an affecting circle. We enter it cautiously, we allude to it feelingly and tenderly. We touch the subject with a pen that has often sought (though in much feebleness it is acknowledged), to comfort the mourner, and to lift the pressure from the bowed spirit. We enter the domestic circle—oh! what beautiful cisterns of creature good, broken and empty, meet us here!

The affectionate husband, the fond wife, the devoted parent, the pleasant child, the faithful friend, laid low in death. They were lovely cisterns, and the heart loved to drink from them its bliss. But lo! God has smitten, and they are broken, and the sweet waters have passed away! Was there not a worshiping of the creature, rather than the Creator? Was not the object deified? Was not the attachment idolatrous? Did not the loved one occupy Christ’s place in the heart? Ah! the wound, the void, the desolateness, the lonely grief of that heart, but too truly tell who was enthroned upon its strongest and its best affections.

Turn every loss of creature-good into an occasion of greater nearness to Christ. The dearest and loveliest creature is but a cistern—an inferior and contracted good. If it contains any sweetness, the Lord put it there. If it is a medium of any blessing to your soul, Jesus made it so. But do not forget, beloved, it is only a cistern. And what more? Shall I wound you if I say it? Tenderly do I speak—and if, instead of leading you to, it draws you from, the Fountain, in unerring wisdom, in tender mercy, and in faithful love, the Lord will break it, that you might learn, that while no creature can be a substitute for Him, He Himself can be a substitute for all creatures. Thus His friendship, His love, and His presence are frequently the sweetest, and the most fully enjoyed, when He has taken all things else away.

Jesus loves you far too much to allow another, however dear, to eclipse and rival Him. “The day of the Lord will be upon all pleasant pictures,” and then the poor, imperfect copy will retire, and give place to the divine and glorious Original; and God in Christ will be all in all.

March 15: The Bridegroom Comes

Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife has made herself ready. Rev. 19:7

“Behold, the Bridegroom comes!” Jesus sustains no relation to His Church more expressive than this. From all eternity He betrothed her to Himself, and forever. He asked her at the hands of her Father, and the Father gave her to Him. He entered into a covenant that she should be His. The conditions of that covenant were great, but not too great for His love to undertake. They were, that He should assume her nature, discharge her legal obligations, endure her punishment, repair her ruin, and bring her to glory. He undertook all, and He accomplished all—because He loved her.

The love of Jesus to His Church, is the love of the most tender husband. It is single, constant, affectionate, matchless, wonderful. He sympathizes with her, nourishes her, provides for her, clothes her, watches over, and indulges her with the most intimate and endearing communion. “Christ also loved the Church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” Reader, know you what this union with Jesus is? Apart from its experience, pride not yourself upon any other union. The dearest, choicest ties of human affection are but as brittle glass. They are easily broken, and soon destroyed. No union, but that which is with Jesus, and in Jesus, extends beyond the grave. He must share in every tie of creature love, if it be holy and permanent.

Do not think that the union of holy hearts is dissolved by death. Oh no!—death does not sever, death unites the sanctified. The bonds of the holy are beyond his ruthless power to break. The love which the image of Jesus, reflected in His people, inspires, is as deathless as the love of Jesus Himself; it is as immortal as their own redeemed, transformed, and glorified nature. But the Lord Jesus will come in the clouds of heaven, and this will be the occasion of His public espousal of His Church. Her present union to Him is secret and unknown—invisible to the world, and often concealed to herself. But He will appear, openly and visibly to take her to Himself; and before His Father and the holy angels He will solemnize her eternal union.

Oh what a time of splendor and of rejoicing will that be! Arrayed in His nuptial robes, Jesus will descend to make her His own; and she, “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband,” will go forth to meet Him. Then will be heard the song of angels, “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife has made herself ready.” Yes! “Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.” May the writer and the reader, through grace, sit down together there!

February 19: A Day Like Earth Never Saw

Until the day dawn. 2 Peter 1:19.

THERE awaits the believer such a day as earth never saw, but as earth will surely see—the daybreak of glory. Oh, what a day is this! It will be “as the light of the morning, when the sun rises, even a morning without clouds.” Grace now yields its long-held empire, and glory begins its brilliant and endless reign. The way-worn “child of the day” has emerged from the shadows of his pilgrimage, and has entered that world of which it is said, “there shall be no night there.” Contemplate some of the attributes of this day of glory.

It will be a day of perfect knowledge. When it is said that there will be no night in heaven, it is equivalent to the assertion that there will be no intellectual darkness in heaven; consequently there will be perfect intellectual light. It is said that we shall then “know every as also we are known.” The entire history of God’s government will then be spread out before the glorified saint, luminous in its own unveiled and yet undazzling brightness. The mysteries of providence, and the yet profounder mysteries of grace, which obscured much of the glory of that government, will then be unfolded to the wonder and admiration of the adoring mind.

The misconceptions we had formed, the mistakes we had made, the discrepancies we had imagined, the difficulties that impeded us, the controversies that agitated us, all, all will now be cleared up—the day has broken, and the shadows have fled forever. Oh, blessed day of perfect knowledge, which will then give me reason to see that all the way along which my God is now leading me, through a world of shadows, is a right way; and that where I most trembled, there I had most reason to stand firm; and that where I most yielded to fear, there I had the greatest ground for confidence; and that where my heart was the most collapsed with grief, there it had the greatest reason to awaken its strings to the most joyous melody.

It will be a day of perfect freedom from all sorrow. It must be so, since it is written, that “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 are passed away.” What a cluster of sweet hopes is there! What a collection of bright beams, throwing, in focal power, their splendover that cloudless day! Child of sorrow! sick ones dear to Christ! bereaved mourners! hear you these precious words, and let music break from your lips! God will dry your tears. As the mother comforts her sorrowing one, so God will comfort His. Yes, child of grief, there will be no more weeping then; for—oh, ecstatic thought!—”God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” And “there shall be no more death.”

No more rending asunder of affection’s close and tender ties; no more separations from the hearts we love; the mourners no more go about the streets; for death is now swallowed up in victory! “Neither sorrow, nor crying.” Grief cannot find existence or place in an atmosphere of such bliss. No frustrated plans, no bitter disappointments, no withered hopes, no corroding cares, there mingle with the deep sea of bliss, now pouring its tide of joyousness over the soul. “Neither shall there be any more pain.” Children of suffering! hear you this. There will be no more pain racking the frame, torturing the limbs, and sending its influence through the system, until every nerve and fibre quivers with an indescribable agony. “The former things are passed away.”

It will be a day of perfect freedom from all sins. Ah! this methinks will be the brightest and sweetest of all the joys of heaven. The Canaanite will no more dwell in the land. Inbred corruption will be done away; the conflict within us will have ceased; no evil heart will betray into inconsistencies and sorrows; not a cloud of guilt will tarnish the unsullied purity of the soul. You holy ones of God! weeping, mourning over indwelling and outbreaking sin, the last sigh you heave will be a glad adieu to pollution—to be tormented with it no more, to be free from it forever. “I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with your likeness.”

This is heaven indeed.

February 9: A Holy Heaven

And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness: the unclean shall not pass over it; but the redeemed shall walk there. Isaiah 35:8, 9

HEAVEN is the abode of a renewed people; it is a holy place, and the home of the holy; and before the sinner can have any real fitness for heaven, any well-grounded hope of glory, he must be a partaker of a nature harmonizing with the purity, and corresponding with the enjoyments, of heaven. Heaven would be no heaven to a carnal mind, to an unsanctified heart. Were it possible to translate an unconverted individual from this world to the abodes of eternal glory, overwhelmed with the effulgence of the place, and having no fellowship of feeling with the purity of its enjoyments, and the blessedness of its society, he would exclaim—”Take me hence—it is not the place for me—I have no sympathy with it—I have no fitness for it—I have no pleasure in it.” Solemn thought!

But the Christian is a renewed creature—he is a partaker of the Divine nature; he has sympathies, affections, and desires, imparted to him by the Spirit, which assimilate him to the happiness and purity of heaven. It is impossible but that he must be there. He possesses a nature unfit for earth, and congenial only with heaven. He is the subject of a spiritual life that came from, and now ascends to, heaven. All its aspirations are heavenly—all its breathings are heavenly—all its longings are heavenly; and thus it is perpetually soaring towards that world of glory from where it came, and for which God is preparing it. So that it would seem utterly impossible but that a renewed man must be in heaven, since he is the partaker of a nature fitted only for the regions of eternal purity and bliss.

But what is it that gives the Christian a valid deed, a right of possession, to eternal glory? It is his justification by faith through the imputed righteousness of Christ. This is the only valid title to eternal glory which God will admit—the righteousness of His dear Son imputed to him that believes. Here is the grand fitness of a poor, lost, polluted, undone sinner; the fitness that springs from the spotless righteousness of the Lord Jesus, “who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” “He has made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”

Behold, then, beloved, the high vantage-ground on which a saint of God stands, with regard to his hope of heaven. He stands out of his own righteousness in the righteousness of another. He stands accepted in the Accepted One, he stands justified in the Justified One, and justified, too, by God, the great Justifier.

The spiritual life which God has breathed into our souls will never rest until it reaches its full and perfect development. Deep as are its pulsations, holy as are its breathings, it is yet but in its infancy, compared with that state of perfection to which it is destined. The highest state of sanctification to which the believer can arrive here is but the first dawn of day, contrasted with the “far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,” which will burst upon him in a world of perfect holiness. Heaven will complete the work which sovereign grace has begun upon earth. Heaven is the consummation of the spiritual life of the believer.

February 7: Through A Glass Darkly

I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with your likeness. Psalm 17:15.

THE beatific vision has brought the believer’s whole soul into the most perfect harmony with God. He is satisfied with the character and perfections of God, which now unfold their grandeur without a cloud, and fill the soul without a limit. “Now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” An angel’s sight, and an angel’s knowledge, enkindle an angel’s fervor; and as growing discoveries and endless illustrations of the Divine perfections increase with eternity, glory, honor, and thanksgiving to Him who sits upon the throne will be the saint’s undying song.

He is satisfied, too, with all God’s providential dealings with him in the world he has passed. The present is the repose of faith—and faith can say, amid scenes of perplexity and peril, of obscurity and doubt, “It is well”, trusting in the wisdom and faithfulness of God. And yet how difficult often do we find it to trace God’s design, or connect His strange dealings with a wise purpose or a gracious end. We cannot unravel the web. Is it not so, my reader? Let faith look back upon the past of your life, not to revive its painful emotions, but that with steadier wing and bolder flight it may bear you forward.

That dark cloud of sorrow that settled upon your fair prospects—that blast of adversity that swept away riches—that stroke of providence that tore from your sight the wife of your youth, or hurried the child of your hopes prematurely to the grave, or that placed the friend of your bosom, the companion of your hours, into darkness—or that came near to your own person, and arrested you with disease—you pause and inquire, Why is it thus? Ah! the full answer you may never have in this world—for faith must have scope; but, by and by, if not here, yet from a loftier position and beneath a brighter sky, and with a stronger vision, you shall look back and know and understand, and admire it all, and “shall be satisfied.”

The glorified are satisfied, too, with the conduct of God’s grace. If there is often inexplicable mystery in providence, there is yet profounder mystery in grace. Loving him as God does, yet that He should hide Himself from His child; hating sin, yet allowing its existence, and permitting His children to fall under its influence; leaving them often to endure the fiery darts of Satan, and to tread dreary paths, cheerless, starless—the sensible presence of the heavenly Guide withdrawn, and not a voice to break the solemn stillness or to calm the swelling wave—ah! this is trying indeed!—But all, before long, will be satisfactorily explained. Now the glorified see how harmonious with every principle of infinite holiness and justice, truth and wisdom, was God’s scheme of redeeming mercy; and that it was electing love, and sovereign mercy, and free favor, that made him a subject of grace on earth, and an heir of glory in heaven.And as he bends back his glance upon all the way the Lord his God brought him the forty years’ travel in the wilderness—traces the ten thousand times ten thousand unfoldings of His love—the love that would not and the power that could not let him go—the faithful rebukes, the gentle dealings, the unwearied patience, and the inexhaustible sympathy of Jesus, with what depth of emotion and emphasis of meaning does he exclaim, “I am satisfied!”

The saints are satisfied, too, with the heaven of glory to which they are brought. They awake up in God’s likeness. Positively and perfectly holy, positively and perfectly happy, actually with Christ, and contemplating, with an intellectual and moral perception all unclouded, the glory of God, how completely satisfied is he with the new world of purity and bliss, of light and splendor, into which his ransomed spirit sprung! The last earthly passion has died away, the last remnant of corruption is destroyed, the last moan of suffering and sigh of sorrow is hushed in the stillness of the tomb; the corruptible has put on incorruption, the mortal has put on immortality, and the glorified spirit stands amid the throng of holy and adoring ones who encircle the throne, and swells the universal an them—”He has done all things well.”

December 31: Parting Words For The Year Gone By

“Father, I will that they also, whom you have given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory.” John 17:24

As suffering precedes glory, so glory assuredly follows suffering. Thus was it with our Lord. “Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?” Our Lord is in glory!

The head that once bowed in death, pale and bleeding, is now raised in life, encircled with a glory brighter than ten thousand suns. The humanity that was despised from the lowliness of its birth, that was mocked, and scourged, spit upon, and slain, is now, from its indissoluble union with the Deity, exalted far above principalities and powers, glorified with the glory He had with the Father before the world was. Having purged our sins, He is set down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.

To that glory which belongs to Him as the Mediator of the church, each suffering confessor of Christ shall be exalted—the body with the Head, and each part of that body with the whole. A joint-heirship of suffering, it is now a joint-heirship of glory: “We shall be glorified together” with Christ. Still the oneness is manifest, and never so clearly seen as now. Glory bathes it in its light, and eternity impresses it with its seal. It is an undimmed and changeless glory. And Christ acknowledges their right to this oneness in glory.

As they were not ashamed of Him among men, He is not now ashamed of them among angels. As they linked themselves to His cross, He leads them to His throne. As they confessed Him before the world, He now confesses them before His Father: “Glorified together.” Wondrous words! Elevated to His side—leaning upon His bosom—gazing on His beauty—listening to His voice—entering into His joy—at home, and forever with the Lord. Now is answered in its fullness, the prayer mingled with tears, breathed from the scene of His suffering below—”Father, I will that they also whom You have given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory.” Welcome the suffering, succeeded by such glory! Welcome the cross, followed by such a crown!

Let us learn to regard our present tutorage as preparatory to our future inheritance. “The heir, as long as he is a child, differs nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; but is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.” Thus it is with us. But soon we shall attain our majority, and come into possession of our estate. Before long we shall have done with governors and tutors, and need no more the lessons of the school, and the discipline of suffering.

Oh, let us live in its near anticipation. To the poor of Christ’s flock, how animating the prospect! “Has not God chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which He has promised to those who love Him.” What though straitened resources, pinching poverty, or even absolute want, be your present allotment; lift up your heads with joy, for you have a joint-heirship with Christ in a kingdom which your heavenly Father will give. Confide in its security: it is made sure to you by Divine oath; “Wherein God willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath.”

Thus inalienably is it secured. Death, which robs the earthly heir of his inheritance, puts you in possession of yours. Your estate comes not to you robed in mourning, for your Father never dies. No succession awaits you, for your inheritance is yours forever. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time.”

With consolations so rich, and with a hope so glorious, let us close the year through which we have traveled, with a feeling of thanksgiving and with a song of praise. We will thank God for all the way He has led us, chequered though it may have been; and we will trust Him for life’s future, dark and uncertain though it may appear. We have found Christ enough for all the past—loving, faithful, wise, He is enough for the present; and we are quite sure all that He has been He will again be—”Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Before another year begins, or closes, we may be with Jesus forever!

“Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly!” Your love will fill our hearts, Your beauty will engage our thoughts, and Your praise will employ our tongues, through eternity.

November 27: More Than Conquerors

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” Romans 8:37

The apostle had enumerated certain things which, to the obscure eye of faith, and to the yet obscurer eye of sense, would appear to make against the best interests of the Christian, regarded either as evidences of a waning of Christ’s love to him, or as calculated to produce such a result.

He proposes an inquiry—”Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?”—and then proceeds to give the reply. That reply sets the question entirely at rest. He argues, that so far from the things which he enumerates shaking the constancy of Christ’s love, periling the safety of the Christian, or shading the luster of His renown, they but developed the Savior’s affection to him, more strongly confirmed the fact of his security, and entwined fresh and more verdant laurels around his brow. “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors.”

“Through Him that loved us.” Here is the great secret of our victory, the source of our triumph. Behold the mystery explained, how a weak, timid believer, often starting at his own shadow, is yet “more than a conqueror” over his many and mighty foes. To Christ who loved him, who gave Himself for him, who died in his stead, and lives to intercede on his behalf, the glory of the triumph is ascribed. And this is the song he chants: “Thanks be to God, which gives us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Through the conquest which He Himself obtained, through the grace which He imparts, through the strength which He inspires, through the intercession which he presents, in all our “tribulation and distress, and persecution, and famine, and nakedness, and peril, and sword,” we are “more than conquerors.” Accounted though we are as “sheep for the slaughter,” yet our great Shepherd, Himself slain for the sheep, guides His flock, and has declared that no one shall pluck them out of His hand. We are more than conquerors, through His grace who loved us, in the very circumstances that threaten to overwhelm.

Fear not, then, the darkest cloud, nor the proudest waves, nor the deepest needs—in these very things you shall, through Christ, prove triumphant. Nor shrink from the battle with the “last enemy.” Death received a death-wound when Christ died. You face a conquered foe. He stands at your side a crownless king, and waving a broken scepter. Your death shall be another victory over the believer’s last foe. Planting your foot of upon His prostrate neck, you shall spring into glory, more than a conqueror through Him that loved you.

Thus entering heaven in triumph, you shall go to swell the ranks of the “noble army of martyrs”—those Christian heroes of whom it is recorded, “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb.”

November 25: Vessels Prepared For Glory

“And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, even us, whom he has called, not of the Jews only, but also
of the Gentiles.” Romans 9:23, 24

Let us for a moment transport our thoughts to the future. The future! oh, how bright it is, and full of blessing, to the “vessels of mercy afore prepared unto glory”! The grace, ceasing on earth, is now succeeded by “an exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” He who has tasted that the Lord is gracious shall assuredly see that the Lord is glorious. “How may we know,” is often a trembling inquiry, “that our departed friends are with Jesus?” Were they partakers, in the most limited degree, of the grace of Jesus? then, their safety is beyond all doubt.

The grace which they possessed was the seedling, the germ, the first-fruits of glory. The light which illumined their souls was the twilight dawn of heaven. It was utterly impossible that germ could die, or that light could be extinguished. It was as imperishable and as immortal as God Himself. The weak grace battled with sin, and the feeble light struggled with darkness, but both conquered at last. There they are—”standing on the sea of glass,” chanting the high praises of the grace that brought them there. Yonder they are—in the Father’s house, in the Savior’s mansions; they conflict no more; they weep no more; they hunger and thirst no more; for He who once gave them grace, now gives them glory. “Grace is glory militant, and glory is grace triumphant; grace is glory begun, glory is grace made perfect; grace is the first degree of glory, glory is the highest degree of grace.”

Lift up your heads, you, gracious souls! Heaven is before you, and your full redemption draws near. “The Lord is at hand.” His coming is near. That “blessed hope” of the church, His “glorious appearing,” will soon be realized, bursting upon your soul in all its blissful splendor, and then you shall be perfectly like, and forever with, the Lord. But should you go to Him, before He returns to you—for if Jesus does not come for you, He will send for you—fear not to descend the dark valley, already trodden by your Lord and Savior. Dying grace is bound up in the covenant of grace; and Jesus, full of grace, to the last moment, will be there to dispense it to your need, His left hand under your head, and His right hand embracing you.

His aged saints are the especial objects of God’s loving, tender, faithful care. Lean, in all the decrepitude of years, in all the weakness, pain, and tremulousness of advanced age, in all the fears, misgivings, and becloudings of life’s close, upon this Divine rod and staff. Now that you are old and grey-headed, your God will not forsake you. Rest in the faithfulness of God, lean upon the finished work of Jesus, and hope on for the glory so soon to be revealed.

Let your believing prayer be, “Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength fails.” And God’s faithful answer will be, “Even to your old age I am He; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you.”