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garden of Eden. The light of intelligence in the address, and the power of continuance in the promise: viz., 1st., Christ, as the holder of the seven stars in His right hand, walking in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; and, 2ndly., the Spirit promising to give to the overcomer to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. 1st. The light of the testimony of finished redemption spread abroad; and, 2nd., the practical hearer of it to enter into God's joy in the Fountain of life.
These are the termini of the Christian race-course. Behind me is Christ; and I am in the light of His sympathy, risen from the grave, fruit of the finished redemption; that is, the terminus from which I start: the terminus or goal toward which I run is the scene of God's delight in Christ as the tree of life in the midst of His own garden of delights.
Am I in this position as a mere man; drawing my strength from myself; trusting to my own intelligence, and the life of the living soul, and the power of its continuance? If so, all will be failure; for it will be, after all, but the trial of man, which always ends in failure. But, thank God, it is not so: I have an ear to hear Christ's gift. And, in the power of that grace, I can say, that if the beginning and the ending of the course both tell of creature-failure, both, likewise, tel) of how God, in redeeming love, can triumph in the midst of creaturefailure.
Light; its connection with life; Christ the alone organon of eternal life to man; and that life, the light of mnen, we have already looked at. The Christ, life-giving Spirit-or the Organon of eternal life is not, however, all we have to look at, because we have to ask "Who was this second Adam? Who was, personally, this Son of Man ?" The Son of God became Son of Man. And that which the Son of Man displayed, was that which had been, and was true of Him as Son of God.
3rdly. In other words, that which has been under consideration, leads to the question of the connection of creation, providence, and redemption, with the revelation made by God of Himself, with his motives, thoughts,
plans, and counsels therein. This would naturally divide itself into two parts, viz., redemption; Ist., in the gradual historie development of its various parts (used as the gradual development of it has been made, in time, for a testimony for God in government and in grace, before men, principalities and powers); and 2ndly. In the display of it when, being perfectly accomplished, it will fill heaven and earth with a fulness of God, that will force down into the pit below all that is not, in spirit, heart and principle, identified with God,—though the moulding of that which will then fill the heavens, will differ from
the form and fashion of that which will then fill the earth. The Spirit, all-pervading, in these scenes, will be the power to make God all in all in heaven above and on earth beneath ; but this will in nowise prevent the phase of the heavenly sphere, as a whole, telling out a tale fuller than the earth can tell out, and one of higher and more lofty themes too. When I read the address to Smyrna, as from Him that is “ The first and the last, and who became dead and lived," (v. 8); who encourages to be “ faithful unto death (of the body], and I will give thee a crown of life" [in resurrection-glory]; and who, by the Spirit, promises to the overcomer, that he “shall not be hurt of the second death,”—I get much of this third question suggested to me.
"The First and the Last.” The mercy of the Lord (says David, Psalm ciii.) is from everlasting to everlasting. The eternity behind ine is more ditficult to realize than the eternity which is before me. For I, according to the eternal life which the anointed Son of Man has already communicated to me, have tasted mercy, and learnt, through grace, many of the rich provisions for the future, which revelation points out by the word, as forethoughts of God for His people. To trace the stream from its source outward, and study its goings, and the amazing benefits it confers all through the wilderness, until it comes to the rich land, its own land, is a pleasant study. But the source, the spring,—there it has been ere ever I was, there it is—who can follow it up, and who can search it out to perfection? I know, however, now, One-a man-a living man, upon the
throne of God and the Father. Revealer He of the Father; and in whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. When I go forward into the history of the future-God's history - there, this same One, who is now upon the throne, is to be seen, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever! Inside of all that faith can realize as its own scene, is Himself the Centre of all; above all the wide universe this one is recognized as Head; and beyond all creation wide there He is. I look forward and see marks connected with Himself and own Him as the last. And because I know Him as He is, and the future is connected with Him as He is, I can apprehend many, inany a detail rich and glorious about it. But if in grace
he became manifest in flesh so as to be able to say, He that hath seen me hath seen the Father also; and if all that He has been and is, as Son of Man, is the perfect presentation of God and the Father to us—this is only so, because He, as God, was manifest in the flesh; and ere ever He became manifest, so that man could look upon,
handle, see Him: “He was with God and was God." " I look back, then, and in so far as I rightly know, the only begotten Son of the Father, Him who came full of grace and truth, and who manifested the Father, so far can I apprehend something about Him, as "the first” in the highest thought which it presents. I say the highest thought, because “ in all things,” He has the pre-eminence.
He is first, and has the pre-eminence in every way. It must be so (Col. i. 15-19). He has the pre-eminence in many ways. Who but He could sit upon the Father's throne? Who, but He, as having divine glory, could be worshipped as Son of Man, as our Lord and our God? Who had the pre-eminence in sorrow? Whose sorrows were like unto His? Who will be anointed with oil of joy and gladness above His fellows, save Himself? In all things, in every way,
the pre-eminence is surely His. And He can stand now MORE than half way across the gulf of time: individually He is altogether on the other side of the gulf: is He not to faith, too, on the other side of the gulf, and we in Him there? There He stands and speaks to a people who are passing through a measure of the experience of death and resurrection, through the deep floods of which He passed all alone. He speaks to them of His own strange mystery and experiences: He, the First and the Last (strange mystery, but true) became dead! and (then) lived! And He speaks to them of a crown of life being ready for those who will drop the body in faithfulness for His sake, and how Himself will be their shelter from the second death.
Oh, that we knew better how to see everything in His presence! Knew how to see ourselves (só little in ourselves) the care of such an one as He! Knew how to spread out our experiences of sorrow in His presence who suffered so much! Knew how to see time in the light of eternity; and Satan, the world, and the flesh, in contrast with the sphere in which Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, will fill all in heaven above, and in which faithfulness bere unto death will win there the crown of life, and shelter from the second death.
As a practical word I would ask my reader, instead of murmuring to man when under trial and endeavouring to escape the cross, to turn to the Lord Jesus alive, as Son of Man in Heaven, and to enumerate to Him all the contrasts between what His sorrows were, with what ours are. And oh, how little will our own then seein!
FRAGMENTS. 1. To many I would especially commend, at the present moment, the study of the parable of the sower (Mat. xiii.).
The word detected and proved the hostile character of Satan (ver. 4, 19);
the shallowness of the human mind (ver. 5, 20);
the choking character of the world (ver. 7, 22); as well as (blessed be God, for His unspeakable grace) that it was (ver. 8, 23), a life-giving, fruit-bearing seed in His own people.
2. The conversion of five thousand in a place would in nothing change the responsibility of a gathering of saints, to examine carefully the converts ere receiving them. For no excitement, as of a great and holy movement, can set aside responsibility, is to either the holiness of the House of God, or tender compassion toward the souls of men.
2. Every man's work will be tried of what sort it is : may piety, modesty and firmness increase and abound.
THE REVIVALS (SO-CALLED). When the Lord had, on the day of Pentecost, formed a new people for Himself, He not only added to the Church daily such as should be saved, but, as it was His people, He also displayed His own wisdom, and exercised His own grace, in the ways in which He governed, cared for, and enlarged, that people upon earth. His acts proclaimed His heavenly ways.
Our wisdom, as Christians, is to bring all our thoughts into the light of the Lord's presence, and there soberly to lay aside that which is not according to His word, and to take up that which is.
If my reader will open the Acts of the Apostles, and read it with attention, he will see, that not only did divine grace and heavenly power form a people for the Lord on the day of Pentecost, but that this people had peculiar marks upon them. These marks were especially theirs: 1st. The being gathered, through faith in the word about a crucified and earth-rejected Lord; 2nd. The presence among them and over them of the Holy Ghost.
They were a people clean outside of the world, debtors in nothing to the flesh, in direct conflict with Satan; and being such, they had heavenly stores and divine blessing as their portion. Present experiences, as proper to them, they had, so to speak, none. Full of faith and of the Holy Ghost; surely fed and cared for by God and Christ from on high; their whole to-morrow merged in the bright hope of their returning Lord; they were pilgrims and strangers here, because
sons and heirs of God and joint-heirs together with Christ. If we follow a Peter, or a Paul, or a John, through his course, faith gave, through grace and the Spirit's power,