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naked; we have not only to lay the foundations of truth and justice, in the lowest and in the highest places of society, to maintain the cause of the poor, to see that such as are in need and necessity have right; but surely it is also our Master's purpose that we should carry into their hard lives something of what gladdens ours. This world has little that is beautiful for these hard lives, the lives of those whose daily toil is far from the bright places of earth and sky; who have never seen the flowers grow in the fields and woods; whose hours pass in dulness and gloom and squalidness, whose homes, when men are strong, are in dreary courts and alleys, and when they are sick and old, in hospitals and workhouses; who live, so many of them, good and patient and kindly and beneficent lives, with so little of the outward brightness that so many of us have to cheer and interest and gladden us. They have, indeed, a claim on our sympathy. It is not the least. practical call and lesson of our Easter festival.
Easter makes all one, in the sense of our deliverance, in our ineffable hopes. Let us think how it may make us all more and more one, in the brightness which it brings with it, even now in our present life. Not in vain are the great festivals of our Lord's Presence with us-Christmas, Easter, Whitsuntide become our great popular holidays. It is not for ourselves, it is for the whole body of those for whom Christ died and rose again, that for their sakes and in their name, we, in a place like this,
offer to Him of our best, that we adorn His house with majesty and beauty, that we fill its courts with glorious music. For them, in such places as this, we understand that we are bound to meet their longings for what is beautiful— that mysterious sense of beauty which the Resurrection first made serious, and to which it gave a meaning. And we do well for they have the same future before them that we have. Their eyes, like ours, are destined to open one day on "the land that is very far off," on "the King in His beauty."-But let us not stop here. Let us, by any means that we can, carry into their lives some of that keen and high enjoyment, some of that discipline and refinement and elevation of spirit, which is given to many of us in such overflowing measure. It is, perhaps, little that we can do; little that we can teach; and, compared with other greater things, of little account in itself. But if it is only a witness of our sympathy, of our wish to impart what we delight in ourselves, it carries with it a blessing. The flowers by the bedside of the sick, the dull hours made bright by reading or song, the efforts, frank, generous, sincere, after unstrained and equal intercourse, as between man and man, are the "cup of cold water" offered to those whom Christ loves; till in time, perhaps, we may do more; till we, and still more those who come after us, and are better and wiser and stronger than we are, learn more and more, and are more and more able to teach others, to see in what is most
delightful and lovely here the earnests and foreshadowings of that Day, when He who is the Resurrection and the Life shall make all things new; when He shall change the body of our humiliation, the humiliation of weakness and disease. and sin, the humiliation of the ghastliness and wreck of death, into the likeness of the body of His glory; when the promise, fulfilled in the Head, shall be fulfilled in those of whom He is the Head"Wherefore my heart was glad and my glory rejoiced, my flesh also shall rest in hope. . . . Thou shalt show me the path of life; in Thy presence is the fulness of joy; and at Thy right hand there is pleasure for evermore." "As for me, I will
behold Thy presence in righteousness; and when I awake up after Thy likeness I shall be satisfied with it."
1 Dies venit, dies Tua,
Tua reducti dextera.
Brev. Rom. in Dominica Quadragesimæ, ad Laudes.
THE RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD
"The Firstborn from the dead."-COLOSSIANS i. 18.
IN these mysterious and awful words the Apostle describes Him who, after His agony and death and burial, rose again the third day from the dead, and whose resurrection brings us here to-day. That issue and result of the dwelling of the Son of God on earth fills St. Paul's mind with its wonder and its triumph. His Master is ever before his eyes as the One Person wearing our mortal nature, who by His own power, and for the first time, broke through the immemorial, universal law and rule of death. That overwhelming event haunts the thoughts of St. Paul, and supplies a preeminent title by which he speaks of the Master whom he serves, and the Saviour whom he adores. He was "the first that should rise from the dead, and should show light unto the people, and unto the Gentiles." He "" was declared to be the Son of God with power, ... by the resurrection from the dead." He was "the First-fruits of them that slept." He, as St. John, too, heard in his vision, was "the Faithful Witness and the First-begotten of the dead . . . the First and the Last, which was dead and is alive."
First in all
things in heaven and earth, He was first to bring into that nature and that race which He had redeemed, the deliverance it had so longed for from the bondage of the grave. He, says St. Paul, in his inspired effort to realise the truth, "is the image of the invisible God, the Firstborn of every creature : for by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers all things were created by Him, and for Him: and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist. And He is the Head of the body, the Church: Who is the beginning, the Firstborn from the dead, that in all things He might have the pre-eminence."
I. "The Firstborn from the dead "—" the Firstfruits of them that slept "-how familiar the words sound; and yet, I suppose, it is not always easy to bring home to feeling and thought the real meaning with which they are charged. It is not often that they make and leave on us the impression which they made on the mind of St. Paul. For there was a time-St. Paul had known it-when, however men hoped for immortality and resurrection, their experience had seen no warrant of it. The grave closed over the dead: the Psalm of trust, "Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell," the assurance of prophecy, "I know that my Redeemer liveth," "thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise"-was answered by the other voice, the wail of perplexity and uncomforted grief, “Dost