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“ Ten thousand thousand are their tongues,
But all their joys are one.” “ Jesus is their glorious theme,
Every eye is fixed on Him." And, were the heavenly order to be disarranged by individual greetings, or personal recognitions, it would disturb the harmony, displace the equality, destroy the peaceful unity, distract the soul's fixity, and thus deduct from Christ's glory.
Furthermore, that which the “sons of men (so foreviewed) everlastingly were in Christ, known and named of Him before the world began, that they will be in Him when the world shall be no more. Eternity to come, is eternity past completed; the fulness and perfection of all the holy will of God in Christ Jesus for ever, and saints redeemed will enter heaven to enjoy that primeval glory they lost in the “first Adam,” but regain in the "Second.” And this is what God will “restore” to His everlastingly-chosen people at the resurrection of the just; when, being “gathered together in one,” they will all be one, as "without partiality here, without preference hereafter. Everlasting Love loves all alike; and the equally loved will equally love. Heaven is the prepared and appointed place for the great and grand consummation of all things; and the fruition of celestial bliss will be to have Christ's joy fulfilled in us, and not our joys fulfilled in one another (John xvii. 13). The ground of our perpetual rejoicings in glory will be in the completion of salvation's work, and the crowning of Him who wrought it (Rev. v. 9—13). And as “He shall see of the travail of His soul, and be satisfied,” so, when we awake
up in His likeness,” we shall be satisfied too; not in seeing those we have known and loved on earth, but in seeing Him, and that,
as He is :" and I hope my tearless eyes in glory will be everlastingly fixed on Jesus, the Absorbent of all attraction, the concentration of all beauty, the centre and source of all perfection, the fulness and fountain of all real joy and peace.
May I but safely reach my home,
My God, my heaven, my all.” Now these were some of the soul-reviving truths that sanctified our minds unto acquiescence in the will of God at the otherwise irreconcilable prospect of the parting that was before us. And as they are “ the things of God," which can only be known by the “Spirit of God," I believe it was through having the “earnest” of this Spirit in his heart, that my son Josiah was led to see in Jesus “all his salvation ;" and, as a consequence,
66 all his desire." So that he could say with David, “Whom have I in heaven but thee?” And it was delightful to know (as we gathered from this conversation at his request) that his latter moments were neither embittered with the thought of leaving us below, or buoyed up with the fallacious hope of meeting us again individually and preferentially above. For being well read and taught in the Scriptures of eternal truth, he, with ourselves, could see nothing but creature-fondness in the desire (Matt. xx. 22) or curious speculation in the idea (Matt. xxii. 24—28). Nor do we find any of the Old Testament saints indulging in the thought of such future self-interested gratification ;* they buried their dead out of their sight, and never said a word on the subject more,
* See also an anecdote in Old Jonathan for June, headed “Seeing Jesus” (page 43).
other than as of themselves in due time going down to meet them in the grave (Gen. xxxvii. 35; 2 Sam. xii. 13). Nor will such allegorical figures as the "rich man and Lazarus” form a solid ground for faith, whilst the prospect presented to the sight of Job was not to meet his “three friends or his children in heaven, but God his Redeemer; and “whom” he adds, “I shall see for myself, and not another;" and this is the desire of every saint, and which will constitute the “joy unspeakable” of the whole glorified body of Christ, when it is “full of glory” through Him. And it was in this selfsame spirit that the apostle Paul spake when he said, “Then shall I know even as I am known;" meaning, then shall I know God, even as I am known of God; for at the same time he observes, “Here we see through a glass darkly, but there face to face” xiii. 12). Yes, "face to face," beloved; think of that. Our face to the face of God, and we not ashamed; seeing Him who is now invisible, with a perpetually benignant smile, at our bedecked and adorned appearance in Christ. Surely this will absorb all the powers of the soul! this will wholly captivate the mind, and form the one eternal charm complete of all the saved elect. Indeed, I believe such will be the perfect unanimity of thought, desire, and sanctified will in the redeemed; such the even oneness of the whole ransomed body of Christ, that they will all see "eye to eye,” and “sing together" (Isa. lii. 8, 9).
“With equal love their souls inflame
The same their joy, their song the same." Such were some of our bedside thoughts and remarks upon the coming glories of the eternal world ; we were each of us led to see that when made "complete in Christ” all the perfect powers of our souls (as part of the redeemed body of Christ) would be wholly and equally drawn unto Himself. And therefore in reading the Scriptures we could not but view the oft-repeated terms of “heaven” and “earth” as chiefly employed to distinguish merely between the things of nature and of grace, as they severally belong to their distinct kingdoms below (1 Cor. viii. 6). And even here the subject breaks open very blessedly to the mind, for to be children of Abraham in the flesh we must have Abraham in the flesh to our father; whereas to be children of faithful Abraham in the spirit, we must be “born of God," and thus belong to His seed, which is Christ (Gal. iii. 16). In like manner the natural is lost in the spiritual, when we view the “ brother,” the “sister," and the “mother,” as all being absorbed in the one obedient disciple of Christ. And here my son comes before me in the fellowship of God's Son, which makes us equal in the bonds of both relationship and love. And this brings contentment and quietude to the mind; and therefore, though sweet indeed is the memory of one so dear, and bitter to nature is the thought of giving up those we so fondly love, yet must our affections," however tender and strong, not only be brought into subjection to the obedience of Christ, but be "crucified” for our good : that He who is to us the “hope of glory now, may be glory's happiness unto us hereafter. How otherwise shall we say to the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity,
• No love but Thine can make me blest,
Or satisfy my heart?” Seeing, then, that this joy of our Lord's, which admits of neither addition, subtraction, estrangement, nor diversion, though it does of completion,
and is therefore “yet to be revealed;" seeing also that in the "heaven of heavens" with the “Father of spirits," " who maketh His angels spirits,” that we shall be wholly spiritual too; that Christ glorified is to be the one inheritance of all the saints in light, and that the Lord's highpriestly portion is His people for ever,
let us seek even here upon earth to walk more in the Spirit than in the flesh, more in truth than in idea, more to God than to man: then shall we sit at His feet and learn of Him, and it will assuredly suffice for us to know that in the kingdom of glory on high we shall be “as the angels of God” (Matt. xxii. 30).
Nor shall my soul seek aught above,
(To be concluded in our next.)
VICTORY OVER SICKNESS, SORROW, AND DEATH. DEAR MR. EDITOR,—What the glorious Mediator hath said (Luke xii
. 3) has been impressed upon my mind, while calling to remembrance the life, sufferings, and death of that dear child of God, Mrs. Johns. It was by your desire, in the year 1860, that I called upon her, and found her very ill, confined to her bed in a consumption, of which malady her husband had died a few months before.
I said to her, “ There is a skilful Physician that I know, who has, and does when He pleases, heal all manner of diseases, both of body and soul. What a blessed thing it would be for you, if you were brought to know Him. Then would you with confidence roll yourself, with all your wants, in all your weaknesses upon Him. And although it may not be His pleasure to heal your bodily disease; yet sure I am that He will heal your soul's diseases, when you have been made to feel and know them." Since that first interview, I have many times thought upon this dear sufferer, and how she turned, and looked upon me with a smile, saying, "Oh, sir, I know Him of whom you are speaking. Yes, sir, I know that wonderful Physician. But I did not know Him, until I went into the wooden church, and heard that man of God who preaches there. It was there, in that wooden building, the Lord was pleased to reveal Himself to me; He still continues, under my sufferings, to reveal Himself in His loveliness. Ah,” she said, “ many of my neighbours chide me for going to sit under the same minister, and they say to me, 'What a fool you are, to go and hear that narrow-minded man, who preaches up election, and will not give people a chance of being saved. Had you stayed with us, or did you go to any other church, you would have many gifts ; but the gentry will not give you anything, if you go to hear that man." Her reply to these lovers and seekers of the loaves and fishes
was, "I do not go to church for worldly gain, but I go there to get food for my soul.” But these belly, God worshippers
, never having felt and known the pinch and pain of soul-hunger, made sport of the truthful statement of this dear woman.
For wise purposes, in tender pity, the Lord blessed the use of those remedies employed, and the dear sufferer, contrary to all human expecta
tion, revived, and was in a little measure restored, so as to leave her room, and again to walk to the house of God.
After this, her daughter, then about twelve years old, was prostrated like her mother, and after, months of suffering, was removed, to see and be with Him she would often call her loving Jesus. After her death, she had a son who was nine years of age, who was seized with the same complaint, and in a little time he was taken away from the evil to come.
During the illness of this little boy, subscriptions were made towards defraying the expenses of building St. Luke's schoolrooms, and the little fellow laid himself out, in heart, soul, and strength, to render all the help possible. And the night when the Incumbent received the total which each subscriber and collector had to pay in, this little boy produced a bag full of farthings, which he had collected and saved out of his own little and precarious income. And so different from thousands of other children was his mind moulded, that he would not spend one farthing to please and gratify his own palate. Oh, no! all, all must go into the treasury to aid the good work of building the Schools for the poor and populous parish of St. Luke's, where he flattered himself with the hope that he should be favoured to hear and learn something of Jesus, towards whom his little affections burned with a tender and supernatural glow. But the Lord took him home to Himself, so that he never had the pleasure of meeting with the scholars in those schoolrooms which he had to the utmost of his power contributed towards the erection.
After the death of this son, the dear mother gathered strength and was able to attend the ordinances of the sanctuary. But last autumn, her complaint made rapid strides, and she was again confined to her bed, and her affliction this spring, 1869, ended in death.
But during the latter stages of her affliction, her sufferings were so great, that I found it a heavy task to visit her. It pierced my soul to sit by her bed-side and see her pains; for a few moments they would abate, and then return again upon her, and increase, until she would be thrown into rending agonies. I have visited the sick and dying beds of very many, both old and young, but never did I witness any sufferings to equal the sufferings of this dear woman. One day, while I was looking upon her tortured frame, the substance of two lines upon the sufferings of Jesus, in one of dear Hart's hymns, rolled into and over my thoughts; his words are,
“ View Him grov'lling in the garden;
your Maker prostrate lies."
"Agonizing in the garden;
Maker prostrate lies." And this reading, when I came to examine it, and compare the word agonizing with grovelling, I saw that to agonize was more expressive, and conclusively in harmony with the Holy Ghost's revelation of that dreadful scene of suffering and woe, as it is recorded by St. Luke, “And being in an agony, He prayed more earnestly; and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” Indeed, I can truly say, that while I sat looking upon, and trying to condole with this daughter of grief, I had a deeper, broader, and more feelingly minute discovery of the sufferings of Jesus, the Sin-bearer, than I had ever had before. Ah, the Lord the Spirit, the Glorifier of Jesus, used the sufferings
of this dear woman to bring me in a measure to know experimentally what it was, and is, by faith to have fellowship with Jesus in His sufferings. That dreadful death which He died, I must have died for my original and actual crimes. But His death by grace being made a sovereign gift to me, and reckoned my death, therefore I am brought, in, by and through His death, to “reckon myself to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Oh, how astonishingly mysterious ! The sweet unfoldings of life and freedom were and are mine; the bitter agonizing death was His, and the suffering clue by which I was led into the sweet discovery was the anguished heart of that dying one, upon whom I had been looking and with whom conversing.
Upon one of my visits, she said before I knelt down,“ Don't ask the Lord to prolong my life, but do ask Him to be pleased to remove me to that mansion which He has gone before to His Father's house to prepare for me. Oh, I want to see the King in His beauty, to be freed from this body of anguish, sin, and death. Upon another visit, when a little freed from pain she said, “Oh; that wooden church! It was there, ah, it was there the Lord brought me to a knowledge of Himself. Of that wooden building I may say, it was my soul's new-birth chamber. I shall have to love and bless the Lord through eternity for that building, and what He did for and shewed unto me in that place. Ah, Jesus Christ is, must, and shall be to me all in all. I am by nature and in my nature, as you have said, as black as hell, and I know that none of my patchwork will be of any service to me; oh, no, it must be Christ's blood only, to remove my blackness, and His righteousness only, the white raiment to cover my nakedness."
Sometimes,” she said, “I am tempted to fear that after all I shall be lost. Then my hope revives, God being the God of hope; and then I can „say to the tempter, Well, Satan, when you shall have the power to take the throne from Jesus, then I shall be lost, but not till then ; and that will never be. Remember, Satan, you could not approach to torment Job without the Lord's permission; nor could you raise up in me such distressing fears, if Jesus did not give you permission; and He permits you to do this that He might make you the more manifest as that great liar, and the father of all lies and liars.'" I said, “Yes, my dear sister, and as Satan has tormented you by his lies, and lying insinuations, so he shall, for those torments he has inflicted upon you, by retributive justice, be tormented for ever and ever; but you shall be comforted.”
Such exercises and buffetings as these, I love to hear of them. Where they are not felt, I always find such people, as the Lord hath said: “ Moab hath been at ease from his youth, and he hath settled on his lees, and hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel, neither hath he gone into captivity: therefore his taste remained in him, and his scent is not changed." But the distinguishing feature of this dear woman was, a -being “emptied from vessel to vessel ;" therefore her taste did not remain in herself, but spiritually was drawn out, to taste and relish the graciousness of the Lord God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. And her scent was changed from creature-hunting, to inhale the sweet ointment and perfume of that Friend's counsel, that maketh the heart of those who are cast down to rejoice.
When I again visited this dear creature, I found her lying upon her left side, with her hand under her head, and, to appearance, in a doze. I stood for some time in silence, looking upon her and musing. The substance of my musing will be found in the poet's soliloquy