Page images

were prepared beforehand. In their native quarry, their excrescences were removed, and their symmetrical fitness imparted. Then, as they were made ready, they were successively transported to Jerusalem; and the glorious fane gradually raised its head unto the skies, until at last the headstone was brought forth with shoutings. Even so now, are the lively stones prepared for Jehovah's spiritual house. Each believer looks with wonder to the rock whence he was hewn, and the hole of the pit whence he was digged. Each finds a work going on, not of himself, nor by himself, but wrought by a Master's hand. It is the fitting him for his place in that building of the Lord. It is the work of adaptation for the noblest use—the placing him in that house, which shall yet be consecrated for the immediate indwelling of the Lord of Glory.

The meetness of any particular stone of this living temple for the designs of the great Master Builder may be discovered, by proving it after the chief corner-stone. How far is it shapen after this model? Will the lines perfectly accord ? Doth it lie firm and smoothly all along “the foundation that is laid”? Is there no rocking? It is a slow process—this accuracy of fitting it; but there is infinite skill in the Hand that is carrying out the design. The work, when it is begun, will not be suffered to remain unfinished. To speak without metaphor. Our meetness for glory will be found in our assimilation to Christ, in our being brought near to Him, and in our capability of enjoying communion with

[ocr errors]

Him. Such is the heaven of the Bible; and, separated from Christ, we could have no heaven.

But in the Lord's temple there are many stones; and it is out of these, fitly framed together, the magnificent structure is growing. Here is another mode of discovering our meetness. Heaven is a communion of saints. When brought to Christ, we are made members of His family; and, according as we are established in our new position, we are growing more and more in love towards the members of His household. How can we enjoy heaven in their converse hereafter, if we do not enjoy communion with them now? Happily for us, the very same process, that fits the living stones of the temple to the chief corner-stone, assimilates them also to each other. The more we grow like to Christ, the more our differences from each other will disappear. Believers are being now adapted for each other's company throughout Eternity, not by being moulded after exclusive systems, but by being fashioned after Christ Jesus their Lord. And into the same image they are individually changed, and thus acquire a family likeness, growing like each other, as each resembles the Redeemer.

Heaven is a holy place; and they only can be brought into it, who are washed, who are sanctified, who are justified. Most plainly doth the Lord testify that “there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth.” Sanctification is meetness for heaven. The Holy One presents His people holy, and unblamcable, and unreproveable in His sight. He

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

clothes them in spotless raiment. They walk with Him in white, for they are worthy.

[blocks in formation]

The Lord's dear children, who are heirs of His kingdom and glory, and who shall ere long enter upon the full possession of these things, are being prepared in this world for their great inheritance. To quicken their desires, they receive some foretaste of the good things provided for them. The grapes of Canaan they are permitted to see, even while they are yet in the wilderness. They are brought nigh to Christ, instead of being left separated. They are admitted into the general assembly and church of the first-born, which are written in heaven. They are sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Their conversation is in heaven. Their hopes are in heaven. Their home is in heaven. They are raised up above this world, and are made, to sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. And God's gracious work and purpose concerning them shall go on in their souls until all be accomplished, and they become in very deed partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.



“ Surely, yon heaven where angels see God's face,

Is not so distant, as we deem
From this low earth! 'Tis but a little space,

The narrow crossing of a slender stream;
'Tis but a veil, which winds might blow aside:
Yes, these are all that us of earth divide
From the bright dwelling of the glorified,
The Land of which I dream !”.



ITHIN eleven miles of my retired parish is

a large city, that of necessity claims an

occasional visit. The transition to me is considerable, from the country's tranquillity to the hurried scenes of the busy town. The noise of the great multitude, keenly engaged in life's battle, falls strangely upon ears accustomed to the cawing of rooks, the bleating of sheep, and the ripple of the burn. I cannot but note the difference; and into my mind primarily come thoughts suggested by it. But these fancies ere long pass away, and are succeeded by meditations of a higher mood. Barry Cornwall's poem,

“Within and Without,” sometimes starts to memory. I remember how he thrillingly compares the desolation, on a winter's night, of the street-outcast in the metropolis, with the splendours surrounding the owner of the adjacent lightedup mansion.

I lift the thought higher, and bring together for comparison “things seen which are temporal," and "things not seen which are eternal.” I consider what is doing “within the veil,” and what is visibly occurring “without” it; and, in the words of Jeremy Taylor, I “perceive the difference to be very great and very strange."

” In the city's crowded thoroughfare, there pass me evermore the merchant on his way to his countinghouse; the lawyer, hastening to the forum; the soldier, clad in war's panoply; the maiden, arrayed in gay clothing. I try to read their thoughts, and to discover Whether to them this world be all ? and if it be all, I think how little is that all for each. I consider how different is the occupation of Angels, what other thoughts fill the minds of the Redeemed.

The prison frowns before me, the penitentiary I know to be full; and I think of the city, into which there shall in no wise enter anything that defileth, or that worketh abomination, or that maketh a lie. I pass by hospitals, and I call up the long rows of beds, with their array of pale faces; and I remember the country, where the inhabitant shall not say, “I am sick !" where the way is open to the tree of life, and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. I look with compassion on the gaunt forms of the children of penury; and I recollect the blessedness of those who hunger no more, neither thirst any more, upon whom the sun alights not in fierceness, nor any heat. I catch


the accents of foreigners, and I picture a home at last that cannot

« PreviousContinue »