« السابقةمتابعة »
sand, having His Father's name written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder : and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps : and they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders : and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.” One hundred and forty and four thousand; a square number, symmetrical with the Divine idea. How far that idea stretches who shall dare to guess. There is the vision. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain ;” there is
This is what the Saviour sees and hears beyond the wastes of time. And then, then, when the whole company is gathered home, and the Father's house is ringing with the songs of the return, then will all which has filled the earth with wailing be forgotten; then will He who bore the shame and agony of Calvary see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied; then will the memory of the joy and beauty of Eden be eclipsed for ever in the excelling splendour and bliss of heaven.
“ Lord, are there few that be saved ?” The Lord gives no answer but the text. This we know, that the end which God foresees shall repair all the waste, and
all the sorrow with which sin has filled the world. How wide, how vast, how
glorious this work of overabounding grace, which of us may dare to guess ?
« But strive thou to enter in at the strait gate.” The end for which the Redeemer is waiting, the issue for which heaven is hoping, depend in their measure upon you. You can frustrate, you can forward the great consummation.
You can cross, or you can carry into more glorious completeness, the eternal counsel of the Father, that “where sin abounded grace should much more abound; that as sin had reigned unto death, even so should grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Have you learnt the notes of that new song which none but the redeemed can know? Is Christ the joy and hope of your being? Is freedom from sin, a larger, freer, purer, more Christlike life, the one pining desire of your heart? Be patient, then, and still brace yourself to hope and to endure. Fight the good fight of faith ; endure the hardness of the present discipline; lift the cross and bear it bravely to the end ; for God's eye foresees the day which from yours is veiled, the day of universal deliverance, the day of restitution of all things, the day of the unveiling of the new creation, where grace, having cast out sin, shall have enthroned righteousness for ever-the day of the manifestation of the sons of God.
“ He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, I
have perverted that which was right, and it profited me not; He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light.”—JOB XXXIII. 27, 28.
NEVER open the book of Job without fresh wonder at the wealth of Christian
thought and feeling which it contains. There is a very deep sense in which Christianity is older than the Incarnation. The Word was from the beginning, not in solitary majesty and splendour, but“ rejoicing in the habitable parts of the earth, and His delights were with the sons of men.” The day is older than the dawn, because the sun is older than both of them. The grand thoughts about
God and man, about the soul, truth, righteousness, and holiness, which Colenso and other searchers may find embedded in the mud of Pagan literature, mark the early dawning of that light of the sun of truth, the living Word, whose beams were in the fulness of time to shine with meridian splendour on the world. But man was made to live, not in the dawn, but in the daylight. The fact that there were foreshinings of the Advent, heralds of the expected One in all nations, but made it the more certain that the Desire of all Nations must at the appointed time appear. But there is one fountain both of the dawn and of the daylight; and what gleams of truth were shooting athwart the darkness of the pagan sky, were the rays of that advancing
Among the books of the Old Testament, in which the light was openly enshrined-planets set in the pagan night that the darkness might not be utter and desperate—none seems to me to shine with a fuller, steadier lustre than this Book of Job. It seems to lift itself, like its kindred Sinai, high above the level of the surrounding darkness, and to catch, while night is on all the desert, the full glow of that dayspring which was rising to irradiate the world. The thoughts of it, the very idea of it, are Cr Le core. The Word, who was with God, but who was in the world from
the beginning, was with the man who wrote this book. It is Divine truth which it utters, it is Divine wisdom which it unfolds, it is Divine love which it reveals, as behind all the struggle and the suffering which God sends for the discipline of mankind. Nowhere is there a grander, clearer cry for a Mediator than in the sublime passage, “ For He is not a man, as I am, that I should answer Him, and we should come together in judgment. Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both. Let Him take His rod away from me, and let not His fear terrify me: then would I speak, and not fear Him ; but it is not so with me.” And nowhere is there a more comprehensive description of his qualifications and office than in the very chapter from which I have taken my text.
“ Behold, I am according to thy wish in God's stead: I also am formed out of the clay. Behold, my terror shall not make thee afraid, neither shall my hand be heavy upon thee.” There are those who believe that Elihu is the Mediator. That the Angel who dwelt in the bush, who was with the church in the wilderness, with Joshua before Jericho, with Gideon by the threshing-floor, was, in the person of Elihu, with the patriarch-the daysman, the man who could lay his hand upon both, the Emmanuel of Job. I cannot accept that view. Elihu is humanly partial and imperfect like