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and as the dead was rising higher and higher, he rushed to the door to escape from the house. But the storm was still so violent that he dared not go out, and no choice was left to him but to return to his place by the fire. For a time the corpse was at rest, but he could not keep his eyes off the corner where it lay; and as he looked it began to rise, and now higher than before. Again he sprang from his seat; but, instead of rushing to the door, he this time fell on his knees. As he knelt, the dead body lay back again, and he ventured once more to his seat by the hearth. He had not long been there, when up again rises the corpse, and now still higher than formerly; so on his knees again he fell. Observing that only while he was kneeling the dead lay still, he rose not again from his knees till the day had broken, and the shadows fied away.”
THE COMING OF CHRIST.
PHE whole primitive church expected the coming of
Christ, and believed in his temporal reign. This be
lief, so strong and firm in apostolic times, faded in proportion as faith lost its early simplicity. Men took to materialize precepts and spiritualize prophecy, and thus truth got modified on both sides.
I am one who take the promises in a literal sense. I believe with all my soul in my Saviour's coming. I believe that our earth will witness the scenes described by the prophets, and I have drawn my conviction from the study of the Bible.
The Lord comes! As the lightning shining from the east to the west, so is the shining of the Son of God. He comes surrounded by his redeemed, by myriads of angels, comes as Conqueror to claim his crown.
The hour has struck, the souls of the elect have put on their glorified bodies. God's power has done this.
In the same moment the faithful who still live have been conscious of a marvellous transformation. It is not death; it is rather the casting off a chrysalis covering. In the twinkling of an eye, incorruption has triumphed over corruption.
Do you realize this moment, this coming, this object of faith, now beheld from afar, as actually come to pass ?
Yes, it is true; my imagination is not at work, my eyes see. It is indeed Jesus
my Lord. This is He who had pity on me; who suffered for me ; whom I love with all the strength of my soul. My breast expands with a divine breath, each moment I love more, and feel that I am more beloved. My God! oh, to prostrate myself before Thee! to adore Thee! It is as though a sun had risen within my heart. At one glance my eye has taken in the thousand thousands in thy train. My dear ones, there
you all are; you indeed, you living, you for ever mine—all of us the Lord's. But yesterday, I laid your bodies in the earth, but yesterday I wandered alone, losing myself in the immensity of my sorrow, and now you are here, my hands touch you, you will not die any more.
If God's arm did not sustain, surely man would founder in this ocean of bliss.
The rest of the dead live not again, says the Scripture, till the thousand years are over.
Israel has seen the one that hung upon the cross come down from heaven ; Israel has beat his breast and gathered round the King of glory, his King.
Then an act of incalculable importance is accomplished. The angel who has the keys of the pit seizes upon Satan, throws him into the gulf, and sets a seal upon him.
Peace is made on earth. No more wars, no more wrongs; a law of love easily obeyed; an hosanna of all creation.
Let us pause for a moment. I want to breathe this new air, and to open out my soul to this light.
Satan bound. Do you comprehend the importance of the fact ?
There is in the Bible a narrative which gives a lively representation of Satan's work among men. Joshua, the high priest, is standing before the Lord. On his right hand a dark form rears itself, standing too-Satan—to resist him.
I know it well, that intercession which Satan resists. Witty men have ridiculed it; they have described that grotesque medley of serious and frivolous thoughts; have held up to us in raillery, that cry of disquieted hearts, disguised by the verbiage of vanity. Possibly Satan does not resist them when they pray.
But we poor creatures whom he tortures, we who would fain believe, and who hear him whisper sceptical words in our ear; we who would love, and feel his arid breath pass over our hearts; we who want to concentrate our minds on God, and before whom Satan displays the most paltry of earth's toys; we who wrestle unto blood, torn, often overcome by him; we who rise battered by our fall, and lift to our Father maimed and trembling hands; we who know that our enemy is there, always there, even to that death-bed by which He stays to watch us; why, to be freed from Satan, the great resister, the unpitying adversary—this for us is the crowning deliverance.
No more barriers between Jesus and the nations; no longer an accuser between the soul and God.
If original sin remain, the tempter no longer aggravates it; if the old leaven be still there, Satan is not there to make it rise.
We had need of faith ; those happy ones have sight, joy, harmony, everything to lead them to give their heart to holiness.
Oh, I can understand that hymn of rapture which marks our earth’s course through the skies. The ground is moved, the forests clap their hands, the streams fertilize the sandy wastes, the rose blooms in the desert. No more desolate places, no more broken hearts, we hear no longer the lion's roar, the shrieks of the slaughtered are changed to songs of thanksgiving. The Lord’s alliance with his creatures glorifies the universe.
You are shocked at this! Such a scheme seems to you unworthy of God who is a Spirit. For my part, it leaves me penetrated with reverence, admiring reverence. Without this restoration of all things there lacked one ray of my God's perfect glory.
It well beseems the Creator to re-establish his work in its pristine beauty; to restore to it the lustre it possessed when He spake the word and it was made.
It becomes his power to snatch it entire from the grasp of Satan. It befits His glory to display it radiant once more ; more touchingly beautiful, because it has known suffering; more precious, because Jesus has died for it; more firmly rooted in holiness, because it has struggled to recover it.
You would have this earth in which God has taken delight,
left by Him to perish under the curse ; you would have Him to leave this triumph to Satan. Not so, the rebellious angel shall not occupy it.
From the depths of the abyss he will see the earth renewed, the true Monarch govern the kingdom he, Satan, had for a season usurped ; the child of God serve Him in this enlarged Eden; the delivered creature willingly obey man ; the murders and lamentations cease ; the restoration of all things be accomplished. Satan will see all this. If he did not see it, if we did not see it, Satan would have gained some advantage in the conflict; he would have successfully resisted God.
And now, tell me, do not you find such a restoration sublime ? Does it not seem to you worthy of the Lord, this restoration of a world lost by the madness of man ; tormented by the rage of the great enemy, saved by the very Son of an offended God ?
The mountains of Judea have beheld thy cross, Jesus, Thou Holy of holies; the walls of Jerusalem have heard the shouts of the maddened crowds that dragged Thee from Caiaphas to Pilate ; Gethsemane has drunk thy blood; Golgotha has echoed with the mocking laughter of the Roman soldiers; the sighs of thine agony have passed over this land. Thy own country, Lord, the land of promise, shall see thy triumph; and stirred to its inmost depths, shall break forth in a cry of love and welcome.
In east and west, the children of this land have led a painful life. They have been mocked, trampled upon, till at times even they doubted, despaired of themselves and Thee. The earth that saw them so wretched, so prostrated beneath the hatred of the world, shall see them humble still, but radiant with joy, surround their God who reigns in the midst of them.
Oh, the tears of thy mourners, Earth! the lonely steps of those who walked among thy tombs! Thou who hast swallowed up generations of cherished beings; and to those who asked of thee their dead, hast shown thy dust as sole reply: thou wilt restore them all, eternally young and happy; they will deck thee like a burst of new flowers, two and two, in families, in companies, they will walk again, singing with joy, on the sites they loved.
The beasts of thy forests ; all that move in solitudes unknown to men; all that swim in the abysses of the deep,—used once to tear each other to pieces. A sound as of some pillaged town; a.
nameless sound, which, as we listen to it, fills the soul with terror, rose incessantly from thy whole surface. Then they who listen will hear a hymn of deliverance burst forth from mountain and plain, and the waves of the ocean will repeat it to their shores.
Thou thyself, curse-stricken earth; thou whose breast cracks at the equator beneath the breath of the simoom; whose barren poles are crushed beneath icebergs,-thou shalt blossom out fair and fresh, younger than in the days of Eden. Thou hast borne our rebellion and our woe through the immensity of space; thou shalt then march in bridal beauty through a tranquil sky; blessed among worlds, bearing on thy surface the redeemed and the Redeemer.
How will these things be ?
I know not, but God knows. The least moral contradiction troubles me more than mountains of physical impossibility. How will the dead rise ?
In what way will Jesus govern? Where will his children dwell ? Will there be some easy method of communication between earth and heaven ? a marvellous ladder like that which Jacob saw ?
Of all this I am ignorant. All this is my Father's business ; I am not at all uneasy about it. Nothing is too hard for Him whose seven fiats created the universe.
He will come soon! Watchmen lost in the darkness, we send this cry of hope one to the other,
Yes, the morning stars will soon sing together the hymn which greeted the dawn of the seventh day; the bones that strew the
T ground will soon rise ; Jesus will soon return.
I shall see thee again, thou holy city, no longer depressed and trodden down by unbelievers ; I shall see thee glorious, I shall salute thee, queen of the world. Thy fountains will gush forth anew, 0 Judea! Under thy oaks, O Carmel, the turtle-dove shall fly in peace, not fearing the cruel sportsman! Desert, thy wide swamps shall change to gardens; thy swords, turned to ploughshares, shall prepare thy rich harvests, 0 country, everywhere called blessed !
You who weep, say, Are not your tears less bitter? You who are tossed upon the open sea, do you not begin to discern the shores of the land of life ?—The Near and the Heavenly Horizons.