Page images

Gondoforus. Trench's Poems, "The Ban-
ished Kings."


Lowell's Poems, "The Weigher" and "The Present Crisis." Whately's Annotations, p. 17, the illustration of the Butterfly and Caterpillar; and p. 383, on the prevention of crime. Hood's Poems, "The Dream of Eugene Aram" and "The Lady's Dream." Leigh Hunt's "Abou Ben Adhem." The story of St. Thomas and King


The Last Judgment, by Fra Angelico (Florence); by Michael Angelo (Sistine Chapel); by Orcagna (Pisa); by BurneJones, by Rubens (Munich); by Tintoretto (Venice).

1 When

the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy


31. But when
angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory :
32. 2 before him shall be gathered all nations and 3 he shall
separate them one from another, as the shepherd divide the sheep from
the "goats:

And 2



1 Zech. 14:5; Matt. 16: 27; Mark 8: 38; Acts 1: 11. 2 Rom. 14: 10; 2 Cor. 5: 10.

3 Ezek. 20: 38; 34: 17; Matt. 13: 49.
a Greek, kids.

NOTE. 1. The description here given is not a parable, but a PICTURE, A VISION OF THE FUTURE. It does not liken the kingdom of God to anything, but describes "the literal Son of man, in his literal person, at his literal coming to a literal judgment," in that language and picture form which can most vividly and truly express to us the great reality.

NOTE. 2. BY THEIR FRUITS YE SHALL KNOW THEM, is the central thought of the test here given. This does not imply that there is no life or influence back of the fruits. On the contrary these fruits imply faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and love to him, and a life connected with his, as the branch bearing the clusters is joined to the true vine.

NOTE. 3. "This vision of judgment," says Dr. Monro Gibson, "is the climax of the teaching of the Lord Christ. Alike for magnificence and for pathos it is unsurpassed in literature."

I. The Judgment Day.—Vs. 31, 32. THE JUDGE IS THE SON OF MAN, in his glory of perfect character and supreme success. His very character as the standard by which all acts are measured, judges all men.

HIS ATTENDANTS. With Him are all the holy angels, spiritual beings who have been working with Him and for Him as " ministering spirits sent forth to do service for the sake of them that shall inherit salvation." (Heb. 1: 14.) And it may be that he who maketh the winds and the flaming fire to be his angels and servants (Heb. 1: 7; Psa. 104: 4), shall then make it plain that all the laws and forces of both the natural and spiritual world are on the side of the righteous Judge.

THE DAY OF JUDGMENT. That there is a day of judgment is a fact, but it is difficult, and not so important, to decide the exact nature or time of the coming of the Lord to judg ment. It is said in Matt. 24: 29-34 that "this generation shall not pass away till all these things be accomplished," and it is repeated in Mark 13: 30, Luke 21: 32, and again in Matt. 16: 28" there are some of them that stand here, which shall in no wise taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom," when "the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then shall he render unto every man according to his deeds."

This must refer to the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the Old Dispensation or age, and the coming of the Gospel Dispensation. But it does not exclude the great and final coming and judgment day at the end of that age.


There is really a judgment day at every great crisis of the nation or of our lives, at death, at the coming of rewards or punishments for our actions, at every time of decision. instance we have seen within the last few years many persons who have been for years grow. ing rich by graft and dishonesty and have suddenly met their judgment day, while others have been reaping the rewards of faithful service. So young men who have been going on in a course of drinking and rioting for a long time, suddenly find themselves drunkards, in ill health, incapacitated for their best work. They have been brought up at a judgment day; while those who have resisted temptation, and been faithful and true are also reaping their rewards.

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


he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the "goats on the

33. and left.

34. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, 1inherit the kingdom 2 prepared for you from the foundation of the world:


35. 3 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in

36. 5 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

I Rom. 8: 17; 1 Pet. 1: 4, 9.

2 Matt. 20: 23; Mark 10: 40.

3 Isa. 58: 7; Jas. 1: 27.
4 Heb. 13: 2; 3 John 5.
5 Jas. 2: 15.


2 Tim. 1: 16.

a Greek, kids.

All these are judgment days, warning men to prepare for the Last Great Day. (See Rev. 20: 12, 13.)

THE ASSEMBLY. 32. And before him shall be gathered all nations. "The phrase is equivalent to the whole human race. Not only those who shall be alive at his coming, but all who have ever lived are embraced within the scope of the Saviour's conception." - Morrison.

THE SEPARATION. Shall separate them one from another. Into two, and only two well-defined classes. From the nature of things there can be only two classes. All men either love God supremely, or they do not. They have begun the heavenly life, or they have not. There are grades and degrees in each class, but there is a real and wide distinction between the classes. As a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats. "The flocks of sheep and goats fed together in the same field. The goats were of a finer breed than I had before seen, and the sheep had long, coarse, hairy wool; so that, in casting your eye over the field, you could hardly say at the first glance which were goats, and which were sheep. The shepherd at evening brought the flock home, and separated them into two parts, putting the sheep by themselves, and the goats by themselves." Clark's Glimpses of the Old World.

II. The Righteous and Their Reward. Vs. 33-40. THE SHEEP OF THE FLOCK, REPRESENTING THE OBEDIENT Children of GOD. And he shall set the sheep. Who represent the righteous, because they are gentle, obedient, peaceful, ready to follow their guide, affectionate, - qualities which, when shown by men toward Christ, will lead to righteousness. On his right hand, the place of honor and favor. The expression on his right hand" is literally "from his right hand," beginning there and extending to the right, in a row, or expanding into a company.



THE KINGDOM THEY INHERIT. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand. The sheep, the righteous. Come. Draw near to your Elder Brother, to your Father, to your home, for here is the place for you. Ye blessed of my Father means exactly my Father's blessed ones," denoting not simply that they have been blessed by him, but that they are his. Blessings innumerable had come to them through their being willing to become his children and accept the kind of blessings he had to bestow, such as his loving care, the bestowal of the Holy Spirit, the experiences of the Gospel, the renewal of the heart, sanctification by the Spirit, the power to become children and heirs of God, the gifts and fruits of the Spirit, eternal life, the favor of God, the rest in the everlasting the pavilion under the shadow of his wings.


Inherit. Receive not by purchase, or by labors, but by becoming children of God, like God, and therefore heirs,- heirs of God, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. Every one must be the heir of him whose child he is. He that is a child cf sin is an heir of sin; a child of the devil inherits from the devil; a child of goodness and of God inherits from God. The kingdom. The kingdom of heaven, the kingdom which consists in righteousness, peace, joy in the Holy Ghost (Rom. 14: 17), in which saints reign over infinite forces and powers to make them minister to happiness and good: "All things are yours," because "ye are Christ's."

"Thy feet, at last, shall stand on jasper floors;
Thy heart, at last, shall seem a thousand hearts -
Each single heart with myriad raptures filled-
While thou shalt sit with princes and with kings,
Rich in the jewel of a ransomed soul."

[ocr errors]

Prepared for you from the foundation of the world. There is wonderful comfort and inspiration in the assurance that God regards us as worthy of his thought and planning from the very beginning; that it was not chance, but the wise and loving God, who planned our lives, and prepared a place for us in his work, in his kingdom, and in his home.

KING GONDOFORUS AND ST. THOMAS. There is a legend of the Apostle Thomas, who is called "the architect," that in his labors for the Gospel he reached India, where King Gondoforus sent for him to build “a prouder palace than mortals know," and placed untold treasures in his hand, and then went away.

But St. Thomas built only a spiritual palace.

"He clad the naked, the hungry fed,
The oil of gladness around him shed.

The king on his return was fiercely angry and thrust the apostle into a dungeon. The king's brother, who had lately died, returned from paradise, and thus spoke:

"I have been to paradise, O my king!
And have heard the heavenly angels sing.

"And there I saw, by the gates of gold,
A palace finer than tongue has told;

"He blessed them all with the ample store,
As never a king's wealth blessed before."

"Its glories, there in that radiant place,

Shone forth like a smile from the dear Lord's face.

"An angel said it was builded there

By the good St. Thomas, with love and care

"Its walls and towers were lifted high,
In beautiful grace to the bending sky;

The king released St. Thomas from his dungeon cell.

"And said, 'O builder! he most is wise
Who buildeth ever for Paradise.'"

and when the call came, he

"For our fellow-men, and that it should be
Thy palace of peace through eternity."

The great work of the church is to build a spiritual church, the kingdom of God, by giving, by helping men to be good, by all deeds of love, by sending the Gospel to all the world. No matter how costly the building, if those who use it fail in the very purpose for which it was made, not one penny of the money that should go to the main purpose ought to be used for the material building. But they who make their main purpose the building of the spiritual temple, will find enough left for a house of worship that will honor God.

LAYING UP TREASURES IN HEAVEN. "A rich lady dreamed that she went to heaven and there saw a mansion being built. 'Whom is that for?' she asked of the guide.

"For your gardener.'

"But he lives in the tiniest cottage on earth with barely room enough for his family. He might live better if he did not give away so much to the miserable poor folks.'

"Further on she saw a tiny cottage being built. And whom is that for?' she asked. "That is for you.'

"But I have lived in a mansion on earth. I would not know how to live in a cottage.' "The words she heard in reply were full of meaning. 'The Master Builder is doing his best with the material that is being sent up.'

"Then she awoke resolving to lay up treasure in heaven.

"What are we sending up? What kind of material are we building into our everyday life? Is it being sent up?"-Anon.

ILLUSTRATION. "The Banished Kings" is an exquisite moral tale, representing a child as a king come suddenly to an unknown shore, with wealth, councilors, and servants almost without limit. The wise man tells him that at some unknown time he will be called away to islands out of sight, in the blue sea, and advises him to have a home built there, and send seeds and treasures there to await his coming.

Accordingly, he sent his treasures, as we are bidden to lay up treasures in heaven. Instead of spending all he had on his temporary abode, he was ever preparing for his permanent home. Royal towns were built, fountains played, flowers bloomed, orchards bore fruits.

"To him sweet odors from that isle were blown
And all the yearnings of his soul were there,"

"To his isle a willing journey took,
And found diviner pleasure in that shore
Than all his proudest state had known before."

37. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? thirsty, and gave thee thee drink?



saw we thee a stranger, and took the in? or naked, and


38. And when clothed thee


39. And

Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

HOW THEY BEcame Children and Heirs of GOD. Vs. 35, 36. For I was an hungred in the persons of his brethren, who are not confined to his disciples, but include all men everywhere. Meat. Food. Took me in. To your hearts and homes. Came unto me, to comfort and aid.

NOTE (1) that the good deeds referred to in these verses, are those which belong to the kingdom of God, are such as every one who belongs to that kingdom naturally does. They are the fruit of its spirit.

NOTE (2) that the acts of kindness here mentioned are but spécimens and illustrations of the good deeds of God's children. The good deeds are not substitutes for faith, and prayer, and love, and honesty, but they are the proofs of a right heart, from which all virtues grow. The fruits of the Spirit are the proofs of the Spirit. Flowers and fruit are not substitutes for seeds and culture, and the life of the tree. All those are the means by which flowers and fruits may be gained. The Church is not afraid of good works. They are what a church is for.

NOTE (3) that they are to be habitual, not merely an occasional outburst of a part of the nature. Maclaren truly says that "Many a man has a hundred vices and yet a soft heart," and may do many a kind act. But every one of his vices is working in exactly the opposite direction, and injures others. The good deeds are good so far as the doer is concerned only when they grow out of a sincere desire to help our fellow men, and to obey the commandments and laws of the kingdom of heaven.

NOTE. (4) These acts are such as are possible to all Christians. They are not such as require merely an outlay of money, but such as involve also the sacrifice of time, strength, rest, comfort.

We never know how small a thing may become a benediction to a human life.

"Only a thought, but the work it wrought Could never by pen or tongue be taught;

"For it ran through a life like a thread of gold, And the life bore fruit a hundredfold."

NOTE. (5) If ministering to the bodies of men is a Christian duty and privilege, still more is the ministering to their spiritual needs like the apostles' carrying the bread of heaven to the heathen, helping men to the water of life, bringing liberty to those bound in the prison-house of sin, and who are sick in spirit and lonely, "without hope and without God in the world." Christ himself has done all these things for us. 66 Freely ye have received,

freely give."

UNCONSCIOUS GOODNESS. Vs. 37, 39. Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, etc. "The righteous stand amazed that the Son of man should so overwhelm their trifling services with a glorious reward. Nay, they can hardly recollect any service at all. The ministries were so trifling, they flowed so naturally from a kind heart, that they made no impression on the memory.'


NOTE 1. The unconsciousness of the righteous shows that their virtues were sincere and true. Whosoever does good deeds for the sake of the reward deserves no reward, and will obtain none, for the soul of goodness is left out of such deeds.

2. Unconscious goodness is the highest form of goodness. The beginner in music counts his measures, and studies on what note he shall place each finger; but the perfect musician strikes the right notes and expresses the right emotions almost as naturally as he breathes or as the birds warble their morning songs.

[merged small][ocr errors]


"We are apt to estimate the merit of our good deeds according to the struggle we make in doing them; whereas, the greater our virtue, the less we shall have to struggle in order to do them, and it is purely the weakness and imperfection of our virtue

have done it

40. And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto 1 Inasmuch as ye you, of the least of these my brethren, unto one did it even these least, ye have done it unto me.

did it

41. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, 2 Depart from me, ye cursed, 3 into everlasting fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels :


42. for I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink :

naked, and ye clothed me

43. I was a stranger, and ye took me not in not sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

I Prov. 14: 31; 19: 17; Matt. 10: 42; Mark 9: 41.

2 Psa. 6: 8; Matt. 7: 23; Luke 13: 27.

that makes it so hard to do well. Accordingly, we find that he who does no duty without being goaded up to it is conscious of much more virtue than he has; while he who does every duty as a thing of course and a matter of delight is unconscious of his virtue, simply because he has so much of it." Hudson's Lectures on Shakespeare, Vol. II., p. 103.


40. Ye have done it unto me, the poor and needy and sick, and all the classes whom Jesus helped in Palestine are his representatives now on earth. The only visible expression of our love to him is through them. What a privilege this is to show our love to our Master. How it enriches our life if we keep in mind that we are not only helping the needy, but expressing our love to our Master.


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

3 Matt. 13


42 Pet. 2: 4; Jude 6.

"All the doors that lead inward to the secret place of the Most High are doors outward out of self, out of smallness, out of wrong.'

George Macdonald.

"That best portion of a good man's life
His little nameless unremembered acts
Of kindness and of love."


"While the cobbler mused there passed his pane
A beggar drenched by the driving rain,
He called him in from the stony street
And gave him shoes for his bruised feet.
The beggar went and there came a crone,
Her face with wrinkles of sorrow sown.
A bundle of faggots bowed her back,
And she was spent with the wrench and rack.
He gave her his loaf and steadied her load
As she took her way on the weary road.
Then to his door came a little child,
Lost and afraid in the world so wild,
In the big, dark world. Catching it up,
He gave it the milk in the waiting cup,

"And led it home to its mother's arms,
Out of the reach of the world's alarms.
The day went down in the crimson west
And with it the hope of the blessed Guest.
And Conrad sighed as the world turned gray:
'Why is it, Lord, that Your feet delay?
Did You forget that this was the day?'
Then soft in the silence a Voice he heard:
'Lift up your heart, for I kept my word.
Three times I came to your friendly door;
Three times my shadow was on your floor.
I was the beggar with bruised feet;
was the woman you gave to eat;
was the child on the homeless street.""

- Edwin Markham, in the Delineator.

« PreviousContinue »