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Christ; on the contrary, this religion is as truly designed to give happiness upon earth, as it is to give happiness beyond it; its inspiration in every heart is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. And wherever you see a man very gloomy, or melancholy, who can never speak of religion but in a whine, who can never talk of its blessed prospects but with fallen and clouded brow, and in a tone pitched upon the minor key, you may be sure that man, if not a hypocrite, which charity should prevent us saying, must have a very erroneous idea of this blessed religion of ours. Would it not be a very strange thing if God should allow his enemies to be happy, and should make his own people miserable? It would be unnatural ; it would be contrary to all the love he has shown. Can I fail to be happy, who know that my life is sealed, and safe in the keeping of the Lord of glory? Can I fail to be happy, when I know that when I shall lay aside this mortal, and it shall be deposited in the grave, every atom of its dust is as truly in Christ's keeping as every affection of my heart and every faculty of my soul throughout the endless ages of eternity? Can I fail to be happy, when I learn from my Bible this blessed thought, that there is not such a thing in the universe as chance — nor such a thing in the universe as a loose pin that may unexpectedly drop out, and let its machinery go to wreck ? Surely that man must be happy who knows that an unseen hand guides him through this world ; and that when this world is closed, infinitude shall be the place of his blessed home, eternity the measure of his lifetime, and God his exceeding great and unspeakable reward. It is a happy life ; I pity the poor people who know nothing of it; I implore you who are strangers to it to ask life from the Fountain of life ; and if there be a God in heaven, or a truth in the Bible, as sure as you ask, God will give it.
“When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall we also appear with him in glory.” We have here the absolute certainty of his second advent. When he will appear no arithmetic of ours can settle; that he will appear is plainly asserted in God's holy Word. He that came into this world a sufferer, and a Man of sorrows, will return to this world a victorious King, crowned and diademed Lord and King of all. The hope of his advent is the hope the Christian constantly cherishes. How remarkable it is that throughout the whole New Testament you are never called upon to do this and that because life is short, and you shall die; but you are constantly taught to do this and do that because the Lord is at hand. “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear.” At present he appears for us pleading at the Father's right hand ; then he will appear to us, crowned, and waiting to take us to himself. When Christ left the world, the early Church no sooner missed him than it began to cry, “ Come, Lord Jesus; come quickly;" and it had no sooner cried so, than the answer came down, “ Behold, I come quickly.” “To them that look for him will he appear the second time;" and again, “Watch, for ye know not the hour when he cometh ;" and again, “Looking for that blessed hope, the glorious appearing of Jesus Christ, our great God and Saviour." And then you ask, How will he appear? what shall be the accompaniments of his appearing? We are told, “Unto ye who are troubled, rest with us ; when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his
mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe in that day.” “For if we believe that Jesus died,” which we do, “and rose again,” of which we are absolutely certain, “ even so them also which sleep in Jesus will he bring with him.” Your separated friends who have preceded you to heaven, will come to you, if you are found in Christ at that day when Christ comes. “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God : and the dead in Christ shall rise first : then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air : and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” Bright hope! blessed expectancy! When he shall appear, earth’s deserts will rejoice, and her solitary places will blossomn as the rose ; graves, the footprints of death, will be annihilated ; death shall be cast into bell; and Satan shall be bound and chained, aud no more trouble the nations of the earth. Creation, that groans and travails in pain, earnestly seeking deliverance from the curse that lies like an incubus upon its bosom, shall then become a portion of heaven. Then lost relationships shall be found, then broken ties shall be restored ; and it shall be seen at the close of this world, that Satan has not gained one victim, nor
Christ lost one trophy; for the lost in misery will feel, “It was not the devil that drove us here, but ourselves that would not be saved;" and the saved in glory will ever feel, “We are here, trophies of redeeming and of glorious grace."
But lastly, “ When Christ shall appear, then shall we also appear with him in glory.” He appears for us now—he will appear to us then ; we appear for Christ now, the advocates of his cause—we shall appear with him then. He will present us to himself a glorious Church, without spot, or wrinkle, or blemish, or any such thing. Then shall be what has never yet been upon earth,—a perfect Church ; then shall the tares all be severed from the wheat ; then shall the evil all be eliminated from the good ; then shall be presented to Christ a Church that has no flaw, nor fault, nor stain, nor defilement upon her pure and her holy robes ; and then shall this world close with an Eden of loveliness and beauty far transcending that Paradise with which it began; and a salvation that dawns in grace in Christ shall end in glory with Christ, for we shall appear with Him in glory.
CHAPTER III. 17.
SINGLENESS OF EYF.
~ And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God, even the Father, by him.” .
Connected with the text I have read is one that seems in all respects parallel, and is necessary perhaps to be read as the complement and fulness of the comprehensive truth stated by the apostle in his Epistle to the Colossians. It is where he says in the Epistle to the Corinthians, laying down the same great practical and universal law,“ whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatever ye do, do all to the glory of God." You have in the one text the prescription given to the Colossians, “Whatsoever ge do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus." You have the same sentiment differently expressed, but embodying the same practical truth, " Whatsoever ye do, whether ye eat or drink, do all to the glory of God.” This command, whether you take the words of the first or the words of the last, has perplexed many a true Christian, and made him doubt, conscious that he so often comes short of its requirements, whether he be truly a Christian after all. He is so conscious that he has often forgotten it, so conscious that it has not been always and every